I must say that this week has been possibly the most interesting in my time in education. And while this has forced many changes on us, I have been very pleased to see the way the community responded. Thank you to all those that have helped out in general and those that have opened their doors to students specifically.
In school, this has generated a lot of discussion about how to support students best and looking at online resources with a very fresh set of eyes. We have been supported with best practices learned from the UWC schools that closed before us. While I do not think that online learning can replace the interactions that come from a classroom, we will be trying the best we can to provide a stimulating experience for students at all age levels. This time is an opportunity for teachers to learn about the new digital tools available and develop proficiency. World wide this may in the long run be a benefit to students as those of us from a slightly older generation catch up with kids in the world of digital skills.
Next week is our last week before the holiday so students will have work for this week and then we have the holiday. If the government reopens schools after these 30 days, we will hope to see as many of you as possible on April 20th.
In all of this our hiring for next year still goes on. In some of the upcoming newsletters I will be sharing details about our incoming teachers.
On a side note, as we cannot have parent teacher conferences this week, if you have any questions please email the teacher for an email or skype conference. For those parents that have not logged into ManageBac, please contact Grace for a new login so you are able to follow students progress. In secondary this will be the main device for communication of assignments.
I hope to see all of you soon.
Yesterday was, somewhat ironically, International Day of Happiness. This day is recognised worldwide every year on March 20th. It was founded in 2006 by Jayme Illien, CEO of the United Nations New World Order project, to “advance happiness as a fundamental human right for all human beings.”
The 2020 International Day of Happiness campaign theme is “Happiness For All, Together.” The UN secretariat called on all 206 nations and territories, to take the “Ten Steps to Global Happiness” challenge. These are “ten easy steps any individual, organisation, or country, can take […] to celebrate the international day of happiness, while also advancing the happiness, wellbeing, and freedom of all life on earth.”
Of course, recent global events have shifted our collective focus elsewhere. However, I would like to draw your attention to the first of the steps to global happiness, which is “Tell Everyone!” This is designed to “spread the word” and increase global awareness about the very existence of the international day of happiness and the UN’s unanimous recognition of happiness as a human right.
Wikipedia defines happiness as “positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” At times like this, happiness seems a pretty distant memory. However, over recent days at UWCEA, amidst the farewells, the logistical headaches, the anxiety and the ever changing landscape, I have seen students, teachers and ancillary staff doing everything they can to make the best of a challenging situation, to support each other, to innovate, to communicate, to remain positive and to try their collective best. Being part of this certainly makes me feel happy.
As Ms Deborah wrote in her latest message to her P6 students, “Children and teachers in many countries all over the world are having to find a new way of having classes-we are smart and resourceful and we will make it work for us in our own way.” This too shall pass and as we all charter the unknown waters of remote/distance/home/blended learning, remember that happiness is also contagious. After all, as Walt Whitman said, “Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
While we are still waiting for updates from IB about the May examinations from IB for the D2 students, we are carrying on as normal. All of the early uploads have been done and all the orals have taken place. Internal Assessments are being finalised. Although the Art Exhibition cannot happen the student’s work has been photographed and will be uploaded in the same way as normal.
We are making plans for ways to celebrate the D2‘s final year of school and details of this will be sent soon.
I would like to thank all the parents in the community who are hosting our D2 and D1 students who are unable to get home. Teachers are working hard to set up online learning for students and details can be found here for D1 and here for D2.
From the Counselor
It’s amazing what a difference a week can make, and we know that the current events are impacting each of you in different ways. As you begin to prioritize and settle into the routines you create over this time, we wanted to share some additional resources with you to assist with dealing with the variety of emotions that will occur during this time. We recognize that as families you have been put in a position that you were not expecting, and as you deal with your own emotions, you are also having to support your children in new ways. Please know that we are here to help, and want to provide you with tools to assist you during this challenging time.
University Counselor Note: All D1 and M5 students are now connected to our new college planning platform Maia Learning, which they can log into via their school Google email account. We will be uploading resources and activities throughout the school year. Please encourage your child to check frequently and complete assigned tasks. For our D2 students, college/university decisions are starting to come in, and it’s time to begin making decisions. Many institutions are extending deadlines and making concessions regarding changes occurring globally. Students are encouraged to stay connected to the colleges/universities they have applied to, and be aware of any updates that they need to respond to in a timely manner. Also, there is a HUGE FREE online university fair occurring 20 & 23-24 March that I am strongly encouraging students, and parents, to participate in. There are several events taking place over each day, so please see this link for more information and to register for events you are interested in: https://explore.cialfo.co/webinars
As always, Mr. Kileo (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I (email@example.com) remain available while school is still functioning. We will maintain regular work hours, and recommend you do something similar. This means we will respond in a timely manner during our regular hours.
