Panther Voices

December 2018 - Official Elementary Newsletter GEMS United School

Aroma Pannu

From the Principal's Desk

Dear Elementary School community,

It feels like yesterday that we were talking about the start of the school and here we are already at the end of the term and the year. Over the past few days our community has been engaged in celebrating the learning that has taken place these past few months. What I observed repeatedly was how much we have grown as a community of writers, readers, social activists, digital creators, mathematicians, scientists and performers. We have grown in how we collaborate. In how we think creatively and problem solve. We have grown in our ability to be empathetic and compassionate to both ourselves and others. We have grown as communicators building skills to see the world in new ways and to share that view-point with others. We have grown in our curiosity. We have grown in our desire to reach beyond. Most importantly though we have grown as a team of students, educators, and parents – a team that partners together to learn, grow and be happy.

Our celebrations of learning showcasing classroom learning, our concerts displaying our musical talents, our sports day highlighting our resiliency and perseverance, our field trips extending our learning experiences, our sports tournaments where students proudly represented US …the list goes on…but it is now time to take a break, reflect, and bask in the sunshine while looking ahead to what lies ahead in the new year. So I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a safe and restful winter break. Look forward to seeing you in January 2019.




Congratulations to the KG1A class for winning the "UAE National Day Poster Making Contest"

No School Updates:

December 16th - January 5th, 2019 - Winter Break

Winter break starts from December 16th of 2018 till the 5th of January 2019. Classes resumes on the 6th of January 2019 and it is going to be a B week.

January 08, 2019 (Tuesday) - Professional Development Day

No School on January 8th due to Faculty Professional Development day

Reminders and Upcoming Events:

January 20- 31, 2019 - MAP Testing

January 10, 2019 (Thursday) - KG 1's "From Farm to Fork" onsite Field trip

January 10, 2019 (Thursday)- Popsicle with the Principal for December and January birthday celebrants.

Students with December and January birthdays are invited to pop in for a popsicle on 10th of January, Thursday at 10:20 AM, during the snack time.

GUS Office timings

Please be aware of our office timings over the winter. Offices including Accounts will be open from 8:00AM to 3:00PM.

Reminder from the Admissions Office

Are you relocating? If so, please be sure to apply for your Transfer Certificate. We need two weeks to process your request and clearance. For any questions, contact us at or visit our office.

Thank you,

Kambree & Marisse

Attendance: Morning Tardiness

Please ensure your child arrives at school between 8:10 am- 8:25 am with plenty of time to prepare for the learning day. This will help them feel ready and be able to connect with teachers and friends in the morning.

Punctuality shows respect for their fellow classmates and their teachers. Tardiness affects not only the student who is late, but disrupts the entire classroom as well. If your child is late to school in the morning these are being recorded as an unexcused tardy. Students arriving into class after 8:30 a.m. are considered tardy. Tardiness is recorded and appears on the student's academic report card.

Please refer to the parent handbook for more details.

GUS Dress Code for Winter

As the winter weather begins to settle-in, we are seeing more sweaters and jackets being worn at school. We want to keep our students warm and comfortable, but please be mindful of our dress code. Students are to wear the official GEMS US school jackets and sweaters available from Threads. Alternatively, they can wear a solid navy blue jacket or sweater with no writing or emblems visible.

Enjoy the winter!

Lisa Khoury

Parent Relations Executive



ES Panther Way Awardees

3rd Grade students shared their public service announcement videos informing our community about the UN Global Goals - the result of an interdisciplinary project that combined ICT, writing and social studies.

4th Grade Celebration of Learning

On December 12th, fourth graders celebrated the learning that has taken place so far this year. Students shared informational research writing and autobiographies with parents while enjoying holiday treats and festivities. We look forward to a wonderful new year of continued learning and growth. #2019 #newyear #learningisfun

Teachers as Learners

Our teachers got the opportunity to learn and play with a few things our kids do on a regular basis.

Grade 3's Winter Celebration

1st Grade's Winter Celebration

KG2's Winter Celebration


Holiday Stress

Holidays are a time to connect with family, explore new places, and hopefully have some down time to relax and recharge. Holidays can also be a stressful time for some people due to the intensified focus on family, work, and money. Living overseas, we often add travel to the mix and I must admit that making to the airport, checking in, and going through immigration and security can be enough to send me over the edge….and for many of us that is usually the first flight of several. I am getting stressed just thinking about it! For some there may also be emotions related to extended family being far away…perhaps missing out on traditions you grew up with in your home country. Whether you are flying solo, or with family, holiday time overseas can be an emotional rollercoaster.

Interestingly, this added stress is felt more by women. In a recent survey on holiday stress, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that women are more likely than men to report heightened stress levels during the holiday season, and that they're less likely to take time to relax or manage that stress in healthy ways.

APA recommends these tips to help deal with holiday stressors…

Define holiday stress - How do you experience stress? Does that experience change during the holidays? Different people experience stress differently. How do you know when you are stressed?

Identify holiday stressors - What holiday events or situations trigger stressful feelings? Are they related to work, home, relationships or something else?

