November 20, 2021

Dear Elementary Families,

This week we held our Elementary/DAAPA Coffee Morning where Ms. Frost, our Innovation Activator, shared some insights in our work with ed-tech and digital citizenship. We also were honored to have author/illustrator Mr. Dan Santat, join us for an author visit on Wednesday where he thoroughly engaged and inspired our students and reinforced the joy of reading. 

This week Mrs. Salameh, our Elementary Principal, will share with you some insights about numeracy learning in elementary.

Thank you for your continued support and have a great weekend.

Craig Cantlie

Executive Principal, Elementary

Numeracy Learning in elementary

Dear Elementary Families,

In the Elementary School, our mission is to inspire mathematics success for all students through a growth mindset and innovative teaching. The term "Growth Mindset" comes from the groundbreaking work of Carol Dweck. She identified that everyone holds ideas about their own potential. Some people believe that their intelligence is more or less fixed and in math - that you can do math or you can't. About 40% of students have these damaging "fixed mindset" ideas. Another 40 % have a "growth mindset" - they believe that they can learn anything and that their intelligence can grow. The other 20% waver between the two mindsets.

Students with a fixed mindset are those who are more likely to give up easily, whereas students with a growth mindset are those who keep going even when work is hard, and who are persistent. It is possible to change mindsets, and that’s at the heart of our mission at DAA Elementary. 

Our numeracy program and approaches aim at having students develop their conceptual and foundational numeracy skills through scaffolding and a consistent balanced numeracy program that emphasizes conceptual understanding, math facts and real-world learning. They engage in rich, open, visual and creative tasks and use their intuition, thinking, and learned strategies to address mathematical concepts and problems. 

Our instruction is based on the Common Core State Standards numeracy outcomes and  Eureka Math is used as a resource for planning and instruction. With a focus on developing students’ conceptual understanding, teachers work to ensure that students understand why the math they are learning works as it does. This approach differs greatly from past instruction where students were made to memorize math facts and formulas without understanding the ‘big ideas’ or concepts. 

In referencing Dr. Jo Boaler’s works, a British education author and Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, we are looking to push beyond an “answer” and to develop a thinking process that continues to grow through the Elementary School and is flexible and applicable to other subject areas. We at DAA are looking to talk about numeracy in a way that we can reflect on, question and challenge ourselves and our students.

For the past two years, we have been growing in our own learning journey to best address our dynamic and diverse DAA community. We have been using research and the internal DAA talent to forge a path that continues to lay a solid foundation of learning while being innovative in the classroom and looking towards best practices worldwide.

Nathalie Salameh

Elementary Principal

Coffee Morning

We would like to provide you with the recorded coffee morning (this needs to be viewed through a gemseducation account accessed via your child’s iPad) as well as the slides should you wish to take a look at what was shared.

Tweets from our author visit with dan santat

KG1 Learning

Things got bright as messy as our KG1 students dived into Numeracy by exploring primary colors

KG2 Learning

Students of KG2FP have been Researchers, Communicators and Inquirers researching about different life cycles of living things of their choice. Children drew their life cycles and labeled it. They were able to talk about the life cycle using the right vocabulary. They also conducted an experiment where they planted beans in soil, rocks and sand. The children made predictions and observations on how the beans would grow in different mediums. They also had the opportunity to plant their own beans step by step in the outdoors. They were really excited to see their bean plants grow. 

In numeracy, the students went on a shape hunt and enjoyed finding shapes around the school. They have been building different structures using different shapes and talking about differences and similarities of shapes. The class has also been using the outdoor space for writing and explorations. They celebrated their friend’s birthday (celebration of life) in an authentic way, (The child carries the earth (globe) and walks around the sun once for each year of his life). They were so excited to wear sporty clothes and do some exercises in class to remain fit.

There were a lot of things going on in KG2 SV the past few weeks. 

In Literacy students applied their segmenting skills to read and write CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, learned new sight words, wrote a small moment story or a personal narrative recalling loosely linked events , demonstrated their understanding of the writing process (organization, transition, details, punctuation and editing), and read books while trying to decode bigger words by touching every word we read, and sounding out letters. 

During Numeracy the focus was on 2D shapes (Naming it in different orientations and sizes, and sorting and classifying it into different categories). They practiced making numbers smaller by taking one away (one less in numbers 0-10, and higher if they were ready). 

Within Inquiry they tracked the growth of seeds and were excited to take them home to plant in soil (discovering how living things change as they grow). The students looked into life cycles. They also conducted their independent research based on their favorite living thing, which will continue next week. We celebrated the Dubai 30 x 30 challenge by dressing up and doing some exercises.


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key contacts

Should your child(ren) need to be away from school due to illness or appointments, please contact our School Secretaries.

KG1 - Grade 2: Shirley Vas  s.vas_daa@gemsedu.com / 04 704 9705

Grades 3-5: Rene Botha  r.botha1_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704  9724

General Elementary Inquiries:  elementary_daa@gemsedu.com

Craig Cantlie 

Executive Principal of Elementary (K - Grade 5)c.cantlie_daa@gemsedu.com

Nathalie Salemeh   

Elementary Principal, Grades 4 and 5n.salameh_daa@gemsedu.com

Noha Bishara              

Assistant Elementary Principal, Grades 2 and 3n.bishara_daa@gemsedu.com

Tooshna Gandhi          

Assistant Elementary Principal, KG1, KG2 and Grade 1t.gandhi_daa@gemsedu.com