You only find out how resilient you are when tough times hit! I would like to commend our community for staying positive and calm during these interesting times. I thank all the parents, teachers, leadership and community at large for your cooperation and collaboration. Most of the children’s packs have been sent home, with tasks looking different across the different grades. It is a huge responsibility shifting the learning to your homes but with support, the children will get through. Continue to remain positive and sensitive to the teachers too. It is a sudden shift and a learning curve for most.
Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.
This week Scarlet and Ian went to Mbwa Africa. They walked the dogs and had the opportunity to talk to Esme, the dog trainer, about the difficulties faced by stray animals in the Moshi area. Ivan, Malveer and Manvir visited a local school for the blind and looked at how technology is helping these children – thank you very much Mama Manvir for your help with this trip. It was a reminder for us that some people deal with challenges on a daily basis and how strong and capable human beings are in the face of adversity. The home learning packs were collected by Mums, Dads and drivers on Friday and we are ready to start our new style of learning on Monday. We have reading, writing, maths, art and some P.E. planned. Some children also have Exhibition work that needs to be completed so that we all reach a good point to take a break from it until normal classes resume. Have a good weekend P6 – I’ll see you on Seesaw on Monday!
The P5 took a big step in the realm of technology and got their personal emails this week. They had fun exploring Google Docs and Google Slides. I encourage them to keep playing with Google Slides so they can have fun with it for their upcoming summative. We began our new unit on Sharing the Planet this week as well. The central idea is extreme changes in weather and on our planet affects life on earth, and often needs human intervention and preparation. The first line of inquiry is features of extreme weather, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Followed by the relationship between changing weather patterns and how humans and animals respond. Lastly interventions and preparations to manage extreme weather.
I just saw most of you and sent home the children’s at-home learning kits. Within them you will find their online codes, a packet for learning activities, their first week’s assignments, colored pencils, playing cards for competition, and candy. I hope you all enjoy the sweets, and your children stay sweet with you while learning. I also included a phone number for both you and the children to use if you have questions and need to be in touch. Wishing you all well during this time away from school.
I award you all with a green leaf that says, ” To all P4 parents for being Risk-takers, Caring, Knowledgeable and great Thinkers and immediately switching to the online platform. I would need a whole Primary gathering to share the various qualities you have displayed in these few days. Asante!
Wow! Through the online learning, I have learned more about my students than I have in the previous quarters. I am so impressed by their commitment to make the distance learning mode work.
For next week we will be working on persuasive writing where students will write about a chosen invention’s pros or cons or both. We will also solve problems related to money and review multiplication facts from 6 to 8. I will share the tasks ready for them to start on Monday morning.
Thank you for all of you who came and collected packages from school today. I hope you are able to spend the upcoming week enjoying your time with your families, and hopefully learning something new! I hope I’m able to go home to my family as well, at which point I will post videos onto Seesaw introducing them to you!
Be safe and have a good break.
P 1/2 Class
I think what I missed the most about this week was circle time in the morning. Sharing our home news, feelings and a book before the start of the day always gave us a boost. I am sure that you are all feeling a bit displaced. But if you are reading this newsletter, then you are still strong. Let’s keep our hope strong and our resilience charged.
I am so impressed by the number of students plugging their way online. I can see their scores on Mangahigh, videos on Seesaw and reading books on Epic. I applaud all parents who have taken on this improvised role. Thank you mama Christian for sharing your journey with us in your picture. As a teacher and a mum, I can relate to all the changes we are now making. We can and are doing it and we will do it well!
All the plans for the coming week are set. You will find them on our google classroom site Monday morning. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions. I wish you peace.
I’m so happy that we’ve all come together on SeeSaw this week. It’s going to be a fantastic way for our littlest to stay in touch and feel as ‘normal’ as possible with all that is going on around them.
This is a time for us to reconnect with our families, a chance to take a break from our busy everyday lives and really talk, share and enjoy our time together. It can be a huge opportunity for us, although I know it doesn’t always feel that way. Please remember, if you are feeling stressed about providing home learning, or you see stress in your little ones, take a moment to pause and reflect. Maybe do something else that you both enjoy.
I’m working to design learning that is accessible to you, your youngest children, (and importantly) your home carers.