Recognize how you deal with stress - Determine if you are relying on unhealthy behaviors to manage stress. Is this a behavior you rely on year-round, or is it specific to holiday stress?

Change one behavior at a time - Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Start small and focus on changing one behavior.

Take care of yourself - Taking care of yourself during the holiday season helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with stress. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in holiday activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy. Make sure you get enough rest and sleep.

Ask for support - Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress. Use the holidays as a time to reconnect with friends and family and strengthen your support network. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, then consider seeking counseling help. Counselors are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies to help you manage stress, change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.

Source: The American Psychological Association

Don’t forget about Parent Book Club beginning in January 2019 with Brainstorm, by Dr. Daniel Siegel

Learning Corner

Digital Discussion

It’s Computer Science Week!

From Dec. 3 - 9, 2018, schools all around the world celebrate the field of computer science through the Hour of Code. We often hear about coding and its benefits (see more here), but it may feel a bit inaccessible for those of us with no experience. How do we facilitate learning when we don’t know how to code ourselves? It’s easier than you think! In my experience, students really run with it--pre-readers begin with block-based coding (no words) and move onto block/text-based coding when they are ready. Most sites and apps are incredibly intuitive and move from one level to the next in a logical, step-by-step way.

Some apps and websites I recommend include

Happy coding!

Ms. Tara Frost ICT Teacher

Math Magic

Ms. Nioka Carter

Have a Scientific Holiday

Ms. Rachel Cook

Happy Holidays, Parents. Whether you are spending your time inside or outside this holiday, science is all around us. Completing STEAM activities is a great way to keep the kids entertained while engaging in science and engineering design. Below are a few websites that have great ideas for exploring winter science concepts, to accommodate learners of all ages. No matter the activity you choose, a wintery wonderful time is sure to be had by all.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Literacy Lookout

Cultivating a love of literacy is key to ensuring our children become successful readers who grow both personally and academically from their reading. One way to begin and/or continue supporting our children on this path is by increasing their auditory reading experiences. Listening to reading aloud is one of the most transformational tools researchers have discovered to support a person’s reading development and skills.

The power of read-alouds are tremendous: “Spoken words increase reading accuracy by 52%, and improve comprehension by 76%.”. Increasing the experiences our children have to listen to reading will motivate them when they are reading independently.

So whether you are reading aloud a nighttime story to your child before bed, a recipe while cooking, playing an audiobook or encouraging them to go on RAZ Kids to hear stories out-loud you are helping your child grow as a reader and (more importantly) you are growing their love for reading.


Katrina Hansen

All about New Year's Resolution

New Year's Resolution

A New Year's resolution is a promise a person makes for the new year. Regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year.

"Resolutions can come in many forms. Some people make a promise to change a bad habit, such as eating less junk food and . Other people make a promise to develop a positive habit, such as starting to wake up early to avoid getting late from school or work, spending more time in studying rather than playing computer games, volunteering in their community, or recycling more.

The tradition of New Year's resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome.

Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future.

On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forwarding into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past.

The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead.

And thus the New Year's resolution was born!"

Source: Wonderpolis

Shared by: Marlee Melendres (ES Secretary)

Here are some New Year's resolutions shared by our teachers and students...

MIA LITTLE - “Be polite to others by saying “please”and “thank you”.

RAAMIZ ALVI – “Get good grades in school and be brave.”

TARA FROST– ICT Teacher - “One of my resolutions is to complete one Arabic lesson per week in my self-study book.”

NIOKA CARTER - Grade 3 Teacher - “Drink more water everyday.”

MARLEE MELENDRES- ES Secretary - "Be more focused and organized"

KARMA KJAER – “Take better care of myself”.

DANIEL FISCHER CAMELIER – “Improve my soccer and tennis skills.”

SHASMEEN RASSOOL – “Try to give more to charity, for instance give some of my toys to an orphanage.”

RACHEL COOK - Grade 4 Teacher -“Get and stay more organized on a consistent basis.”

BARRION FANNIN - Grade 4 Teacher - “My resolution for the new year is to renew my voracity for reading. At the very least, READ one book a month.”


  • “Be more polite.”
  • “Be more grateful.”
  • “Always try my best.”
  • “Be a better gymnast.”

MAYDY FARAG – Grade 1 Teacher - “Exercise 3 times a week.”

LAYLA DERBAS – “Eat less candy and be more independent.”


  • “Take good care of my pets.”
  • “Improve my math skills.”
  • “Be responsible for my actions.”

JOSHUA ORTON - “Get good grades and use my time wisely.”

NANCY CYLKE - Special education Teacher - “Stop biting my nails and Meditate daily”

GERARD BROSNAHAN – Grade 5 Teacher -

  • “Learn how to do yoga – especially the downward facing dog .
  • Eat less carbs.”
  • Reduce road rage”.

TERESA SHERWOOD - Grade 3 Teacher - “Practise Arabic 15 minutes a day.”

MUHAMMAD KERAWALLA – “Exercise more.”

SOPHIA AFFAYA – “Improve my French by the end of the year.”


  • “Get good grades.
  • Stay focused.
  • Get better at golf.”

