Singing Lessons: After

It has been a long time since I started my Singing Lessons, and I cannot believe how far I have come. When I first started this activity, I had not sung in my life and I had no techniques to rely on. Now, I have participated in two singing auditions, have recorded several songs, and I am much more aware of my breathing and projection techniques. In other words, I have certainly “Developed new skills,” which was one of my Learning Outcomes.

In addition, I believe I have also shown a great amount of perseverance in this CAS experience. Keeping up with my singing lessons has not always been easy, and some of the songs I’ve had to sing were quite complicated and required me to practise them many times over. However, I overcame these difficulties through hard work and dedication, and I am happy to say that I have missed very few classes over these last two years. For this, I am very proud of myself. Therefore, I have achieved my other learning outcome: “Show commitment to, and perseverance in, CAS experiences.”

There are very few things I would have liked to change about my singing experience. The most significant one is possibly not being able to ever sing a solo song in an audition, but I am probably still not ready for one. Still, as a closing for this experience, I would like to share my latest singing recording. It is a Spanish song called “Si Tu No Estás Aquí” by singer Rosana, and I am very proud of how it turned out. I think it perfectly represents how long I have come ever since I started my lessons, as I would not have been able to sing like that a year ago. You can listen to the song here (when available).

All in all, I am very happy about this CAS experience, and it is one of those pastimes I will make sure to keep working on even after my IB years are over.

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Journal Club: After

My involvement with the Journal Club has been long and required a lot of hard work. However, I think it is one of the best CAS experiences I have ever had.

First of all, working in the Journal Club has certainly taught me how beneficial it is to work with others to achieve a common goal. When I was only a writer, I had to work with the Journal Club heads at the time to ensure my articles were published every term. However, it was after I began working as a Journal Club manager that I truly understood how important teamwork is. If I had not worked as a team with my fellow Journal Club heads, we would not have been able to achieve half of what we have achieved now. Through the division of labour and good communication skills, we have managed to redesign the ASB Newsletter’s layout, get our student-run publication online, and publish three complete term newsletters in addition to a Special Edition magazine filled with creative pieces. Together, with passion and dedication, we have accomplished much more than what anybody expected, something I feel very proud of. Hence, I have “Demonstrated the skills and recognized the benefits of working collaboratively” throughout my Journal Club experience.

Furthermore, I have dedicated long hours to working for the Journal Club. Whether it was selecting interesting topics for articles or hunting down lazy writers, I have given a lot of time and thought to my Journal Club experience. Even when times got difficult, I never settled for less articles than a minimum of about four per section, and I never complained about having to edit and translate articles while also studying for tests and exams. I truly believe I have been a persevering member of the Journal Club, and that I have always been dedicated to the cause. In this way, I have “Shown commitment to, and perseverance in,” my Journal Club CAS experience.

All in all, there are very few things I would do differently if I had to repeat my Journal Club experience. If anything, my fellow Journal Club managers and I would have liked to create a Journal Club logo or a Journal Club twitter account, but we had no time to do so with all our IB work. Still, it’s always good to leave something to be done by those next in line for the Journal Club!

Journal Club: During #6

My last term as one of the Journal Club heads has been a very exciting one!

To being with, my fellow Journal Club managers and I held several talks with the school’s principal, as well as the IT  department, to get the Journal Club online! Thanks to our joined efforts, the school will now be able to show the student’s once-a-term publication on their own webpage.  This is very exciting for us, as I am sure it will make many more people aware of what happens around the school. In addition, it shows the student’s writing talents to anyone who wants to read what we write.

Also, this Term, us Journal Club leaders have chosen those who will substitute us next term while we prepare for exams. It was a long process, as a lot of considerations had to be made but, in the end, we chose students who we think will do a great job at keeping the Journal Club up and running. Throughout this term, we integrated them into our team, teaching them how to choose articles, assign writers, and deal with the stresses of late submissions. I am very happy with how the new Journal Club members are behaving, and I am sure they will do a fantastic job at keeping the ASB Newsletter engaging and informative.

Finally, our final Journal Club publication this year is turning out to be a complete success. We have organised our time very well and, while as of writing this reflection the ASB Newsletter is not complete, I already have the Lower School section ready, and the IB section (which is also my responsibility) is almost done as well. I also have to write an article about the IB Final Visual Arts exhibition, but that will be done in a couple of weeks, after the exhibition has passed. Finally, the Journal Club manager in charge of the Newsletter’s format has also been working very hard and preparing a brand new color-scheme for our last publication. This will no doubt be a special edition of the ASB Newsletter, and we hope, it will be the best yet!

