My Lockdown e-Learning Experience

I’ve received a few questions from students and teachers about my e-learning experience since lockdown. Well, I’m not sure about other schools in the UK, but for my school, we use a variety of means for our online learning: live lessons, set work, and Internet websites. For your information, I’m currently in Year 8, which is the second year of secondary school. Things might be different in other years, but I’ll talk about our e-learning for Year 8.

Our online learning is exactly the same as a 9am-4pm normal school day, from registration until the end of the day, with 8 periods and the same timetable, except we do it all at home. The subjects we’ve done through online learning are English, Religious Studies, History, Biology, Maths, Latin, Drama, Art, French, Physics, Design and Technology, Geography, Music, Chemistry, and Sports. Some were through live lessons, and other times, we were set work, where we had to work and then submit it digitally at the end of every lesson. And of course, we have break and lunch at normal times.

For live lessons, we’ve been using an app called Zoom, which is widely used by other schools and universities. Each session lasts for 40 minutes, and there are different things both the teacher and the students can do. If it’s required, you can turn on your webcam, or just have the mic on. There is an option to mute the mic, so not everyone is talking over each other at the same time. And what’s really useful is that you can share your computer screen with others, so you can put up notes, a question, or anything else you need pupils to see. 

In terms of set work, we’ve been using Google Classroom most of the time. That’s where teachers can set assignments, post announcements, and ask questions. We’ve also been set work on Firefly, our school’s intranet system.

For Maths specifically, we’ve had live lessons on Zoom where the teacher shared their screen with us so we could see the notes and answer questions. Also, we were set work on a website called MyiMaths, where the teacher can set tasks related to specific topics. This could also be the case for other subjects, such as languages, where you could be set tasks on websites like Duolingo etc.

Personally, I find that the live lessons are the most successful for introducing new topics or going over more difficult work, because the teacher is there to explain the work to you, and if you’re stuck, you can ask them a question. However, set tasks work just as well if the work is more straightforward.

Hopefully, this little bit of my e-learning experience could be useful for both students who want to know more about what e-learning is like, and for teachers who want to create an ideal work environment for online school. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be more than happy to share about my e-learning experience.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 5 Of Covid-19 Distance Learning…

Since yesterday was the last day of term, we only had a half-day of school. Normally, we’d have meetings with our school houses and our forms, but that would be too difficult to organise since we’re all doing online learning at home. So instead, our Head of Year set us a challenge – we had to make a tower out of Lego, and whoever built the tallest tower won! So that’s what I’m doing in the photos, in case you were wondering what any of that had to do with distance learning. My finished tower was 178cm tall, but if I added any of the leftover blocks, it would have fallen down! The winning tower was 4 metres tall – that’s a lot of blocks! It was quite a fun way to end the term, even though we were all at home. And it certainly took our minds off the stress of being stuck at home because of the coronavirus.

Regarding the pandemic, we received breaking news whilst we were in the middle of this Lego challenge. The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with a few other members of the government, have tested positive for Covid-19. Yet again, we have proof of how quick and widespread this virus is, which is why it’s so important for all of us to stay at home to minimise the threat of the virus. The key workers and front-liners are doing all they can to stop the coronavirus in its tracks, so as a favour to them, we should stay at home to prevent any further spread of the virus. They are heroes sacrificing their own time for us, so do this as a ‘thank you’ for everything they are doing for us. May God protect them and reward them for their selfless actions.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 3 Of Covid-19 Distance Learning…

We’ve gotten used to the rhythm of online learning now, so there isn’t much to update you on in terms of my studies. However, reading the news yesterday, I was quite shocked. Here in the UK, Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus. The news spread like wildfire. It just goes to show how widespread Covid-19 is, and how careful we should be to contain it. Like I said in yesterday’s post, we’re really lucky to have such great resources, which mean that we can carry on with our studies whilst not risking anybody’s health. I pray that we all get through this quickly and unharmed, and that God blesses all those key workers and front-liners, including our very own teachers, who are the reason why we can carry on with our education safely during this pandemic.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 2 of Covid-19 Distance Learning…

This is me working together with my friends in a live lesson to complete our artwork. Even though we’re in the comfort of our own homes, it still feels like a normal school lesson, with me working side by side with my classmates to complete the task.

Both teachers and students have been resilient with this new online learning. To start the day off, we had a live Drama lesson, and everyone was unsure about how well it would work. But in fact, the live lesson went really well – we learnt a lot from the teacher and we even managed to work together in real-time and write our own scripts in small groups!

