TERM 2 2018
Welcome Dear Parents, This edition of the AAAS newsletter looks back at the fantastic learning journey and some of the many school events and activities that took place in Term 2. We welcome any suggestions or feedback you may have about the School Newsletter. Please send your comments via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please include the following text as the subject of the email "NEWSLETTER FEEDBACK"
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Friends of AAAS, It is with a great sense of pride that I am able to inform you that following our recent ADEC Inspection, Al Ain American School has been acknowledged as a ‘Band A 2’ school for the first time! Given that AAAS was previously graded as a ‘Band A 3’ school, this makes the current achievement all the more remarkable. As the Inspectors noted in their opening comments of the Report, ‘The highly effective leadership of the principal and senior leaders has resulted in significant improvements in all areas since the previous inspection’ The majority of lessons were deemed very good to outstanding, and the Inspection Team recognised the important role that all members of staff have played in the many areas of improvement across the school, and also in the wider Al Ain American School community.
The Inspectors commented: â€˜ Partnerships with the parents and the community are outstanding, parents are well represented and they support the school very effectively. The views of parents, teachers and students are taken into account. Day-to-day management of the school is outstanding. Facilities are well maintained, staff are well qualified and receive highly effective professional development. Communication with all stakeholders is highly effective and excellent professional development is extended to teaching assistants, parents and class assistants.
The quality of leadership and management inspired by the dedication of the principal is outstanding, and has driven marked improvements in outcomes for students. All staff contribute to highly accurate self-evaluation and school improvement. The studentsâ€™ personal and social development and their innovation skills are outstanding. Teachers plan interesting and purposeful activities to motivate students. The classroom environments are stimulating and welcoming. The quality of protection, care, guidance and support for students is outstanding.â€™
The Inspectors further recognised and praised the following areas of strength: ü The highly effective leadership of the principal and senior leaders has resulted in significant improvements in all areas since the previous inspection. ü Students’ highly positive attitudes, behaviour and their self-reliance in lessons and around the school including their understanding of Islamic values, culture and heritage of the UAE. ü Teachers' commitment to professional development provided by the school, and its positive impact on raising the quality of teaching and overall progress of students. ü The caring ethos and secure environment of the school. ü Students’ enjoyment of learning and enthusiasm for the school, which is reflected in their very high levels of attendance.
The Inspection Team’s closing comments pointed out that ‘Leadership of the school is outstanding. The leadership of the principal is inspirational and visionary. Leaders have ensured rigorous professional development and improved teaching, which has led to dramatitc improvements in students’ progress particularly in the KG and primary phases. School self evaluation (SEF) and improvement planning are highly effective and accurate.’ I am sure you will agree with me, that over the past three years, Al Ain American School has indeed come a very long way, and that we are now one of the best schools in the Emirates. Please be assured that everyone connected with AAAS will continue to build on this excellent result and solid foundation. Attached please find English and Arabic copies of the Final Inspection Report. On behalf of my staff, Mr. Ali Mazrouei, the governors and students, I would like to thank you for your support, and I am sure that we are all looking forward with great excitement and anticipation to continuing this learning journey together. Kind Regards, Dr Wilfred Bock, EdD.
AAAS High Quality Professional Development Program: externally validated By Dr. Gail Bradley (Vice Principal – KG, Grades 1 & 2)
In the last edition of the AAAS Newsletter, I wrote about the benefits of continuous professional development for teachers, and indeed for all of those involved in educating students.
I alluded to the fact that regular professional development (PD) for teachers and teacher assistants, not only enables them to become more confident and take greater responsibility, it also encourages them to become innovative educators, and provides them with an opportunity to reflect: outcomes which lead to better provision for the students.
As a school, we were always confident that the AAAS sustained and rigorous PD program was impacting on student progress and development. We also believe that our continuous PD program ensured greater consistency in teachers’ practice. However, we were delighted when this was indeed validated in the recent ADEK Inspection Report, thus proving that our PD program was indeed of a very high quality. The report stated that AAAS leaders: … have ensured rigorous professional development and improved teaching which has led to dramatic improvements in students’ progress…
The Report also referred to: … teachers’ commitment to professional development provided by the school, and its positive impact on raising the quality of teaching and overall progress of students. Inside the Black Box Our PD sessions are linked to research and one of the more recent PD programs that we have delivered was based on the work of Paul Black and Dylan William, Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment.
