Posted on April 21, 2020 / Middle School
Welcome back to a most unusual Term 2! We are back into full swing with our virtual classes running online using the Microsoft Teams platform. Despite the change in format, many things within a class are just the same. Their teacher is there ready to help them grow and develop further in their knowledge and skills in each class. There is palpable energy that young people bring to any space and there is a buzz of friendly chatter as the students catch up with each other and share their experiences. What a strange time we area all living through. As we have battened down the hatches in preparation for Covid-19, our society has shown incredible care and concern for each other in social distancing and working to protect our most vulnerable. It has been wonderful to see neighbours caring for each other, kids and parents finding new ways to connect as they spend considerably more time together, and working out new ways to stay connected with other loved ones via the internet. That said I am sure that in your household, like mine, there has been considerable moments of frustration, fear and hard times over these past few weeks.
This coming term will be uncharted territory for us all, however, there are several key things to help to keep our students and our learning on track. Each class will be a mix of synchronous (together) and asynchronous (independent) approaches to learning. Students will be following our regular timetable and will start each class by joining into the class team meeting. This will help students to feel connected and also to have a clear idea of what needs to be done. The teacher will then either spend some time in synchronous activities with the class, or ask them to move into independent work. This will also help to reduce screen fatigue and enable students to work at their own pace. Students will have the opportunity to check back in with their teachers when needed. Some teachers have also created videos of key teaching aspects which will also be invaluable for students to progress independently.
Pastoral Mentors will continue to connect in with the students over the week, and are the first port of call if you have any concerns about how your child is managing online learning. As we saw in the last week of last term, our students have already embraced this new way of learning, and have adapted to it quickly.
Over the holidays many students elected to complete some creative tasks such as beautiful colour wheels as part of their Year 7 Art project. They certainly have been creative in finding items around their house to complete this task.
Some students have been busy creating poppies for our annual Anzac Day assembly later this week.
A reminder that as well as academic classes, many of our co-curricular groups such as the Green Team, Duke of Ed, morning fitness and Debating have all started up again and will use the digital space to operate. Students need to check the portal page for more instructions on how this will work.
This week you will have received an infographic providing some tips on how to best navigate this time of remote learning. Remember to encourage your child to have set time away from the computer, and hopefully also participate in some physical activity to keep up their physical health.
We are confident that whilst this is certainly a different time in education, there are new skills, growth and confidence to be gained by each one of our students. I was amazed this week to read of a small group of high school girls in Afghanistan who created a ventilator out of car parts! This may literally be a life-saving achievement and a wonderful reminder that pressure can sometimes produce diamonds. An incredible testament to the dedication of these young women and an inspiration to us all. For those who would like to read more about this news item please click here.
As we settle into our new ‘normal’, thank you to all parents for your ongoing support, encouragement and understanding. We greatly appreciate all that you have been doing to support your child in this complex time, and remember we are just an email away if you need advice, or have any concerns about your child. We are confident that whilst this is certainly a different time in education, there are also new skills, growth and confidence that can be gained by each one of our students. Looking forward to journeying with you all through this new experience in Term 2.