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Letter to Parents - E - Learning

Dear parents,


Greetings to you all.


We hope you had a generally peaceful period free of school despite the worrying times. To my knowledge, no one in the school community is currently ill or infected with Covid-19. The student from Class 11 is doing very well. The school has been thoroughly disinfected by special ADEK staff (deep cleaning) and is now accessible to the staff again. Now we are happy that through the lessons a piece of normality returns, even if this teaching as "distance learning" will be new for many.


While the "new" is at first unfamiliar to everyone involved, this phase of learning via digital media also offers a great opportunity in reverse. Digitalisation is advancing rapidly in all areas of life. In many professions, work is already largely digital.


With the digital skills that your children and the school community will develop in the coming weeks, the digital world - and not least the world of work later on - can certainly be better mastered.


From Sunday, 22.3.20, distance learning will now begin for all pupils. As announced, here are some more details.


According to the age and maturity of the children, we have formed three groups that work with different tools.


A. Primary school class 4 and secondary school classes 5 to 12.

B. Primary School Classes 1 to 3

C. Kindergarten


A note on school materials: Any books and materials still in the school can be collected by parents from Tuesday 24.3.20 at the school. For the first phase of distance learning, no additional materials or textbooks are needed, the colleagues will provide all necessary documents digitally. From 29.3.20 the materials will be needed. Details about picking up the materials will be given to you by the secretary's office at the beginning of the following week.


Please scroll down to get the specific information for your group. We have decided that all parents will receive all information in order to be as transparent as possible. This of course makes the letter longer, please excuse this. GISAD March 19, 2020


Group A. Primary school class 4 and secondary school classes 5 to 12.


On Sunday at 8 am the e-learning phase via the online platform Microsoft Teams starts at our school. Sunday is used for guided exploration of the online environment. For this purpose, the pupils from grade 4 onwards will receive a work assignment via the platform, through which they will get to know and use the tools in the environment that they will frequently need in the coming e-learning phase. This work order includes, in particular, viewing, editing and submitting tasks in different ways (general workflow), self-organisation and the presentation of communication possibilities with fellow students and teachers. Siblings are welcome to work together and support each other on Sunday, but each student should do the work assignments themselves.


At the same time, the teachers will make joint arrangements and further preparations in a joint online teachers' meeting. At the end of the morning, a meeting of teachers and students is planned for 1 pm in the form of video conferences, in which further questions can be recorded and clarified. More details will follow in the work order for the students themselves.


Please help to ensure that your child(ren) is logged in to MS Teams and his or her class on Sunday, 22.3.20 at 8 am on a digital end-user device (computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone). Participation is possible at www.office.com (choose the App Teams there), the Desktop App Teams or the iOS/Android App Teams and has already been discussed and carried out with most of the classes in school. It has proven to be helpful to have headphones with a built-in microphone at hand, as this helps to suppress ambient noise during a conference. (Such headphones are usually included with smartphones).


Does my child have to have a laptop all the time?


By using the iOS/Android app teams, not every child needs to have access to a laptop at all times. The app on the smartphone works great and offers the same range of features. Also, it is not intended that students work online exclusively and all the time, so they could take turns on the laptop.


Of course, communication works digitally via MS Teams, but a work assignment, e.g. writing an essay or solving a math problem, can still be done on a piece of paper. A photo of the completed work can be taken with the smartphone and can be easily sent to the teacher within MS Teams.


Missing accounts / technical support with accounts


We assume that all children in grades 1 to 12 have an account vorname.nachname@gisad.ae. If your child does not yet has an account or needs other help, please contact Mrs. Klietsch (nina.klietsch@gisad.ae) before Sunday.


Today or from Sunday on IT questions can also be clarified with Mr. Carlo Riviera at it@gisad.ae or 056 458 8500. Mr. Riviera speaks English.


Procedure from Monday for classes 4 to 12


From Monday, 23.3.20, the regular e-learning phase begins, which is based on the applicable timetable for Ramadan (see appendix). Although students have been given assignments in advance, teachers will be available for live chats and other support during the scheduled class time in the respective team room. Students also have the opportunity to work on the assignments at other times as long as they are submitted on time.


By following the regular timetable, students can have a structured day, maintain the daily rhythm for this transition period and at the same time support class collaboration (collaborative learning). ADEK calls for a form of attendance control by the school. This will be done by means of digital morning check-in, as practiced on Sunday.


We start with the Ramadan timetable to give the students more time for individual learning and working in the afternoon and at the same time to ensure consultation and exchange among each other and with the teachers in the morning. Here we will gain experience and evaluate this approach. ADEK has given us the green light for this.