This work based on a review of research, was conducted by these two renowned educationalists and authors, who consulted 250 pieces of educational research; very few educational initiatives have ever had such a strong body of evidence. The main findings of this distinguished piece of work highlights important elements which facilitate student progress. These include: 1. Questioning - high quality questioning is necessary - longer wait time is required - brainstorming is beneficial - use to explore and develop student learning 2. Feedback – comments should tell students how to improve - let students use the comments to guide further work 3. Self-assessment- eg. lets students understand their goal and what they need to do to reach it 4. Peer assessment – eg. enables students to take criticism seriously
As we already had systems and resources in place to respond to the first three elements, this time we concentrated on peer assessment.
After two sessions of input related to the Black Box, teachers and assistants were asked to work in year or specialist groups and create a mystery box full of ideas/resources which would enable and encourage peer assessment. In follow up sessions, staff presented their boxes to each other, explaining how the ideas would work and the use of the related resources.
Peer assessment not only enables students to take criticism seriously, it: - enables them to enjoy learning in a team - develops teamwork - teaches students to be diplomatic - teaches students to be reflective - encourages student responsibility and involvement
As such, it is a vehicle for raising classroom standards and fostering student progress. Having our PD program endorsed by an external body has certainly confirmed that AAAS is indeed on the right path to ensuring student success through teacher development.
Moral Education at AAAS By Nadia Sasso (Head Of Curriculum)
We are very proud of the way the school has implemented the Moral Education program across all grade levels. Focusing on the four pillars, Character and Morality, The Individual and the Community, Civic Studies, and Cultural Studies, we have integrated the program with other subjects, school events, and community events.
Other than the curriculum being taught during the Moral Education lesson, the English teachers are also integrating the topics in their teaching, such as writing about “How Should We Treat our Friends”, What is the Influence of Trade, Travel, and Communication on the UAE Culture”, and “Helping and Making a Difference”. The Character Building program also included a lot of the Moral Education topics such as “Bullying”, which was part of AAAS’s Anti-Bullying Campaign. “Respect and Tolerance in a Diverse Society”, which was part of the “Unity and Diversity Campaign”. Topics such as “Compassion and Empathy”, “Human Needs”, and “Taking Responsibility for Oneself and Others” were linked to community events such as visiting the Home of the Elderly.
Other topics such as “Mental Health”, “Being Healthy and Staying Well”, and “Physical Health and Diet” are also part of the Science lessons, school’s clinic health awareness campaigns, as well as part of the Physical Education lessons.
Our Morning Assembly program also reflected some topics such as “Discovering UAE Heritage through Story Telling” and “Understanding UAE Culture”, which are also part of the Arabic Social Studies lessons. The success of the program is celebrated in all classes and school corridors where the work of the students is show cased, showing the integration of the Moral Education program with the school’s curriculum.
KG We’re going to the zoo…… KG1 and KG2 students had visited the Al Ain Zoo for an educational field trip in the month of February. What a lovely experience our little ones had. We saw lots of animals such as the lion, tiger, monkeys, giraffe, zebra and many more. Field trips in the formative years are one of the most important things a school can provide for their students. As we all know, children learn by doing. They remember what they have personally experienced. In addition, concept development is optimized through active, explorative experiences. Field trips are a type of experiential learning that gets children away from traditional classroom settings and into a new mode of learning. Fields trips not only expand children’s learning and experiences, they also increase children’s knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live.
GRADE 1 What an amazing term! Grade 1 has come so far since September. We have become stronger writers and better readers. We have also become more confident because of all the cool stuff our teachers let us explore like, building greenhouses, making lemonade, creating fruit baskets, and most importantly learning how to be great friends. We make our teachers proud! Some highlights of Term 2 are our Entrepreneurship day when we all got a chance to participate in either selling, making, or marketing our lemonade. Another highlight is when we created our Greenhouses. It was amazing planting and working together. We look forward to another amazing term at Al Ain American School!