Painting the Gym

Goal: To paint my school’s indoor gym in time for this year’s Visual Arts Exhibition.

Learning Outcome: To recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

Before

I am eager for this experience to take place. I have always enjoyed painting, and this seems like a pretty big-scale project, not to mention it being very important! The grade of the Visual Arts’s student’s exhibition depends, partially, on us painting the gym well.

However, I can think of a few problems that could set us back in our artistic endeavour. For example, it has been very hard to get this experience approved by the school. We had to talk to several teachers and even the principal to get permission for this project to take place, and we were not given possible painting dates until very recently. Many obstacles could appear from now until then. However, let’s hope that everything turns out okay!

During

This experience turned out to go better than planned!

We painted the gym in three days, although I could sadly not be there for one of them. However, it surprised me how fast we got things done. With just a couple of hours of work, we were able to completely paint the gym, leaving it as good as new! This only goes to show the benefits of working as a team. The other painters and I were very organised. For example, when we realised too many people were working on the same wall, some of the uswould then begin working on another wall or covering the floor with newspapers, hence optimising the workforce!

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Us painting. I am the one looking up at the wall.

The only aspect of this experience that was quite annoying was that we could not paint as much as we could have in one day. This is because the school’s gym was occupied from after school finished on Tuesdays. This in and of itself isn’t too bad, but what makes it annoying is that nobody had told us! If we had known, we would have probably organised our time better.

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Us painting the walls. I am in the middle of the group of three people in white.

After

All in all, this experience turned out surprisingly well! We finished painting sooner than we thought we would, which shows that we all worked well as a team in a very organised manner. I am very happy of having taken part in this CAS experience, as it has shown me once again that, when people work together, there is no challenge too big for them.

Caritas

Goal: To spend one afternoon in Caritas taking care of children.

Learning Outcome: Recognise and consider the ethics of my choices and actions.

Before

Currently, I am feeling very nervous about this activity. My task is to go to Caritas, a daycare center for children whose family have economic problems, and spend my afternoon there feeding, playing, and helping the children with their homework. While this does not sound like a very hard task, I have never been too good with children, so I am worried that I will not be very useful to the people working at Caritas. However, I will make sure to give it my all while I’m there. Let’s hope everything goes well!

During

My Caritas experience was much better than what I had anticipated! When I got there, I had to help set up a table and feed the children as they came. After that, I was assigned a child and had to spend the rest of my afternoon with her. She was a 6th grader and, throughout the first half of the afternoon, I helped her with her maths homework. This was possibly the most challenging part of my experience, as she was studying things I was not entirely familiar with due to me never having gone to a spanish school. Because of this, I made some mistakes when teaching her how to solve problems, but I ended up correcting them and everything turned out well in the end.

After that, the girl and I played chess together, and she even made up some games of her own! She was a very imaginative child, and it was very fun to spend the afternoon with her.

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The girl and I playing chess.

After

All in all, this CAS experience turned out much better than expected. It led me to truly consider the impact my presence had on the children I met and their afternoon. These young people have not had the opportunities I’ve had but, thankfully, the presence of institutions like Caritas, with the help of volunteers like myself, are there to help them succeed in life. If it hadn’t been for my actions, this girl might have not been able to complete her maths homework, for example, and I wouldn’t have been able to face a new challenge and find out more about the lives of children who I may have never met otherwise. While it was not the ideal Service experience for me (I prefer getting involved with environmental matters), my afternoon in Caritas was still very personally useful and enriching, and I am glad to have participated in it.

 

Reading to Children: After

Although I planned to continue this activity further, I was not able to do so. The school’s schedule and my own never coincided – they could only allow me to go in the morning, but I myself have school at that time. This was quite disheartening for me, as I truly enjoyed reading to those children, but I wasn’t able to make it work out.

Still, I did manage to achieve the two learning outcomes I connected to this activity. I did “undertake new challenges”, as it was the first time I ever read to children. It was a completely new experience for me, and it was very enriching. I learned how to get the kids involved with the story, which was very fun to do and also a very useful skill to deal with children. I also achieved the learning outcome that requires me to “consider the ethical implication of my action”. I aknowledge how important reading is for the development of cognitive processes, especially in young children. I also realise that these children rarely have people read to them, which means it is unlikely for them to get hooked on reading. Therefore, my reading to them was possibly a rare and valuable happening in my life, and it hopefully inspired them to become independently interested in reading themselves. However, my intervention could have been more useful if I had been able to go to the school more times.

