Middle School Online Learning Plan

Middle School Online Learning Plan

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year!  TAISM plans to be responsive to the current conditions in Oman and will adhere to any Ministry of Education directives. Our online format exists for when conditions prohibit students from learning on campus. 

When learning online, the same learning tools that are regularly used by students will continue to be used to provide learning opportunities for students - the Google platform, which includes Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Docs and our TAISM email system, as well as video conferencing applications like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Google Meets.

If you have technology related questions, please contact our Technology Department at technology@taism.com. For all other questions, please contact the Middle School Principal, Peter Lee (leep@taism.com).

Here are some additional details about what to expect:

MS Online Learning Program of Studies:

Grade 6: Grade 7: Grade 8:
Required Courses: Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, PE, World Language, Wheel Class (Public Speaking, Health, Art) Required Courses: Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, PE, World Language, Wheel Class (Coding, Health, Art) Required Courses: Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, PE, World Language, Wheel Class (Design, Health, Art)
Optional Courses: Band, Choir Optional Courses: Band, Choir, Drama (choose two of three) Optional Courses: Band, Choir, Drama (choose two of three)

Due to the performance-based focus in an online platform, families will have a choice as to whether to enroll their child in band, choir and drama classes. When we transition to a hybrid mode of learning, families can revisit their enrollment decision.  Please note there are no “substitute” courses for these classes. A separate communication will be sent to all families regarding enrollment in these courses.

 

Schedule:

The TAISM Middle School will continue to follow our normal six-day cycle in a synchronous fashion. In other words, if it is a day 1, your child will follow our normal class schedule for that day, including Home Base, A,B,C, and D block classes. Our hope is that by offering a synchronous class schedule, we can establish routines for staff and students, offer more opportunities for live interaction, and have the ability to move in and out of an online learning mode more seamlessly, should the need arise during the school year. Classes will follow a synchronous, or “real-time” schedule as follows:

Time Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6
8:30-8:50 Home Base Home Base Home Base Home Base Home Base Home Base
8:55-10:15 A Block H Block B Block E Block D Block G Block
10:15-10:25 Break Break Break Break Break Break
10:25-11:45 B Block E Block D Block G Block A Block H Block
11:45-12:25 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
12:35-1:55 C Block F Block C Block F Block C Block F Block
1:55-2:10 Break Break Break Break Break Break
2:10-3:30 D Block G Block A Block H Block B Block E Block

All classes will meet live, via meeting links through Google Classroom. Times listed are Muscat times (GMT+4).

 

Home Base:

Home Base is how each school day starts in middle school. Home Base sessions will also be synchronous video meetings. The purpose of the Home Base program is to provide a structured time to address the academic, social, and personal needs of students in middle school. Our Home Base cycle follows a predictable pattern, starting with our Sunday assembly and followed by days that address organization, group development, student wellness, and opportunities for student choice and priority setting. Attendance is also taken each day in Home Base by the Home Base Teacher.

 

Attendance:

Please report any absences to Ms. Arancha Franco, MS Secretary, at francoa@taism.com.

 

Virtual Assemblies:

In Middle School, each week starts with a Sunday Assembly. In this assembly, the MS Principal will share assembly material with students (school announcements and information). Virtual Assemblies will not be synchronous, typically, and will be played in Sunday’s Home Base session.

 

Class Format and Learning Activities:

Learning activities are intended to replicate, as best we can online, class activities that would have occurred at school. During the 80 minute class period, you can expect  a variety of levels of interaction and a mixture of learning activities - large group live meetings, small group collaborative break-out sessions, individual work time, and live teacher feedback. Teachers will make careful and deliberate decisions about format, based on the learning goals for the class period. Students can expect to be engaged in the content of the class for the full 80 minutes, with occasional homework assignments, dependent on the learning needs of the class and unit of study. 

If students are required to engage in a project or extended application of learning, the project will be broken down into smaller actions/outcomes with scheduled check-ins along the way.