Looking back at it all, I’ve realised how lucky we are. Despite not being able to go to school, we’re still having full 7-hour school days and not missing out on our education. In fact, they’re exactly the same quality as normal school lessons! It really makes me see how fortunate we are to still be blessed with good health and the ability to learn, even amid all the chaos in the world.

But honestly, all thanks should go to the teachers, as they’re the ones who’ve put all the effort into making this the best experience possible! I pray not only for the safety of all our friends around the world, but for the health of those front-liners and key workers who haven’t given up fighting the battle against coronavirus. May God bless you all!

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 1 Of Distance Learning…

Today is officially the first day of school closure here in the UK 🇬🇧 But at the same time, the majority of the schools here are still open to help look after the children of the front-liners and the key workers – how noble! We’ve had our first live English lesson from home. So far, it’s gone well, and though we’ve had to overcome a few technical difficulties, hopefully all the rest of our lessons will be as smooth as this one. Even though we are staying at home, we still have to follow the normal school timetable and attend the online distance learning classes. Not all of the lessons will be live, though; we’ll have set work most of the time. Thank you to all teachers who’ve been working hard to keep on educating children despite the schools being closed. We will try our best to cooperate and liase with the normal school timetable. Right now, I’m looking forward to my next live lesson – Maths!

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

On Covid-19…

As the world is waging a war against #covid19,

Our little family has been fighting our own battle.

When the world was advised to stay at home,

That was what we have been doing for many years.

When the world was panicking and stockpiling food,

Our mother couldn’t even swallow food.

When the world was told to self-isolate,

We couldn’t even get close to our mother when she was in pain.

As the world fears losing their loved ones,

We have been living in fear of losing our mother.

Though #covid19 started only last year in 2019, we have been battling for years before this. And I believe we are not the only family who have been suffering. There are many families who have been going through the same thing long before the arrival of #covid19, and more fuel has been added to the fire now that the #coronavirus is another threat to them and their loved ones. So that’s why we must always be kind to one another, not only in times like this, coz we don’t know what battles other people are fighting!

Sending our love and prayers to all our friends in China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Malaysia, and all around the world…and we would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all those doctors, nurses, and health workers who are sacrificing their own time and putting their lives at risk to combat the #coronavirus. A salute to all you amazing, selfless people – may God protect you!

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

My Dadajee’s Super Sweet 70th Birthday!

If you were to choose one inspirational person from your life, who would it be? Your mum? Your dad? Your teacher? Greta Thunberg? The world has so many motivational people out there, but it takes someone special to stand out to you personally. For me, that is my Dadajee!

I have always looked up to everyone in my family. My parents, for not only being present in my childhood, but for being involved; my aunt @drauntie.uk, for being an amazing role model; and of course, my Mamajee @adamdidam, for being the bright spark in my life.

But Dadajee is something else altogether. He is all of these things – and more! There are over a million words in the English language, but not a single one can fully describe just how PAWSOME my Dadajee is!

Dadajee has always been the one everyone in our family looks to for advice. They say that with age comes wisdom, but as far as I can tell, wisdom came to him before age did! After all, he was the one that taught Mrs Mom, Dr Auntie, Mamajee, and everyone else the valuable qualities they have today – take, for example, speaking confidently, a skill which Dadajee taught so well it has even been passed on to Fatimah!

So earlier on, I said that there are no words to describe my Dadajee, but if there’s anything that comes close, it would be ‘jack of all trades’! That’s right, Dadajee is multi-talented, and even after knowing him for 13 years, he still never fails to surprise me with his skills. His many talents account for his ever-interesting personality – not a dull moment goes by when you’re with my Dadajee!

But most importantly, my Dadajee is LOVING, KIND, FUNNY and HUMBLE! If there is anyone I would follow in the footsteps of, it is my Dadajee. And what with the loss of our beloved Mamajee, when we were all struggling, Dadajee proved just how CARING he was by holding us all together when the glue that bound us weakened with the loss. Truly, I aspire to be just like my Dadajee when I grow up!

Dadajee’s 70th birthday is certainly a day we all look upon as a day to celebrate not Dadajee’s age, but himself, as a person with a brilliant character! After all, it is not age that defines a person, but their values and characteristics. Dadajee deserves to be celebrated, and we are all very lucky to have him!

Happy 70th Birthday Dadajee! May Allah make this a day full of joy and cheer. May He grant you many more happy, healthy years of life and may He reserve you the highest place in Jannah. Last but not least, I just want to say that I love you with all my heart, just as you are, and that I never want you to change, because you are already PAWSOME!

Love,

Omar Mukhtar – Dadajee’s 1st Grandson

p/s: Please come back to visit soon! All of your family here in the U.K. miss you very much…❤️

Happy Birthday To My Second Mother!

