MIDDLE SCHOOL messages

FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL

January 10, 2019

Dear All,

Happy New Year! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break and are happy to be back. 2019 has kicked off smoothly as students settle back into their classrooms and focus on their semester 1 summative assessments. With our annual KHDA inspection, gradebook updates, report card preparation, and the beginning of another MAP testing window, the upcoming month is a time for our teachers to review and reflect on your child's attainment and progress. We look forward to a new season of after school activities, MESAC sports, and the MS winter concert that we hope you will all be able to attend on January 28th in the Auditorium. As always, your feedback is welcomed and important as we plan for Semester 2, please make yourself known to the MS Secretary Mrs. Sarah Hole (s.hole_daa@gemsedu.com) if you wish to make an appointment to meet with any of our Middle School Administration team.

learning highlights & Celebrations

Moral Education - Character and Morality

This week students have been learning about thoughts and emotions. Throughout this unit students will explore the importance of emotional knowledge and develop an awareness of how their emotions affect their decisions and thus their daily life. Students will develop the skill of making decisions in a well-thought out manner instead of reacting to their intense adolescent emotions.

KHDA Inspection - On Wednesday of this week KHDA inspectors came to observe DAA’s Moral Education program. This visit was extremely positive and we wanted to share with you some of the areas of strength:

  • Our Moral Education curriculum is well mapped out and comprehensive.
  • Our integrated approach is effective and makes the lessons more meaningful for the students.
  • The use of practical applications to the moral education standards makes for very engaged students.

We will continue to add value to our existing program, which is integrated throughout the MS Curriculum, and monitor the positive impact it is having on the social and emotional development of our students.

Innovation - Sustainable Community

Middle School student Syed Ali selected solar energy to improve a sustainable community for his Transformation & Discovery (T&D) project. During the unit of inquiry, Syed researched ways that homes, businesses, farmlands and government buildings could benefit from switching to solar energy. His project was selected to help represent the Middle School program for the Global Innovation Challenge where students from across GEMS share technological solutions for global issues. We look forward to seeing Syed and other Middle School students help develop more future solutions. Well done Syed!

Swimming

Just a reminder that Swimming will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of week during all Middle School Physical Education Classes. Students will swim during their regular PE class on the following dates: January 16/17, 30/31, February 6/7, 20/21 ( reminder - swimming kit is mandatory)

Basketball

Middle school boys and girls will plan in a home basketball game on January 13th against ACS at 3:45. We encourage all parents and students to come out and support our teams!

Physical Education

The PE Department have started new units at each grade level. Grade 6 are active in Sports Education. To further develop their movement skills and build good sportsmanship, students have taken on roles such as Head Coach, Fitness Trainer, Media Specialist and referee.

Grade 7 have started their Cricket unit. They have had an introduction to small sided games that focus on developing batting and bowling skills. Additionally, they have been gathering video evidence on their prior knowledge of batting and bowling, which they will use at the end of the unit to analyze progression.

Grade 8 have started their Invasion Games unit. It will run for the next 5 weeks and will focus on small games and sports that work on teamwork and movement into space. They are being asked to anticipate plays and move into open spaces to maximize their chances of receiving a pass.

Drama

Grade 6 Drama students have been undertaking an inquiry into the genre of mime. Student’s summative assessment for this unit required them to create a short performance in which the setting, characters, conflict and resolution were clearly displayed using just mime techniques such as facial expressions, hand gestures, body language and positioning. Today our two drama classes were fortunate enough to perform in front of the entire grade at a special assembly this morning. It was fantastic to have our students perform in front of their peers and for the entire grade to support the Arts the way they did. Thank you also to the parents who came in to support their children who performed today. Please see some of the photos from the performances below.

Design & Technology

The Grade 8 class students are working on our Animation unit. The students identified a problem and they will work for the next few weeks to create a solution to that problem.

Here is what Mert, Cooper and Ethan's plan is:

"The problem in DAA is that not enough people play tennis. People who would like to play tennis would constantly have to play against the same people and it would quickly get boring. If this problem is solved, the school will be better for lots of people (including the people who already play tennis). Also, if this problem is solved, children will spend less time in the cafeteria and more time outside because they will be at the tennis court instead. Also, it has been proven by studies that tennis makes you healthier and people who tend to play tennis usually live longer.

We will make an animation showing how fun tennis is to play and how enjoyable and entertaining it can be. This video will inspire the people to play tennis so that the school can be more enjoyable for all of us."

Updates

Color House Points

The Increase of Vaping

Similar to many other schools, incidents associated with vaping have surfaced in the Middle School. The purpose of this message is to inform parents of the issue, provide tools for parents who think their child might be involved, as well as inform parents of DAA’s policy and possible consequences for students who involve themselves in the possession, buying, selling or use of vape on school property. As research explains the negative health effects vaping can have on our students, and as it is our top priority to ensure all students are safe at our school, we want parents and students to know we are taking this issue very seriously.

