The last few weeks have been an interesting few weeks! Our number of students at school dropped dramatically for a week or so and then have started to pick back up again. This made us as a school reflect on what was needed for our community in order to continue giving our learners access to their learning and education. We deiced as a school to have a hybrid way of learning where our students at school would continue on with learning as "normal" as possible with the option for our students at home isolating to continue learning at the same time.
What does this look like?
For our students at home we have gone back to our online learning model that we have used for the last few years with out team. Students have access to learning each day as well as two Google Meets a day to connect with a teacher from our team. The students at school are then shared among the teachers at school to continue learning at school. I have been tasked with looking after our online learners for the last few weeks and it has been an interesting and rewarding experience.
In our first two weeks I had a large number of students learning online due to isolating at home. This was where we had more students online than at school. It was really beneficial for the students and their families have access to this while at they were needing to be at home.
The online learning model that I set up was similar to previous years where students has access to reading, writing, maths and a design task each day. We have looked at different countries around the world which has peaked interest each day to come online and join the meets and find out what we are learning. (Pictured below)We would also run two meets a day, one at 9am and the other at 12pm for the students to check in with me online for help with the work on the site and also wellbeing checks.
My focus for the 9am online meet was always an introduction to the topic where we would go though each task for the day in detail and read the text as a group. Students would also have the opportunity to ask for help if they needed it. Our 12pm meets were always a wellbeing meet with a bit of fun for the students as well. I wanted to have it like this so we would have engagement with our learners online which would also then transition into coming back to school.
The students seemed to really enjoy the online learning with many ready to return straight back to school after isolation periods. By keeping the learning going online and showing that school was a safe place to be after isolating it allowed the students to feel more comfortable coming back to school. It has also made those at school who need to go into isolation more comfortable with jumping online when they are at home and making the transitions easy.
This week our numbers has increased considerably with my class now being at almost 70% back in class. This has been a great change to see and has also changed the way in which we are running our online learning. We will continue to run it as is for the rest of this week and then will change to focus more on the students who are at school while also providing some sort of online learning to those who are at home isolating. My thoughts at this stage are to reduce the number of online meets to one a day where it is just a check in with the learners and see how they are going while also providing daily activities for them to complete. While those students at school will have "normal" like the beginning of the year learning.
By having this option of online learning still accessible it will be easy to change to the demands of our team for those who need online learning and those who need at school learning. This has been a great way to try and continue on with engaged learners both at home and at school.