The Grade 2 students had many enjoyable learning experiences in Term 2. It was a fruitful and fun- filled term for our learners. We have been using learner- centered activities, which promote independence and interdependence among learners. We also adhere to media- centered learning strategies which exposes our learners to the technological advancement of our time.
In Science, students learned about the environment and how it changes in time. We did experiments about “Volcanic Eruption”, and “Flood”, where they observed the changes that happen in the environment. They also engaged in a S.T.E.M. activity making a water filter, where students had to find a way on how to produce clean water using readily available materials. In English, we continued to hone students’ love for reading by doing reading picnics, story-telling, and reading blast.
Students were able to practice their mathematical skills through buying and selling in the Entrepreneurship day. It was a day where students had fun transacting with others. Healthy eating was the focus of the DIY activity wherein Grade 2 students designed a model of a healthy fruit and vegetable basket.
Respect for diverse culture was emphasized during the Cultural dress up day and International Festival. Students explored the different talents, food, and clothes from different countries.
As a result of the joint effort of teachers and learners, Term 2 was a wonderful learning experience for everyone. Advancement in the different fields of learning was evident. We canâ€™t wait for another exciting term!
GRADE 3 The thirst for knowledge has always been the paramount concern of the Grade 3 department .We have exerted emphasis on areas that needs focus. Thus we have given students many varied activities to prepare them for next term. It is inevitable to realize that children learning the basic multiplications use knowledge which they acquired in former stages. Certain additions, for instance the doubles, known by heart, can support the learning process for multiplication. It makes a great difference in cognitive achievement whether children know multiplication facts by heart or whether they are able to figure out basic multiplications. Amazingly our students have shown great interest in this area. They have enjoyed solving a particular mathematical problem with the learned strategy taught to them. Moreover they have applied their skills in Math to Information Computer Technology.
Equally interesting is Science as students were fascinated with the topic of planet Earth.. The exposure to Layers of the earth, Erosion and Weathering, Soil, water and Weather have impacted the students to the point. They have displayed their prowess in creating a replica of what Science has to offer. From observation seen, the students were more agile to perform an activity if the teacher gave a more impetus yet fun activity.
As the saying goes. All work no play makes Jack a dull boy. Hence we have given our students many educational activities away from the periphery of the classroom. Activities were somehow elevated from within the school and outside school. At the top of the list is the “Entrepreneurship Day “January 16, 2018. We branded our stall as ‘Falafel store’. This was participation between both students and teachers. It was a massive success. Students were selling their items and the sandwiches they have prepared with much gusto. Then it was followed by “DIY Day” Feb 11, 2018. Students made a healthy lunchbox and participated without qualms. Lastly was the trip to Remal Mall (Bounce).We saw how delighted the students were. The experience of being with their classmates in one big playground was truly a blast. Together, we and the school’s management are always striving for a more superior and enjoyable learning environment. After all we are an A+ academe. So Kudos to all of us.
GRADE 4 What an incredible journey we had in Term 2?! From a fresh start to an outstanding inspection result and an extravagant International Day celebrations!! Our classes were inspected in the 1st week of February 2018 which was an amazing experience for the students and teachers. Students showed off their skills as “Little Teachers for the Day”, “Classroom Tour guides” and “Plenary Masters”. The focus for inspection was on the overall achievement of students and the learning processes that involved. Both aspects were judged to be outstanding and we received lots of positive feedback in other areas of inspection. We are proud of the good work that our students do and we are regularly at the forefront of innovative work. We have and will always maintain our standard in keeping our students abreast of the trends in our community and society by exposing them to in-depth learning through the practice of the 21st century learning methods. This term witnessed a colossal achievement in areas that geared towards the moral uplifting of their lives, impactful trip to Bounce and Character Building week, and robust expansion/strengthening of the academic depths of scholars. The list goes on.
