Panther Voices

May 2019 - Official Elementary Newsletter GEMS United School

From the Principal's Desk

Dear Elementary Families,

Welcome to the May edition of Panther Voices and a glimpse into the engaging learning experiences our young Panthers have been participating in.

As an educator I always equate the month of May to being like November - a month in which one starts to think about the fact that the end of the year is not too far away and with that ending on the horizon, one starts to take stock, reflect and celebrate all we have achieved together, while also looking ahead to begin building for the future.

That is where the Elementary team is now- our students have grown tremendously and are ready to showcase their learning in various ways both in class (assessments/MAP testing/celebrations of learning) and outside of the classroom (music concert/film festival/field trips). Our teachers are busy ensuring that gaps are closed and students are inspired and challenged to reach beyond over the final stretch. Collectively we are looking at how we will celebrate our many successes, while planning ways in which we will continue to grow in the 2019/2020 school year.

We plan on having rich and meaningful learning experiences right to the end of the school year and will continue to keep you informed through newsletters, emails and SeeSaw messages.

Enjoy scrolling through the latest edition of Panther Voices!


Ms. Aroma

Upcoming Events

Ramadan Community Sports Event

We would like to invite all parents, staff and HS students to play a friendly game of soccer, shoot some hoops or walk/run on the track on May 21st - Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 pm across the street at our GUS sports facilities.

Elementary Summer Music Concert

Mark your calendars. Our Elementary Music Concert will be held on Wednesday 12th of June - in the Gems US Auditorium.

The timings are

9:00 - 10:00 Pre-K - Grade 2

10:15 - 11:30 Grades 3-5

Eid Al Fitr Holiday

School will be closed for the Eid Al Fitr holiday as per the announcement of the UAE Government.

Elementary MAP Testing

(May 19-30)

In the last two weeks of May, students will be taking their spring round of MAP tests. These assessments provide a snapshot of each child’s learning in Reading, Language Usage, Mathematics, and Science. The resulting data serve as indicators of growth and identifies areas of focus to support the learning and achievement of each student.

As the MAP tests are aligned with our adopted standards, the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, this gives us an external reference of learners’ level of proficiency with our curriculum. Teachers use their class information to help determine tasks and resources that are appropriately challenging for their students. Content and skills can be targeted to personalize each child’s experience, as well as provide differentiated learning opportunities in the classroom.

Again, as this measure is a snapshot of learning, students do not need to prepare for the MAP tests. Just like any other school day, students should come to GEMS US well rested and ready to do their best. To avoid any technical difficulties, it would be beneficial for students to charge their laptops the night before, as well as pack their charger for school the next day so their laptop is fully functioning during testing.

For more information and resources for parents, download the Parent Toolkit on the NWEA website.

Katie Matthias-Fandre

Director of Data and Assessment

Caught on Camera

Look What We Are Learning

KG2A's Kinder Garden

Students in KG2A used their last crop of tomatoes to make salsa for their snack. The whole class worked together throughout the year to care for the garden. This project was undertaken as part of our Year Of Zayed initiative to help children learn about the environment and sustainability. This project also ties in with the How to writing unit in Kindergarten Literacy. #sustainability #YOZ

KG2B's Mystery Reader

Ms. Wood was a mystery reader and shared her new book “A Treasure Box of Choices” with the KG2B students. This is an excellent book to help children learn that they have the power to make good choices. It explains many different ways to respond to different situations in a typical day at school. We have been developing conflict resolution skills and after reading the book together, students played a game to identify situations where they can make positive choices. Now all students know, “The choice is up to me!” #YearOfTolerance

5th Grade exploring the art of debating during their Opinion/Argumentative writing unit.

Tuesday Ramadan Community Sports Event was a resounding success. Thank you for coming out to Join US!

Elementary- Secondary Partnerships: In Arabic class our secondary students came to read with our Elementary students.


Shared by:

Doaa Abdel Aziz.

Arabic B Teacher

What is RAMADAN?

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is an Arabic word that comes from the Arabic word ‘Al Ramad’, which means intense heat and the dryness that follows. The word reflects the hardship felt by those fasting, as well as the burning off, as it were, of sins.

Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of Islam. Adults who are able to fast are required to avoid all food and drink from dawn to sunset for the month.

Why Muslims Fast During Ramadan?

Fasting redirects the heart away from distractions, with its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from impurities. Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy for those less fortunate. It encourages generosity and charity.

Rules of fasting

The basic rule is no food or drink of any kind from dawn to sunset.

Muslims who are sick or travelling are exempted from observing the fast. They do however have to make up the days they missed, which can be done any time before the next Ramadan begins.

Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding or menstruating are also exempted from the fast. They must also make up for the missed days at another time.

The missed days of fasting to be made up don’t have to be consecutive; they can be separated by break days in between the days to be fasted.

There are other things that technically don’t break the fast but “spoil” or taint it, detracting from the spiritual reward. For example, cursing, lying, backbiting or quarrelling is even more emphatically forbidden during Ramadan.

Contrary to what many people think, some things do not break the fast. Using eye-drops or perfume, applying skin lotion, or brushing the teeth are some habits that have no effect on the fast.