 

Learning Tools:

As school iPads are important tools for classroom-based learning, students will have home access to their school iPads and their chargers in the event of any school closure and transition to an online learning environment. Additionally, periodic use of a home computer may be necessary to most efficiently engage in some learning tasks. Band instruments will also be a critical piece of equipment for band students, as well as subject specific notebooks or school supplies. 

School-issued iPads are intended for educational purposes. Apps that will be used are preloaded on the device and Google Classrooms and TAISM mail can be easily accessed. Use of social media applications or non-education related games are prohibited on the school iPad. 

 

Learning Platforms:

In middle school, we will continue to use Google Classroom as our main learning platform for online learning. Each class will have it’s own Google classroom, specific to that block. Additionally, teachers will make use of Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and Google Meets for synchronous video conferencing during each block. Teachers will provide meeting links via their Google Classroom page.

 

Assessments:

Assessment helps teachers to know our students and guide our instruction. Students will be asked to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Students will have opportunities to communicate learning, share their thinking, and receive and respond to feedback. Assessment strategies will vary depending on the standards being addressed in the unit.

Grading and Reporting: Assessing and reporting student progress will follow our regular grading strategies and scale. Feedback will be given regularly to students and academic achievement will be reported using the descriptors from our regular grading scale:

  • Excelling at Meeting Grade Level Standards (A)
  • Meeting Grade Level Standards (B)
  • Approaching Grade Level Standards (C)
  • Below Grade Level Standards (D or F)
  • Incomplete - A grade of Incomplete would indicate that insufficient evidence was submitted by a student to warrant a grade. In this situation, a student would work with the MS Counselor and Teacher to create an incomplete work plan.
  • NG - A grade of NG (No Grade) may be used when a student is not formally assessed  in a class. This typically is due to the unique learning needs of a student.

During online learning, we will also report progress on several of the Behaviors that Support Learning. Progress in the Behaviors that support learning are reported using the scale: Consistently, Sometimes, Rarely.

  • Preparation: Fulfills commitments, is well prepared for class and completes assigned work in a timely manner.
  • Engagement: Actively participates and contributes, works independently, focuses in class.
  • Collaboration, Organization, and Perseverance will not be formally reported on during our online learning platform.

 

Student/Teacher Communication:

Teachers will be available during the school day to communicate with students during the class period that the student is engaged with the teacher. Additional appointments or help-sessions may be scheduled, as needed.

 

Student/Counselor Communication:

The Middle School Counselor will continue to be available during this time for regular appointments, or check-ins as needed, via our Google communication tools. We encourage students to be self advocates and for them to contact the counselor, as needed, for support in the areas of academics and personal-social wellness.

 

Parent/Teacher Communication:

Email is the preferred mode of communication between parents and teachers, should the need arise. Teachers will be responsive to parent emails within 24 hours. Updating preferred email addresses through the registration process is important. We will use your taism.family account and all emails provided. Our goal is to provide communication efficiently. Parents are also encouraged to be signed up to receive Google Classroom Guardian Emails from each class. These notifications provide either a daily or weekly summary of all content sent out to students from each class. If you are not already receiving parent emails, please write to one of your child's teachers and they can send you an invitation to receive guardian emails.

 

Role of MS Parents in Online Learning

  • Monitor your student’s engagement in their classes and assist with reminders about their synchronous class schedule. 
  • Establish a routine where a designated work space is identified. 
  • Engage with your student about their learning - ask your child to summarize what they are working on in each class.
  • Help your student advocate for their learning by reminding them to seek assistance when needed. 
  • Stay informed about what your child is learning about through Google Classroom parent updates and regular check-ins with your child.
  • Help your student establish a nightly charging routine for their school-issued iPad.
  • Monitor the use of the school iPad per your regular family agreements about technology use.
  • Keep in mind that middle school students are social beings - opportunities for students to connect with others are encouraged.