In English, we did two interesting lessons, “The Screech Owl who liked Television” and “The Life and Times of Ants” .We also had writing camp snapshots and will be writing letters to pen pals in Term 3. We have been doing Book Club and reading books together in groups. In Math we worked on Multiplication, Division and even Fractions!! We’ve been learning about equivalent fractions, adding fractions up and modeling fractions. In Science, we familiarized the different ecosystems and researched on the ecosystem found in UAE and we also pondered on how to preserve the ecosystems. Moral Education lessons were super exciting as we had to plan and execute new modes of transportation that would cater to the traffic rush in Dubai and also thought of how we could trade things and be future entrepreneurs who would hit the Forbes List soon!! Our school hosted its biggest event of the year which was truly reflective of its diverse community and that was the ‘International Day'. It was a funfilled day with various country booths, performances, and the various foods that one got to sample.
Our students took delight in the multi-cultural environment as they believe that the international element prepares them for life. Our ethos, which teaches openness and acceptance of diversity, enables our students to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to understand and cope with the demands of a multi-cultural environment. The children have had a great term and we all look forward to next terms topics and the summer vacation with enthusiasm!!!
GRADE 5 The Grade 5 boys Of AAAS were selected to participate in an international painting competition organized through the British Schools in the United Kingdom.
The project was all about the different country, culture and heritage and to recognize the importance of global citizenship. Emirati students had to draw pictures of their culture and also the expat students had to draw pictures of their adopted city. The art work was then mailed to the U.K. AAAS Grade 5 boys decided to put their thinking caps on and paired up to tackle the overseas project. They collaborated together and it was amazing to see how they worked as a class.
In Term 2 the grade 6 students continued to display their 21st century skills by actively participating in various activities across all subjects.
Learners were well engaged in the tasks and applied critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration whilst completing activities. They were challenged to think creatively, collaborate with other team members and design different exercise tools, posters or models relating to Healthy Living; our Character Building Theme.
The students went on an excursion to IMG World in Dubai and had great fun on the different thrilling rides.
They displayed their creative skills as well as Entrepreneurship skills during the Entrepreneur Day where they sold pizza, cakes, juice and soda floats. The grade 6 students have shown great maturity during term 2 and displayed a greater sense of discipline in completing homework and class room activities.
GRADES 7 & 8
Grades 7 and 8 have been busy in Term 2 exploring and studying about human body and solar system. Grade 7 students were doctors and they enjoyed exploring the human body systems and how they work. Grade 8 explored the solar system this term. Students were excited to know how the solar system was formed and the most important question was, â€œWhy Pluto is not a planet anymoreâ€??
Throughout the term, students learned about solar system formation from Nebula and how the terrestrial and gas giant planets were formed. They explored the Kuiper belt objects and they shared their own observations seeing the bright and shooting stars in the sky.
Students learned about meteors, meteoroids and meteorites. They made their own rocket to explore more space objects. They researched about study of space exploration and the dwarf planets. It was an out of this world experience for our students.
EXPLORATION & INNOVATION
Exploration & Innovation is a subject where students come to have fun, and are given the opportunity to broaden their horizons through an inquiry based approach, in particular they would focus on the 4’Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity), to increase their learning potential.
For this term, the theme is ‘The year of Zayed’, and my inspiration for this theme came from the recent approval by the UAE government. This idea of reflecting on the past and the 21st century learning approach, will allow my students to creatively think their way out of real life problems. To understand this, learners are exposed to new, up to date concepts from around the world. This was the perfect opportunity, to introduce a theme rich in the UAE culture and heritage. As innovation has been very successful for us, we extended this challenge by introducing the ‘Young Home Innovators Challenge’. This gave people at home, an opportunity to experience 21st century learning and a taste of what students would go through in class. This term the ‘Young Home Innovators Challenge’ was to build a model that would be able to clean the playground after break time. We had a fantastic response from all around the school; really showcasing how talented our students are.
IT & ROBOTICS FUN Information Communication Technology is a potentially powerful tool for extending educational opportunities, In Al Ain American School we aim to develop our students’ skills in ICT and help them to be updated with the latest Technology. In the 4th grade, students are working on Power Point Presentation program; they are creating presentations about virus topics, and they could integrate it with the other subjects and make presentations related to Math, English or Science.
In the 5th grade, students became mobile app developers. They developed a pop quiz application. 6th grade students became business owners and they used different types of programs “Ms. Word and Ms. Power Point” to create catalogues, advertisements and business cards.