Hence, if I could repeat this activity all over again, I would certainly do it and, this time, I would like to visit the school many more times than just one.

Pilates: After

Unfortunately, this activity has come to a bittersweet ending. I have not been able to achieve my goal or, in other words, to go to at least four pilates classes per month. While I was able to accomplish this in a more or less satisfactory way during my first year of IB and during the start of my second year, I completely lost track of the activity nearing Christmas 2016, and had to stop going due to personal reasons from January onwards. This failure has truly hit me, especially because I was eager and motivated to begin this activity once more after vacations. Cutting class never made me feel good and, during December, I was actually desperate to go outside and exercise. This is the main reason why I decided to start a new Activity activity (Winter Walking) so late into my CAS program: I wanted a replacement for my Pilates classes.

Despite this, I still feel that I have accomplished both learning outcomes I had attached to this activity. I certainly “undertook new challenges”: I had never tried pilates before and the introducing a weekly exercising activity to my routine was also new to me. I learned many relaxation poses that are still useful to me even now, as they are good to keep in mind to help manage stress. Pilates also proved to me that excercising can be very emotionally beneficial, and helped me see sports as something that I can truly enjoy.

My second learning outcome is more problematic in terms of me accomplishing it, as it involves “showing perseverance and commitment” in regards to this activity. While it is true that I couldn’t keep pilates up to the end of my CAS program, I did maintain this activity as a strong part of my routine for more than a year. In that way, I still showed commitment to it, even during times of academic stress, like during last year’s IB mock exams. Hence, I still believe I achieved this learning outcome, although not as well as I would have liked.

All in all, while this activity ended in a disappointing fashion, I am still very happy that I decided to try out pilates as part of my CAS program. It has certainly been an experience that I will remember for a long time and, if I had to do this program again, I would absolutely make pilates one of my main longitudinal activities if I could.

Note:

Unfortunatley, I could not get photographic proof for this activity. Instead, I have audio proof [link – click here to listen!]. It is in Spanish, but you can find a translation below:

“Hello everybody. I am Ainhoa’s mother, and I confirm that she has been going to Pilates from November 2015 to December 2017. I know this because we went to the activity together, and in this way we could both discover the world of Pilates. I am very grateful for the CAS program for allowing me to do this. Thank you.”

Singing Lessons: During #11 – Audition Time!

So much has happened since I last updated my blog!

In class, I have been practising many new songs, including “Out of Reach” by Gabrielle, “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt and, now, “Si tu no estás aquí” by Rosanna. Out of all of these, “Out of Reach” was definitely the hardest. It took me a while to figure out how I could hit all the right notes without sounding awful. However, I practised hard at home and ended up getting so much better at it that I was congratulated by the teacher! Meanwhile, “Don’t Speak” was very fun to sing, as it is upbeat and allows for a lot playing around with registers, something I found very interesting. I have only barely started practising, “Si tu no estás aquí”, but it is bound to be very fun to work through. My teacher has told me this song has the potential to sound very good on me due to my low voice, so now I just have to focus on practising it and giving the song a personal touch.

However, it was my recent audition (on February 16th) which has truly left a mark on me this term. My teacher decided to make us work on a cover of a song called “Tonight You Belong to Me” (link) to train us in singing harmonies. One of my classmates was given the main voice, or the melody, while another classmate and I had to sing the back-up voices, or harmonies. We all found carrying several voices at the same time very challenging, and we even had to simplify some aspects of the song to make it more managable. One of the most memorable parts of practising this song for the audition was our first (and only) practise with the person who played the ukelele for us during the show – he had no idea how the song went, which made us very confused when singing. This made us feel very stressed out, but luckily we helped him learn the song correctly before the show.

At the show venue, we were all very nervous at first, but then we just decided to forget about the nerves and just have fun – what’s the worse that could happen? Therefore, we all got on stage and sang, and we actually did pretty good. We made a few mistake during the song bridges, which were the hardest part, but overall we did a good job. My sister, who was in the crowd, even told me that she heard some ladies talking about how beautiful our voices were! It was especially interesting for me to consider how different this audition was from last year’s: we were all much more relaxed in the lead-up to it, and I think our performance was much better. Sadly, the video quality is not that good, but I am still very happy with our performance.

Winter Walking

Learning outcome: Show perseverance and commitment in my activities.