💌 Dear Dr Auntie,

Remember all those times when you said that no matter what happened, you’d always love me? From the day I was born, you’ve always been my second mother. Your warmth has always graced me, your kindness has always been present, and your love is like no other’s! There’s something about you that’s just naturally comforting. Whenever I feel down, just being next to you is enough to make me feel so much better! How do you do it? Perhaps it’s your motherly love. Your instantly engaging personality. Your witty sense of humour. Your abundant love. Maybe that’s your natural gift. You are a second mother, not just to me, but to Fatimah and Ali too. We are truly blessed to have not just one mother, but two! And you’re so much more than that! You’re a love-giver. A care-sharer. An adviser. A consoler. A best friend. You’re not just an auntie! You’re right there by our side through thick and thin. Wherever you may be, you’re just a phone call away, I know I can rely on you to be someone to confide with, anytime, anywhere – even now, when you’re halfway across the world! Still, that isn’t enough to keep me from missing you; please come back soon! Your love has never faltered for your parents, your siblings or your nephews and nieces. You are a joy to be with,  and you’re such an amazing person that even everything I’ve said here couldn’t begin to describe how amazing you are! You’ve done so much for us through the years, given us so much, sacrificed so much, and taught us so much. A thousand letters like this wouldn’t be enough to repay you! But from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of all the family, for everything you’ve ever done for us, I want to give you a genuine, heartfelt…THANK YOU! On your special day, may Allah shower you with His countless blessings, today and every day. May He reserve you a big palace with a beautiful garden in Jannatul Firdaus…

Happy Birthday,

Omar Mukhtar

p/s: And I promise that I will take care of you forever…and ever…and ever…and ever!

Flying To Neverland…

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t been updating for a while. I’ve been flying off to the wonderful world of Neverland…

…or so I wish! In actual fact, I’ve been unbelievably busy since school started – I’ve had a lot on my schedule in such a short amount of time! But finally, I’ve found one of those rare moments of quiet that school life gives me, and so I think it’s time I told you guys a bit about what’s been going on now that I’m back in the busy flow of school life…

The biggest thing that’s happened this year so far would probably be getting a place in this year’s JUNIOR PRODUCTION! As I’ve said in my previous vlog, I auditioned for a role in the production, and for at least a week, I was waiting nervously. Then finally, the cast list was released, and I must have spent at least 5 minutes carefully reading each row – frankly, I was a little bit scared about the result! Then my eyes fell upon my name, and I was over the moon!

So now I’m involved in more than weekly rehearsals at lunch and after-school too, which is one of the main reasons why I haven’t been able to post anything for so long, alongside my many homeworks. I’m not sure if you guys remember, but I was also in last year’s production of ‘Around The World In 80 Days’. I played the Indian merchant and the dancing octopus – both roles I am very proud of!

This year’s production is called ‘An Awfully Big Adventure’, and it’s quite different than last year. It’s kind of a cross between Peter Pan and Mary Poppins, and it explains the origins of the world-famous children’s tale. It seems like a very good watch! This year, I’ll be playing the role of one of the grumpy Park Keepers that turn in to PIRATES when the park is transformed into Neverland through magical stories (see? I wasn’t completely lying about flying off to Neverland)! We’re basically the comedy of the show! So far, it’s been a really interesting acting experience – I can’t wait for what else this year’s Junior Production has in store for me!

But the Junior Production is only the icing on the cake…I’ve yet to get to the cherry on top! Less than a week ago, our English teacher set us a homework task of writing a revenge story. At first, I was struggling a lot to think of something to write about, but then a light bulb went off in my head, and after writing it, I handed it in more confidently than I had started off writing it! And guess what? I ended up getting my first GOLDEN BOOK of the year for it! Alhamdulillah, it’s truly a blessing from Allah, but also a sign that I should take this as motivation to carry on working hard!

So all in all, this first half-term has proved to be a very enriching and fruitful one…I can only think of what lies in wait for the rest of the school year!

Blessed,

Omar Mukhtar

Back To School!

The Summer Holidays are finally over and it’s time to go back to school! So, I’ll be sharing with you guys all the latest updates about school in my new school vlog series. This is my first vlog, and I’ll be telling you all about the new school year and what changes there have been at school. Head over to our YouTube channel: The Family UK (link below) to watch the full vlog and hear all about my new curriculum, teachers and big events that I’m looking forward to. And of course, find out what the ICING ON THE CAKE at the end of the week was for me!

Happy new school year,

Omar Mukhtar

p/s: Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe! 😉