Author: jlevitt

This is my trail of research. I have identified two main topics for deeper research:

  1. Forced marriage/Child marriage: Sonita was almost forced into marriage twice! Once at age 10 and again at age 16.
  2. Rap artist: Sonita is an accomplished rapper and uses her music as a way to express herself and her work as an activist


Paragraph writing, from my notes about teen activism

“An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change.” A teen activist is a young person who has found their voice and their passion. A well known teen activist is Malala Yousefzai. She was shot by a member of the Taliban because her cause is something the Taliban are opposed to: education for girls. Teen activists, in general, raise awareness about their cause. Another example is teen activist Sonita Alizadeh. She is a rap singer raising awareness about forced marriages. Teen activists don’t want to die for their cause, but they do take great risks. Both Malala and Sonita have done things that have put their well-being at risk. Both were fighting for things that are not okay in most parts of the world.

Ms. Jess models note-taking to answer these questions

  1. What do teen activists do?
      • “An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change.” (
      • some activists have been shot for their cause (Malala)
      • activists like Malala try to change how girls access education
      • some teen activists like Malala have raised millions of dollars
      • some teen activists like Sonita Alizadeh get an education in another country, then plan to return to their home country so they can make changes for others
    • What challenges might they have?
      • there are adults who might get in the way and try to stop them (like the Taliban tried to stop Malala)
      • some of the actions activists take are illegal (example: Sonita Alizadeh sang in public in Iran – ILLEGAL!)
  2. Name a teen activist.
      • Sonita Alizadeh: fighting against forced marriage in Afghanistan (and later in Iran)
      • she was almost forced into marriage at 10 and again at 16
    • What cause or issue is this teen interested in?
      • ending child marriages – forcing children into marriages when they are too young and it is against their will
    • What activist work does this teen do?
      • she shares the dark, painful side of child brides in Iran and around the world
      • she tries to inspire other women to fight against the tradition of child brides
      • she left Iran to attend school in the US on a full scholarship
        • she was helped by an NGO in Iran
    • How does this work help make change and/or make the world better?
      • she is getting an education in law in the US
        • she will move back to Iran and use her law degree to make changes for other young girls/women
      • Brave and Bold: a new rap Sonita sings
      • she wants to raise up girls and women who are being brave and bold and inspire others to be brave and bold

Very good video:


WW Session 2: Learn About Teen Activism

Article: This team of high schoolers is building accessiblity with free, 3D-printed prosthetics

-Sequoyah High School robotics team in Canton, Georgia

  • design and 3-D print custom prosthetics
  • send to people in need around the world
    • including: US, China, Algeria
  • The HS students who build the prosthetics learn about the people who need the prosthetics, as well as learning the technology
  • 3-D printed prosthetics are much less expensive than the “old” way of building prosthetics
  • the clients are able to meet the students and collaborate on the design of the prosthetic

WW 1: Fast and furious note-taking

a hidden army

work behind closed doors

hear a furnace

see a child sized entrance

glass recycling factory

not very safe!

10 -year old working a full shift every day

can only buy rice with day’s wages

40 degrees C outside – much hotter next to the furnace

fumes coming from furnace

Lots of children around the little boy


Online and On-Campus Orientation in the MS/HS Library

  • What action(s) might you take in order to prepare for online and blended learning?
    • I want to explore gamification more and incorporate it into my lessons, for all models of learning. Learning some of the ins and outs of the MS/HS Library systems and platforms could be done on Kahoot or formatively assessed on another platform.
  • Considering your previous experience with online learning, what are your instructional strengths & areas for growth?
    • Strengths: I can jump into any grade level in MS and support student learning; I believe in the power of socially constructed learning and I will continue to seek out ways to include this in online learning experiences for students
    • Areas for growth: keeping screencasts short, (like under 5 minutes short); building mini research, library, and literacy units of DX for teachers to dip into in times of high need (travel, quarantine connection issues); DX, especially as I am expected to support our “new to MS Humanities teachers” this year; use the “Community of Inquiry Framework” and work to embody this quote: Understanding the interplay between these presences can help teachers transitioning their courses online create learning experiences that are engaging, student-centred, and leverage the class’ collective intelligence.
  • Using the 5Cs of online learning, what goals might you set for yourself in anticipation of future online instruction?
    • Captivate: be more deliberate in using the Learner Agency Panel when I am designing lessons.
    • Collaborate: as MS Librarian and as MS Humanities CAL, support our 4 “new to MS Humanities teachers”
  • How might you achieve these goals? Who might you reach out to for support?
    • I plan to work closely with the HS ELA CAL, Katherine, and the MS/HS Literacy Coach, Krista.