In fact, using the traditional toothbrush — the miswak, made from the twig of the siwak tree — is highly recommended. But care must be taken to not swallow anything while brushing the teeth.

Suhoor and Iftar

Breakfast will become ‘start-fast’, as worshipers rise before dawn to have the suhoor meal that will carry them through hunger and thirst through the day.

The sunset meal that draws the fast to a close. Many will visit mosques, where anonymous donors and well-known establishments sponsor huge community iftar meals. No money is taken from guests, and all are welcome.

Taraweeh or Ramadan Night Prayer

During Ramadan, Muslims pray every night for 30 days, reciting different chapters each day until the Quran is completed by Eid Al Fitr. This is called the Taraweehprayer, which is recited after Isha prayers mid-evening.

The Eid after Ramadan?

Ramadan ends after 29 or 30 days. Eid Al Fitr is the annual three-day celebration after the last day of Ramadan and it is also called as the "Festival of Breaking the Fast", it is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast.

Counselor Corner

At GEMS US we care about values education and seek to encourage our students to grow and develop in their personal and interpersonal qualities. We also value our partnership with parents: children learn best when there is close collaboration between home and school. We thank you for your continued support and the regular close contact we have between home and school.

At GEMS US we see acts of Kindness daily at school as our students demonstrate the Panther Way! Take Care of Others and Take Care of This Place. The value of kindness begins at home and we are excited to recognize the respectful, empathetic, helpful and compassionate acts that our kids show towards their family members and friends outside of school.

Our GEMS US Jewels of Kindness initiative begins next week and we are reaching out to parents for support. Please let us know when your child demonstrates an act of kindness at home. Maybe they cleaned up their room without being asked, gave a compliment to someone, or perhaps they just gave you a big hug and said they love you. Our children demonstrate kindness each day and we would like to recognize and reinforce this important family value.

How has your son or daughter shown empathy, compassion, respect or helpfulness? Please send your “Jewels of Kindness” to Ms. Aroma @ We will recognize each student’s special achievement through our ES Newsletter, on our ES Happiness Tree, and with a special “Jewels of Kindness” certificate.

Together we are GEMS United School and we thank you for your continued support!

Home-School Partnership:

Ways to support your child at home

ICT Challenges

Shared by: Tara Frost

“This term ICT is all about innovative design challenges and robotics! Each grade level from Grades 1-5 is presented with a design challenge that they have to solve with a partner or small group. In Grades 1 and 2, students are designing a 50-100 cm Ozobot track that will get the small robot to the finish line as fast as possible. In Grade 3, students are designing a bridge (about 100 cm in length) that will support the Sphero as it drives from one side to the other. In Grades 4 and 5, students are designing a Sphero chariot that will circle a small track three times as fast as possible (and without falling apart!).

All of these challenges allow students to work through the design process and collaborate with one another. The World Economic Forum reports that we need the following skills to thrive in 2020: complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgement and decision-making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. These design challenges encourage students to practice nearly all of these skills! Please visit Seesaw to see their design process and finished products that will be posted over the next few weeks.”

EASY Summer Learning tips

Shared by: Nioka Carter

From the Library

Shared by: Ms. Tracie Landry

Elementary Sports


Congratulations to our Elementary Basketball Panthers on the completion of a fun and successful Basketball season. One of our teams scored 3-0-1 to win their bracket against the Deira International School while our second division team scored 2-1-1 to finish second in their bracket. Congratulations Panthers. Our Elementary athletics will be recognized on June 13th during community sharing.

Field Trips

The Pre - KG Adventure at The Green Planet

Shared by: Ms. Isabel de Leon

Pre-kinder students had the opportunity to go on a field trip to The Green Planet, a fully immersive indoor vertical rainforest with over 3,000 plants and animals.

The students were surprised and excited to see so many animals up close. They got to see interesting animals like sloths, chameleons, wallabies, snakes, monkeys, and different kinds of lizards.

The visit to The Green Planet also exposed them to different topics such as rainforest resources, animals’ homes in the forest, and food from the tropical rainforest in our daily diet.

Meet our Teachers

You might have seen some of our substitute teachers around campus, but how well do you really know them?

We interviewed them and have some fun facts to share with you.

Everyday needs

May Menus (Gr. 5-12)

Located on our GEMS US website under the Parents tab; you can also click here - May Menus

Slices Registration

Want to register for Slices canteen services? Click the parent Sign-Up link below.

Parent Signup


When your child is ill or will not be attending school, you will need to inform the school about your child's absence to the following GEMS US staff member:

Please include your child's name, grade & section along with a day of expected return (if known).

For extended absences , please complete the absence form and return to the appropriate staff member noted above for approval by the Principal.

Digital Learning Experts Available

If you have any wonderings about digital learning and the use of technology as a learning tool please reach out to our resident experts:

  • Ms. Frost can be found in the LaunchPad C Block for support with SeeSaw and educational digital tools used at our school.
  • Jennifer Hamlet in F Block, Room 004. She is available Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-4 pm in "A" weeks to help with all things Google.

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