Page 9 - FIS World December 2020
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  the opportunity to access fully interactive learning courses, including over one hundred videos created by FIS students, textbooks and practice exams.”
Flexibility and innovation
We have all certainly had to think outside the box this year. One of the biggest concerns the Upper School had during the lockdown last spring was how to en- sure the life-defining moment of graduation would be marked for the Class of 2020. Fortunately, with some creative seating arrangements and a lot of be- hind-the-scenes safety planning in tandem with the local German health authorities, FIS was able to cele- brate the success of our graduating students together.
For those on campus this school year, life has changed in many ways but activities go on. Outdoor learning at the Primary and Elementary School level, which was already an important part of the curriculum, now also plays an important role in providing a learning space where students can spread out in the fresh air. Band and choir practices have moved outside as well, utilizing the Upper School’s amphitheater to keep re- hearsals going, and providing a bit of music on the campus boardwalk in the meantime.
More recently, a number of FIS teachers participated in professional development in fostering design think- ing and innovation (see page 18). In true “pandemic style” the training was delivered from Asia via Zoom, and the teachers were spread around the school’s Makerspaces in small groups.
More time for ourselves and one another
During the DLP, FIS students reported that with no commute to school, they had more time for sleep and sport, and “a little more control over time when learning.” Families are also enjoying more time to- gether and have been inspired to get out into nature. As FIS parent Yvonne Pederson describes, “ the be- ginning of the pandemic, we started to explore the Taunus trails and realized what we had been miss- ing...The greatest blessing is that this pandemic has given us more family time than ever before...we have had more family dinners this year than the last five years combined...we are all looking forward to put- ting this pandemic behind us but we do not plan to go back to our pre-pandemic ‘normal’ way of life.”
New ways of learning and communicating
Both students and teachers have developed skills around technology use, with the introduction of tech
innovations that are changing learning in a positive way. This was explored by two groups of parents in October when the Parent Teacher Group (PTG) together with Dr. Johnston ran two online work- shop sessions entitled, “Leveraging the Pandemic for Educational Change,” where parents were invited to explore the future of education.
During the workshop, Dr. Johnston shared an anecdote of an incoming Elementary School student who had been able to connect with peers before they even arrived: “When the student walked into FIS, their classmates were all there waiting, saying,
‘We wish we could hug you...we’re finally meeting you in person!’ That kid walked into FIS and they were already part of the family. They already felt part of the community, they were already doing the learning.” The technological infrastructure and different expectations driven by the pandemic facilitated this pre-arrival relationship-building.
As we cope with the inevitable challenges of the next few months, let us keep in mind the positives that this shared experience has brought to our commu- nity, with new opportunities for innovation, empa- thy, collaboration, communication, and more.
Leila Holmyard FIS Parent
From home learning to outdoor music rehearsals, student learning has gone largely uninterrupted
 December 2020 FIS World 7

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