Decisions & Opportunities

Our shipment arrived! As I referenced in my previous post, I have been working to build a home for my family here in Beijing. This process is made so much easier with the arrival of everyone’s stuff. We are struggling a bit to fit it all in our 3-bedroom townhouse, particularly the kitchen ware; our new kitchen is a quarter of the size of the one we left in Jordan! The decisions over what to keep and what to put into storage matter: am I a baker, a prep cook, or a chef? Or, can my choices of what to keep reflect all aspects of my role in the kitchen? Or, as some of my friends back home in Canada would scoff, Your Ayi cooks dinner during the week – who are you trying to fool? There is much to continue unpacking here…

I feel a similar struggle in the process of trying to decide between reading or research as a focus for my professional learning goal. I have arrived at the conclusion that I cannot fit both into one goal for the year – I have to chose one over the other. So, reading it is. Though as I type this I feel the powerful pull of the research LibGuide I am creating for Science 8…

But reading. Choosing reading for a focus is timely. In the MS, we are digging into how we deliver reading instruction. This is starting some great conversations about our classroom libraries, our familiarity with books for this age group, and student choice and voice in what they read. We have also received the exciting news of a new Literacy Coach position for grades 6-12 starting in the 2020-2021 school year.

As I “build relationships and partnerships” with teachers under the “Leader” domain in the Librarians professional growth framework, some of my measurables, presented in narrative through this blog, will be:

  1. A unified belief about the importance of classroom libraries in the MS model of reading instruction;
  2. Greater confidence in our knowledge of what our students want to read, familiarity with popular MS books, and comfort in recommending titles to our MS readers;
  3. Equity in MS classroom libraries; and,
  4. A clear definition of what a culture of reading means to MS Humanities teachers.

There is also an exciting opportunity is to present at the ACAMIS Spring Leadership Conference, March 6,7 in Beijing at Keystone Academy. A colleague and I are starting to toss some ideas around about a contribution we might make to the larger learning community here in Beijing.

Decisions made, opportunities abound. Now…I wonder what’s for dinner?

Late for some very important dates

I’m constantly late these days. It’s not my usual practice, although my husband might tell you otherwise. Finding my groove these past few months has been tricky. Moving to a new country is hard work. My efforts are focused on the work of building a new home for my family and finding my way in a new school. On the home front, I have been late in the mornings, trying to figure out my new morning routine. I can’t consistently nail down the exact minutes required to properly wake up before actually getting out of bed, open the third floor curtains, take a shower, get dressed, and head downstairs. Do I wake up the girls on my way down or do I come back to do this after my coffee? I still can’t get the timing right to choose one option over the other. It is wasted energy each day as I revisit the dilemma.

In a similar nature, I am late to choose my professional learning goal for the 19-20 school year. I can’t decide which area of librarianship to focus on: reading or research? Unlike the rest of the teaching faculty, the four librarians are not working with the 7Cs. Because of the unique responsibilities in addition to teaching, we opted to work with this framework. I plan to focus on the Leader domain, which contains these strands:

•Serves as teacher leader
•Takes a global view of the community
Leverages the holistic view of the community to create (learning) opportunities
•Demonstrates commitment and knowledge
•Builds relationships and partnerships

We are still playing with these strands; the un-bulleted one is meant to take the place of the second bullet, and we have some word-smithing yet to do. Regardless, I intend to focus on the last bullet: Builds relationships and partnerships. In future posts, I will elaborate on how I plan to approach this important work.


Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self-assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7Cs)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

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