Goal: To go on walks at least once a week from now to the end of March.

Before

Lately, schoolwork and IB have been taking over my life. That is part of the reason why I am so happy about starting this activity: talking walks along the sea at least once a week. I have always loved walking, as it is an activity that truly relaxes me and gives me a break from my busy IB life. In addition, it is very likely I will have good company during my walks, as my mother will probably want to come with me at least a few times. This is great, as it will allow me to spend more time with her and talk.

While I am excited about this new activity, I am also afraid it will be deterred by factors that are not under my control, such as bad weather. This would be a real shame, but I am ready to face this issue: whenever I am unable to go walking due to bad weather, I will postpone it to another day when the weather is more suitable for walking. If worst comes to worst, I will just walk some extra distance the next time I go walking.

I am very motivated to begin this new activity!

During #1

The first 4 weeks of this activity have been very rewarding for me. Every week,  I walked at least 3km, which I am very happy about – it’s been a while since I walked such a long distance uninterrupted! At first, it was challenging to find the time and energy to go on these walks. However, by week 3, I was hooked! Now, I can hardly envision my weekly plans without leaving a space for my walks. I feel proud of myself for this, as it tends to be hard for me to make exercise a part of my routine. I hope things will continue to go well regarding this activity!

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

During #2

This month, it was slightly more difficult to keep up with this experience. We were very busy at school, as we were finishing courses and submitting our written tasks to the IB website. Hence, I did not have as much time as I would have liked to go out and walk. I did manage to do so every week, but some of the walks had to be shorter as a result. Next month should be more relaxed, so I am hoping I will be able to finish this experience off with a bang then!

Week 5:

Week 6:

Week 7:

Week 8:

During #3

This month of March has been insane! I have spent my days organizing my school’s final IB Visual Arts exhibition and, as such, I have barely had time for my CAS experiences. However, I have somehow been able to keep up my weekly walking sessions. I am very happy about this and, while I  have not walked as much as I would have wanted to, I am still glad I managed to do some exercise during these stressful times. If I could repeat this month all over again, I would certainly try to walk for longer distances, but I am proud of what I have achieved nonetheless, especially given the circumstances.

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

After

I am very happy to have taken part in this CAS experience. It was very hard to keep up with it, but I have been able to do so and, for that, I am proud. I think this experience has truly helped me to achieve my Learning Outcome: “Show perseverance and commitment in my activities.” By achieving my goal of going on walks at least once a week, I have been able to remain active during these past difficult months, something I am very thankful for. If I could do anything differently, I would have loved to go on longer walks more times each week. While this was impossible to do, I am happy with what I have achieved, and I may keep up with my weekly walks even after my CAS experience is over.

 

 

School Christmas Concert

Learning Outcome: Work collaboratively with others.

Goal: To help my school celebrate its 50th Anniversary in the best way possible.

Before

This year, my school becomes 50 years old! To celebrate this special occasion, they are organising many different activities and shows to build up our community’s spirit. One of these events is the ASB Christmas Concert, which will be held in one of the most well-known theatres in town.

This is a very exciting opportunity for the school, but it is certainly no easy task! Therefore, us 12 graders will be helping out with anything the school needs on the day of the show. I have been asked to work backstage and, while I don’t know exactly what my job will be, I will galdly perform any task that helps this concert go smoothly.

Right now, the only thing I am worried about is that I am not the best when it comes to calming down or entertaining small children, so I have no idea if I will be useful in that regard. However, I will try my best if need be. Let’s hope everything goes well!

During

Helping out in my school’s Christmas Concert was certainly interesting. For a while, everything seemed a bit chaotic, and I was not sure what I was supposed to be doing, so I decided to help the ASB Model United Nations club set up a fund raising stand, which seemed to be the most pressing matter that needed to be handled.

However, the concert soon began and I took my place backstage. After that, I spent the evening making sure children backstage were quiet and sometimes leading them from their changing rooms to the stage. Luckily, they were all very well behaved and there were no issues in that regard. The concert was a success, and everybody had a wonderful night!

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Christmas Concert Final Act

After

I am very happy everything turned out well at the concert. Still, it was not perfect. At times, I felt rather useless, as many times there was nothing for me to do and I felt as if I was just taking up space. A lot of my classmates agreed that there were too many volunteers there and not enough work for all of us. Maybe I should also try to be more proactive in the future, but I still felt that the organization of the event was lacking in that respect.

Still, I am glad nothing went wrong, and I will most definitely help out with any other event my school chooses to organise!