End of Year 2019-20 Newsletter
Volume Eighteen : June 28, 2020
Greetings, dear parents,
This is final newsletter of the school year 2019/20, marking the end of one of the most challenging years for The Alpha School, and schools across Dubai and the globe. What a year it has been!
Before I go any further, I would like to share with you some great news based on our recent KHDA Evaluation which looked in detail at the provision of E-learning – the school was judged to be in the top level of provision as ‘Developed’!
I am of course delighted with this. The result reflects the efforts and creativity of the Senior Leadership Team in planning the approach, providing the teachers with training and monitoring the provision; the hard work of our wonderful teachers, who had to learn new skills and work extended hours in their attempts to deliver quality learning experiences and care from their own homes; and the amazing support of you the parents. I believe that the whole Alpha family owns this evaluation result.
As I look back on the last few months, I can honestly say that it has been a roller-coaster of a ride. There have been highs and lows. Most of my wonderful team, and the families at the school, have been in lock-down and coping in isolation with the anxiety of an epidemic that has swept the world. All of our certainties and normalities seem to have shifted to elsewhere, and we all long for a return to how things were.
But there have been positives too. Families have grown closer as they spend more time together; work colleagues have found strength and comfort in their collaborations; and a vast range of new skills and understanding have been learned by the children, parents, and teachers alike. Even I learned how to Zoom and Loom!
In all of this, I think we have all gained a greater appreciation of the value of school and the sense of security, stability, diversity and routine that daily attendance at a good school brings. Never did I expect to hear children saying how much they missed school and wanted to return! We are all looking forward to next school year.
My role, and that of my SLT and Administrative teams, is to now ensure that we are ready for the opening of The Alpha School in September, with a main focus on the health and safety of everyone who enters the school building. During the summer holiday, you will receive information regarding preparations and guidance (which will have to be KHDA and MOE approved). My main focus will be to ensure that our children, parents and staff, return to a safe teaching and learning environment. Please be assured that you will receive everything you need to know in regard to how the school will operate and the expectations of staff, students and parents, in good time.
Before I leave you to enjoy the final newsletter of the school year 2019/20, I hope that you will join me in thanking the teachers, in particular, who have worked tirelessly this term – what a privilege it is for me to lead such a team; and I want to thank you, as parents, for your contribution and the major role you have played.
Stay safe, stay well. Enjoy your summer and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
I hope to see you all soon.
WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING AT ALPHA?
Teacher Assessments and End of Year Reports
The Foundation Stage children were set a mission for their final project. They had to become Superheroes to save the school from the evil villains that had taken it over. They had to design and come up with a plan to take back the school.
During the project, they looked at community superheroes and superhero animals too. They designed their own superhero costumes and their own comic book strip story. They made their own super smoothies as part of a healthy diet and enjoyed a variety of science experiments such as exploding cola!
The FS children made cards for their daddies to wish them a Happy Father's Day
Foundation Stage extra Curricular activities
The Foundation Stage children have been busy creating models out of recycled materials as part of their extra- curricular art.
Key Stage 1
KS1 have had a very busy third term. In the earlier part of the term, students were learning many new objectives and then in the later part, consolidating these concepts and refreshing their memories of objectives already learnt earlier in the school year.
This revision has ensured that students are comfortable with most of the concepts taught this academic year and it gives them a good foundation for the next year of teaching. The students have revisited learning objectives that possibly they were struggling with earlier.
The e-learning has actually provided us, as teachers, to take a more objective view at all of the teaching. In many instances this has provided us the knowledge of when to give one-to-one tuition sessions with students, which has proved to be very much to their benefit.
It has been very rewarding to see that, with the added bonus of a parent helping the student, alongside the teacher with the e-learning, many things have been accomplished. In both Year 1 and 2 there has been a noticeable improvement in for instance, reading, spellings, handwriting, numerical ability and the general understanding in many of the Science and Humanities concepts taught.
In Literacy, Year 1 students have covered learning objectives such as: to retrieve and interpret information from the reading of a text; to discuss the sequence of events in texts; to understand where to use capital letters; to understand how to use present and past verbs; to understand where to use question marks, full stops and exclamation marks. The students have started to use prefixes and suffixes, the list seems to go on but, in short, they have made great strides in their learning. The same goes for the Year 2 students and the example below for their ‘e-book’ shows how far they have come in their education.
In all of the other areas of the Curriculum ‘great strides’ have been made. The latest concept introduced in Year 1, for Mathematics, was the coverage of ’Money’. Other areas have included: the description of position and direction; the beginnings of Fractions; Time; and lastly, solving missing addition and subtraction missing number problems.