For those of you who are not familiar with vape or vape products, vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor produced by an electronic vaporizer or e-cigarette. Vaporizers come in many different shapes and sizes and contain flavoured liquids, named vape juices, containing nicotine. These liquids come in a ray of smells such as cinnamon, marshmallow, bubblegum, lemonade and cookies. Examples of vape juices and tools can be seen below:

Research tells us that nicotine is an addictive drug and can harm brain development, which continues until about the age of 25. In addition, we know that nicotine may make it harder for students to concentrate on school related tasks such as learning.

In conversations with students it seems that they are unaware of the harmful effects that vaping can have on their body, nor the harsh consequences they will face if they are caught with vape juice or tools on the DAA school campus. At DAA, the possession, use, sale or distribution of tobacco and any vaping devices is prohibited and will result in suspension. Repeated offenses will result in expulsion.

Linked below are two helpful resources that parents can use to talk to their child about vaping. The Surgeon General’s 2016 report speaks about e-cigarette use and the ‘Teens and E-Cigarettes’ document is a fact and parent tip sheet. If you believe your child may have already developed an addiction to nicotine, we suggest you reach out to your health care provider.

Surgeon General’s 2016 Report https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/e-cigarettes/index.htm

Teens and E-Cigarettes

https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/file/file/nida-ecig_infographic2016.pdf

In a continual effort to educate our students to make smart choices and take care of their bodies, we will hold a special assembly next week to inform students of the health dangers and consequences associated with substance abuse.

We hope this informative information has helped you better understand our current concerns about this potentially harmful issue and appreciate your continued support as we work together to help our students make positive decisions for themselves and the Middle School Community.

Being Internet Awesome!

Being responsible and making good decisions online through social media apps is something students need to learn with support from home and school. This Thursday we met with our Grade 6 students to discuss how they should protect themselves on social media, what the short and longer-term risks of using social media are, how digital media can be used negatively and what the UAE rules are on posting online. We know parenting today's tech savvy kids can seem overwhelming. But you can do it! Take these seven simple, though still challenging steps, to becoming a good digital parent linked HERE.

After School Activities

MS ASA’s Cycle 2 Begin January 20th

It is time to sign up for our second cycle of MS ASAs! The DAA Middle School After School Activities Program (ASA) is an optional program. It is an extracurricular program designed for students in grades 6 through 8, and is meant to allow students the opportunity to explore ‘fun’ experiences that otherwise may not be available to them.

The MS ASAs run on two 6 week cycles, the second commencing the week of January 20th. The ASAs run for one hour after school, although some may be offered at lunch time. MS students may register for up to three MS ASAs. Please choose carefully as full attendance is expected (choose ASAs which the student is committed to attend so a spot is not taken from another student). ASA teachers will be taking attendance.

Click HERE for the schedule of Middle School Internal ASAs. Online registrations open on Sunday January 13th through www.schoolbookings.net using the following code: 7srxk.

Staffing Updates:

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Lisa Hewitt as Middle School Principal. We were fortunate to meet Lisa at the Bangkok Leadership Search Fair, as she was investigating for 2019-2020 positions. She will be joining us next month on February 3rd. If you have not had an opportunity to read the Superintendent's Letter to Middle School families regarding Lisa's appointment which was sent out this week, please see Mrs. Tammy Murphy's letter HERE.

We also welcome Mr. Jody Harris to our Grade 8 Mathematics team, who will be replacing Mrs. Heather O’donnell who was unable to return to DAA after the winter break.

Last but not least, we welcome Joumana Al Beesh who has stepped in to teach Mr. Mohamed Alhaq’s classes who was also unable to return after winter break

We welcome Lisa, Jody and Joumana to our Middle School family and thank them for their dedication and commitment to DAA.

DAAPA

DRAMA

The Fine Arts team have a BIG announcement.....This year the MS/HS musical production is 'Big The Musical'

The classic 1987 motion picture fantasy bursts onto the stage in the unforgettable theatrical experience, Big The Musical. Featuring a witty, moving and insightful book by John Weidman and a dazzling, energetic, heartfelt, contemporary score by David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr.

Middle and High school students interested in being part of the CAST for this year's production please see the below flyer for audition information.

Dates to remember:

January 20th - Cycle 2 ASAs begin

January 20-24 - KHDA Inspection

January 27th - MAP testing begins

  • - Great kindness challenge week begins

January 28th - MS Winter Concert

January 30th - MESAC Season 2 sports begins

January 31st - Last day of Semester 1

February 3rd - First day of Semester 2

February 4th - MS Candy Gram Sales

February 12th - Teacher Professional Learning Day - no students at school

February 14th - MS Sports Day

February 17th - Report cards are emailed out to parents

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Regards,

Aimee Fleming, Scott MacDonald and Tammy Murphy


key contacts

Middle School Secretary: Sara Hole s.hole_daa@gemsedu.com / 04 704 9722

Middle School Attendance: Helen Eleftheriou h.eleftheriou_daa@gemsedu.com 04 704 9728