ADRIAN LARSSON – “Become a better listener and be more empathetic to others”.

MIRAL SAYES – “Make more friends.”

BRUNO STORM – “Try not to get distracted in school and improve in Fortnite.”

CARA LIVADARIS – “Spend less time on electronics and more time outside” .

FREDERIKKE MOMME – “Improve my soccer skills and beat my best swimming times”.

CRYSTAL BOSCH - Special education Teacher - “Exercize regularly.”

KATRINA HANSEN – Grade 1 Teacher - “My focus this year is to purposefully practice being present in every moment. Rather than being “mind full” I will work on being more “mindful”.”


Liam Kirwan

Athletic Director


WOW Season 1 is complete and what a way to finish! Last Saturday the 8th of December saw US have 6 teams all competing in various tournaments. Well done to our boys and girls Varsity soccer teams who competed very well in the DASSA 7-a-side tournament and also to our Middle School boys and girls basketball and soccer teams who competed in the DISSC tournaments. On Wednesday Thank you to all our amazing coaches for your dedicated time and efforts in Season 1. We appreciate all you do to help our Panthers Reach Beyond!

Season 1 is now complete, have a look at our Season 1 Round-Up! Well done to all of our Panthers on a very successful Season. Also a massive congratulations to our amazing U14 girls and U11 boys soccer teams who were crowned league champions after both finished their leagues undefeated.

Season 2 will give our students an opportunity to get involved in new sports. In Elementary we will have Swimming, basketball, track and field and also tennis. Please see our Season 2 Panthers Sports Schedule for all of our sports and training days which will start the first week back after the Winter Holidays. Please know that there will be no late buses until ASAs resume in January.

Season Greetings to all of our students, parents and coaches! We wish you all a prosperous new year and our excited to see our Panthers back in action in 2019!

U11 Soccer Team

Aquatics Team

Elementary Soccer Team


Our annual Winter concert was filled with lots of beautiful voices, smiling faces, joyful moments.

We asked Ms. Chin a few questions after the concert. This is what she had to say:

How do you think Elementary looked and sounded overall?

Our singers looked confident, happy and proud!

What improvements from our time in class were seen and heard on stage?

Other than lyrics and choreography, each grade level worked on specific goals to become a better musician and many of those skills improved over the months. Few examples across most classes: pitch accuracy, steady tempo, stage presence, and eye contact with the music director to catch all of the cues. Even cues as simple as bowing at the same time are actions we practice once a week. The most challenging performance that I enjoyed watching growth on was our 5th graders, having to follow the steady tempo and explore how difficult it is to sing and play at the same time.

How did you feel during the concert?

During the concert I was quite proud of how far our students have come and how our relationships have grown from last years winter concert. The energy was vibrant and many students really took ownership of their performance.

How did you feel after the concert?

After the concert, I felt relieved to see everything come out as planned. Each performance will always have a hiccups here or there but our students adjusted well and kept the momentum moving. The best feedback received was tears of joy from our audience members.

What were you really impressed by overall in the concert?

How well our speakers memorized their parts and how each class became a team, helping one another from learning lyrics, dance moves and transitioning on and off stage.

Field Trips

5th Grade Trip

Mr. B and Ms. R

The Grade 5 students had an incredible time on their Eco-venture trip. Team building, challenging ourselves, becoming resilient are big parts of why we take this trip. 33 students, 3 days and 2 nights of jam-packed activities and adventures, tons of sand... We built an extensive knowledge base about camels, wadis, the desert, and the geography of our country, all of which connect back to our social studies curriculum. We also took part in an exploration walk through the desert at night and uncovered different animals and insects -helping our science curriculum come to life. We sang songs at the campfire, ate different meals with new foods, played traditional camp games - all of which opened our minds to new experiences. Attempting the Jacobs Ladder and High Ropes courses helped students be risk-takers. Both students and teachers came back with lots of amazing memories, and lots of sand in our shoes.

3rd Grade's Curiousity Lab

Grade 3 students had an on-site field trip with Curiosity Lab. Students experienced an “Up in the Air” science show hosted by Curiosity Lab. Students learned about three of the major gases in the air: oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. They observed and participated in live science demonstrations about air pressure, density, and cooling. They also got to make their own lava lamps. Our special guests also treated us to a “bonus” hands-on fossil exploration bringing our science curriculum to life for the students.

1st Grade's Trip to Al Ain Zoo

Grade 1 ventured to the Al Ain Zoo where we interacted, observed and learned about a variety of animals. The first graders enjoyed seeing how our learning around animals came to life during our trip as they fed the giraffes, watched an 8-month old hippo dance below water and more.

Shared by: Grade 1 Teachers

Ms. Maydy Farag and Ms. Katrina Hansen

2nd Grade's Visit to ORBI


We ended off the last day of school by soaking up some sun on sports day. It was great to see all the students participate and working hard for their house teams to win. Our kids showed off their talents throughout all the different sports offered, such as soccer, handball, sprinting, high jump, long jump, target & distance throwing and obstacle courses.

Shared by: Simone Van Der Merwe (Grade 5 Teacher)




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