In Science, the students have been understanding and identifying different properties of materials, classifying animals, revisiting the Life cycles of butterflies and frogs and refreshing their memories of the Seasons. All in all, it has been a busy term.
Year 2 have been equally as busy, with students learning about the different continents. In the UAE they have learnt about many important features of this region. Mathematics has seen them looking at recalling Timetable facts using ICT, ordering length in cm and meters and also learning to using the right vocabulary relating to telling the time, for example - ‘half past’, ‘o ‘clock’, ‘quarter past’ and ‘quarter to’.
This term, in Literacy, Year 2 have been busy creating their very own e-books. The boys and girls put a huge effort in to planning, writing and illustrating their e-books over the course of the term. Some of the students wrote stories about kindness, some chose to write funny stories, some chose awesome adventures and others wrote spooky stories! Their hard work certainly payed off as the e-books submitted were amazing! We are extremely proud of the innovation and creativity displayed by all of our authors. Well done to all who participated in this project.
Here are some examples of excellent e-books…
In Science, Year 2 covered, amongst other topics, the revision of ‘Materials and Recycling’. They learned that reusing things is an easy way to help our Earth. They had a recycling challenge, in the photos below are some of the creative ideas that the students came up with.
Below are examples of some of the learning, in both Year 1 and 2, that has taken place:
Key Stage 2
Wow, what a successful year we have had in KS2, both in the classroom and whilst e-learning. I am proud to see that the teachers and children have embraced all of the online lessons, activities and events that have taken place. The children's motivation to continue their learning and friendships during e-learning has been exceptional.
I especially enjoyed the 'Alpha's Got Talent Show', which showcased the different and varied talents that our children have. It is also great to see the children using their excellent IT skills whilst working collaboratively within and across the classes on projects set by their teachers.
We are now looking forward to celebrating our Year Six children who will be moving on to secondary school. Our Year Six Graduation on Wednesday 1st July will celebrate their achievements whilst at The Alpha School.
I hope the children have a fantastic summer holiday and I look forward to seeing them in September.
Year 5 and 6 UAE Space Project
Over the past week, our Year 5 and 6 students have been completing a project to help the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. As part of their project, the children were tasked with the important job of creating a new Spaceship for Hazza Al Mansoori on his next mission to Space. The children were also asked to create a 3D-model of their design, along with a newly designed Spacesuit and an advert for a new astronaut. Part of the project required the children to promote the UAE and all the wonderful things from the country. The children worked independently or in small groups to complete their project. On Sunday 25th June, the children presented their projects to Ms. Alison, Mr. Craig, Ms. Gina, and our special guest from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Amna Mohamed AlNuaimi. A huge thank you to Amna for sharing lots of information about the Space Centre and their important role in the success of the UAE’s recent space missions.
All the children did an amazing job and it was amazing to see all their innovative skills and projects. The presentations were outstanding! What a wonderful way to end an amazing year!
Innovation and Creation - Summer Projects
Over the year, it has been amazing to see the children working hard to develop and progress their innovative and problem-solving skills. The children have completed different projects in school and these have helped the children to think creatively. Over the summer, we would like the children to create a mascot for the Alpha School Library. In their designs, the children should include the following:
1) A labelled drawing of their mascot
2) The mascot must be wearing a Alpha School costume
3) The mascot must show the children’s love of reading
We would also like to have a range of posters for the school library that show the children’s love of books. The children should create different posters for their favourite books, including pictures of the characters and information about the plot and setting.
We look forward to seeing their designs when we return to school in the new school year. HAPPY READING!
We would also like the children to take part in a second project. We would like the children to create and make a new building for Dubai. Over the last year, the UAE have continue to witness a growth in architectural excellence with the Mohammed bin Rashid Library and the Museum of the future both nearing completion. We would like the children to think creatively to create new building. They need to choose what the building will look like and what will be inside the building. The children should draw a design and then create a model of the building. The children can also create a video explaining their project.
We wish the children the best of luck and we again, look forward to viewing the children’s projects in the new school year.
The Alpha School offers all children opportunities to achieve and to shine by showcasing their talent. In both our shows this year, the children that took part certainly showed that Alpha has indeed got talent! With so many standout performances that created memories we shall all cherish; it was a privilege to watch our children shine and, as always, rise to the challenge.