Etiquette


Appropriate, respectful and polite interaction with one another in accordance with our mission statement is a matter of pride for us in chat and on the learning platform as a whole, as well as in school. Please make sure you wear appropriate clothing (e.g. no bathing clothes) during video conferences. If you do not wish your child to participate in a video conference, please do not release the camera (simply deny the corresponding request of the program). In terms of data protection, we as a German school are subject to the regulations of the host country, i.e. the UAE, and therefore have no legal restrictions on the use of MS Teams. ADEK recommends MS Teams for use in schools and universities, among other environments.


Class tests / examinations


In the first two weeks of distance learning, no class tests or exams are written. Pupils should be prepared for the fact that class tests and exams which, according to the old planning, would have been written during the period of the earlier holidays or the subsequent e-learning phase, will have to be taken immediately afterwards (from April 5th) on a cumulative basis. We will find ways to relieve the burden during this phase.


Since nobody can currently assess the further development worldwide, there is a certain probability that the school closure will extend over an even longer period of time. There is currently NO CURRENT NOTICE about this, nor is there an official announcement about it.


Should it come to that, the above procedure can be extended to a certain extent. From a certain point on we will have to think about alternative approaches. There are already models and proposals for this, which we would coordinate closely with the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK = highest German school committee). We will then inform you immediately.


Grading


The KMK has confirmed that distance learning may replace regular classes. This recognition is a great advantage, as all certificates and diplomas are still fully recognised, but it also means that distance learning must be taken seriously by the students and that individual performance is evaluated.


Based on the evaluation of the first week and possible new information about the duration of the elearning phase, we will inform you in more detail about evaluation criteria and performance assessment during this period later on.


DaF


DaF lessons and DFU-Förderunterricht are continued just like any other lessons with work assignments, feedback and advice.


Individual tutoring through language support (Sprachbegleitung, Hausaufgabenbetreuung):


In the first week we want to test the following model for language support from grade 5 onwards and for homework support “Hausaufgabenbetreuung” in primary school:


Students who want extra advice on German or have questions can contact the colleagues from the Language Support Unit with their questions according to the enclosed timetable of the Language Support Unit. They look up the timetable of the Language Support Service to see which colleague is available at that time and contact this teacher via chat, video conference etc. within the team environment. This means that the students can contact a teacher of the Language Support Service at any time during the designated hours, regardless of which class they are in.


If this model proves successful, we will maintain it, or otherwise improve it from week two. Getting to know MS teams better If you as a parent want to get to know MS teams better, I recommend the following link from Microsoft:


https://support.office.com/en-us/article/distance-learning-with-office-365-guidance-for-parentsand-guardians-89d514f9-bf5e-4374-a731-a75d38ddd588?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US


Technical questions can also be clarified today or from Sunday with Mr. Carlo Riviera at it@gisad.ae or 056 458 8500. Mr. Riviera speaks English.


Group B. Primary school classes 1 to 3


All parents of classes 1 to 3 were asked to unlock the e-mail received from the class teacher. Thank you very much for your support.


Your child will be sent the first assignments by the class teacher on Sunday. For this and for the tasks of the following days all necessary materials will be provided online. School materials remaining in the school are not needed for the time being.


Class teacher assignments in the core subjects German and Mathematics must always be completed and submitted by the following day.


Also in the lower classes we will follow the regular timetable from Monday onwards. The class teacher or subject teacher will be available online according to their teaching hours. In addition, the class teacher will also be available online for questions during the first week from 4 to 6 pm.


In years 1 and 2 we will teach the following subjects: Basic classes (German, Mathematics, Science, Music), Art, DaF and Arabic.


In year 3, as in year 4, all subjects will be taught. The same conditions for grading apply as already mentioned in I Secondary School.


Group C. Kindergarten


In kindergarten, the parents of the children will play an important role in learning. We are aware that many parents are working or have to support several children. Therefore we have tried to make distance learning more flexible in terms of time than in the senior classes. The parents will receive weekly assignments from all learning fields for their children via e-mail. These tasks consist of media, worksheets, game instructions, DaF, preschool, etc. and include a realistic amount of new knowledge that we could cover with their child in one week. Together with your child you should complete the tasks within a week.


We do not want to put unnecessary pressure on the children during this sensitive time, so we refrain from homework in kindergarten that you are supposed to submit to the teachers. However, we are very happy to receive pictures of your children completing the tasks. Our teachers are available during the regular core working hours of the kindergarten (8 - 15 o'clock) to answer your questions, provide assistance or other concerns by e-mail. If you are looking for a personal conversation with the teachers, you will certainly find the possibility for a telephone call. You as parents can also support each other during the e-learning phase. Most of you will already be using a parent chat group in WhatsApp. Here it can be helpful to exchange information about the tasks.


Please do not hesitate to contact the colleagues and the school management with questions. The first point of contact is always the class leadership.


We also want to continue to maintain our FAQ list: https://www.gisad-school.com/blog Password: GISAD I wish you a nice weekend and your children a good start on Sunday! Please stay healthy!


With kind regards


Andreas Rothfritz


Principal

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