In the 7th grade, students have learned how to be a good digital citizen and they created posters and presentations using J2e online tool. In the Robotics side they created machines like “Transporter, Rout Robot and Techno Robo Transporter”, they used different remote controls and types of sensors. 8th grade students became marketing executives for an amusement park. This challenging job had them use Microsoft Office to complete a wide range of job duties. In the Robotics side they created machines like “Transporter, Rout Robot and Techno Robo Transporter ”, they used different remote controls and types of sensors.
“I can always learn new things and think new thoughtsJ”
AAAS Healthy Lifestyle Campaign
AAAS has always been keen on promoting healthy lifestyle amongst students as well as the wider community beyond our school boundaries.
Our goal is to encourage our students and family members to lead a healthy lifestyle filled with healthy foods, frequent exercise and good sleeping habits. Such healthy habits will lead to good general health as well as strong minds. As part of our campaign students have been invited to prepare healthy snacks for their lunch. This will encourage healthy habits at a young age, as well as responsibility skills. Students received small tokens for each healthy food that was packed in their lunch. Their lunch boxes looked exceptional filled with different fruits and vegetables.
In light of our Healthy Lifestyle Campaign we started off a unique competition encouraging students and staff to prepare a meal which is both healthy and delicious. This unique competition titled 'AAAS TOP CHEF' began in 2017 and we continued our annual event this year which was held at the Al Ain Rotana on the 17th of February 2018. Students and staff produced some incredible meals and the event was a wonderful success. This type of initiative will aid our students towards embracing healthy habits throughout their lives and hopefully in turn they can inspire their friends and family members to also lead a healthier lifestyle.
OTHER SCHOOL EVENTS AAAS Entrepreneurship Day On Thursday 25th of January 2018 AAAS hosted its second annual Entrepreneurship Day. Entrepreneurship education benefits all students as it teaches them to think of an idea, create the product, promote it and in the end sell it. This initiative did not only instill confidence in our students but it gave them an opportunity to develop their talents and speaking skills. We were pleased to have our Parent Council Members actively participate in the event.
AAAS DIY â€“ Healthy Habits Term 2 has been very fruitful and exciting so far. Students were engaged in some fantastic learning sessions. Our DIY Event themed 'Healthy Habits' which took place on the 15th February, not only stimulated creative and critical thinking amongst students, but also was a way of encouraging our students to live a healthy life style through making projects based around the topic. We witnessed wonderful creations by our students. It was truly a fabulous learning experience for all.
100 Days Celebration Today was dedicated to 100 days celebration at AAAS. We have successfully completed 100 days of our exciting learning journey for the Academic year 2017 2018. It was filled with lots of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. We are looking forward to many more wonderful days where we can learn and grow together. A special thank you goes out to our sponsors for the event, Medeor International Hospital, Golden Eagle Group and NMC Hospital. Your partnership with Al Ain American School is highly appreciated.
Health and Wellness Day
Al Ain American School hosted a Health and Wellness Day on Saturday 24th February 2018. This event was attended by Medical Centres and Private Health sectors to provide health awareness screening programs to all ,which included blood sugar tests, cholesterol and blood pressure screening. We had a nutrition corner, hygiene corner, dental care corner, fitness corner, and a lot more. Parents with their children and staff attended the event and got their BMI screening done as well. Visitors also enjoyed lots of fun activities.
Spelling Bee Competition On 28th February, AAAS hosted a Spelling Bee Competition for students of Grade 7 & 8. It was a wonderful competition and our students aced it by spelling out some very challenging words. Well done students.
AAAS 3rd Annual International Festival
AAAS hosted its 3rd Annual International Festival on Thursday 22nd March. It was a day where everyone enjoyed a fantastic cultural evening filled with traditional foods, performances and much, much more. We encouraged our students to come together to share about their cultural backgrounds. It was also a chance for us all to learn lots of exciting and interesting things about our diverse world. Our students took pride in their own cultural identities while accepting and appreciating different cultures. A major shoutout to our official sponsors NMC Healthcare . It has been a pleasure to collaborate with one of the leading hospital in the country.
It is a great pleasure to present the tenth edition of Al Ain American School’s Newsletter