Starting in September, our House Parents, Captains and Vice Captains were chosen: Mr. Stephen supported by Poorna and Moska for Neptune, Mrs. Sara and Hamza and Rubeen for Venus, Mr. Franky supported by Eliza and Mim for Mars and Mrs. Rehab/Mr. Paul supported by Jasem and Abdulkadda for Jupiter. The system was an excellent opportunity for children get as many points as possible to be the House Team of the Week. As well as those achievements, each house had the opportunity to win the coveted 'Golden Flip Flop Challenge' each month. I would like to thank all the participants in our flip flop challenges and a big mention to our House Captains and Vice Captains who were all excellent support to their House Parents and perfect role models to the rest of their team. Overall, each house performed astonishingly well and should be pleased with their efforts. Brilliant teamwork Alpha!
Learning Support Department & Counselling
These past few weeks have been a fantastic and well-informed experience for our students. They have learned about many topics that are necessary for our emotional health, they have been able to develop more social and behavioral skills to face the world with the support of their families and the "The Alpha School" community.Thank you very much to all the students and a special thanks to the family for all their support in all the activities.
It's great to see so many enthusiastic children sharing their drawings, videos, posters, etc. showing us how to fight Covid-19. They have been an example of positivism, joy, patience and great resilience. A big clap to all our little heroes.
Shad Salem in year 4B has been an active and a very positive member of all our counselling/well-being activities. He has shared his picture giving the following message: “Hi, stay home, stay safe and be positive in a sign language”. Children in KS1/KS2 has been introduced to sign language to understand how people with some additional needs communicate in the society and how they can learn more about this language to be able to communicate with them. Our students understand the importance of the Inclusion.
In our topic of bullying and cyber bullying, our students have received training on these topics. Our children have learned the types and signs of bullying and cyber bullying, how to protect themselves, who they should approach to or report an incident to if they face it. Our students have demonstrated responsible use of their devices during their live classes and on our educational platform: Seesaw and ClassDojo.
In our multiple activities of counselling and well-being, we have learned about Optical Illusions. Our students have been very enthusiastic and curious about these images. Our students have been discovering that these images can use colours, lights and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains because some people can see different things and other group of people can see the same images. What can you see, a rabbit or a duck?
Art Helps Students Understand the World Around Them and Their Place in It.
Art therapists who encourage young people to use artistic methods and mediums as a way of expressing their emotions explain that art allows children to process their world and deal with difficult, sometimes negative emotions, safely.
In the lock-down, students undertook and were involved in a combination of games, creativity and learning about different artists.
They have collected different objects from their homes to form a colour wheel and turned ordinary objects with their drawings and imagination into something different.
Also, they formed their names with different colours of materials, and we learned to practice shadow drawing by using lights.
They played a game called (Roll a dice) to draw a Picasso Portrait, Keith Haring figures and Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers, also made masks with the style of the artists Romero Britto and Saul Steinberg.
It was a very different experience going online with the ICT lessons, but our students still managed to continue their learning, complete their work, and also uploaded it on the online learning platforms. The ICT lessons covered a range of apps that gave them an opportunity to learn new IT skills and using the same apps they were able to present what they learned in other subjects. Here are a few examples of some works from our students:
Alee from Y1 used the Keynote app to compile and share some information about the U.A.E; and Eva from Y1 also used the same app to share her first-time experience at the beach. Artemis, from Y4, explained 'Social distancing' by coding the act using Scratch Jr; Nada, and Eddi creating stories using Scratch Jr.; Mayar created an eBook using the Keynote App and narrated her story using an audio recording. Also, Maya coded the Blue-Bot to reach the goal by avoiding the obstacles. We also saw Neil and Vivaan sharing their understanding of working with spreadsheets using the Numbers app, in which they learned how to arrange data and calculate numerical data. They also created Pie charts.
Most students do not have instruments, but it did not stop our students from continuing their learning using the iPad. Our students were still able to read music notes, perform it on GarageBand, and some even managed to practice the same notes on their instruments. They also learned how to record music in GarageBand and iMovie.
Arosha, from Y4, recorded the song "flames" using Karaoke; Johanne, from Y3, recorded herself in iMovie while singing "dance monkey"; Malek, from Y4, used the GarageBand loops to create his own soundtrack. Also Shad, from Y4, played music exercises using GarageBand. Neil, from Y5, played a beautiful piece of music on his Keyboard and Rahaf played the beautiful song "Faded" on her keyboard.
It has been a successful year in terms of PE for Alpha. Sports Day was epic! Even though the rain tried to dampen the occasion, it showed how positive and resistant we are at Alpha, making it our highlight of the year. Although we ended the year online, Alpha has continued to promote health and fitness through physical activity at home. From performing yoga to making dens, the children have continued to learn a wide variety of skills in PE, showing excellent commitment and passion in lessons.