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Our Approach to Remote Learning
Keble: The Lowdown on Lockdown
As we find ourselves once again in lockdown and our school closed to the majority of boys, we have all moved completely online again. Here’s a quick update for the whole community on what is happening across the entire school.
All pupils continue to be registered each morning by form and class teachers via Live Meets. This is an important time to allow teachers and boys to maintain communication. Form teachers in the senior school can pass on messages from subject teachers and check on the welfare of the boys.
Reception and Y1 this week moved over to Google Classroom. They still have access to Seesaw but moving to Classroom has enabled the teachers to record longer and more detailed lessons, and to add more resources for the boys and parents.
Teachers continue to use a blended learning approach, combining Live Meet and screen recordings. The screen recordings allow parents of the younger boys to schedule their lessons for the child and decide the best time for them. This development was in response to staff and parent requests and is, we hope, a real improvement for all.
Years 2, 3 and 4 have increased their Live Meets. Teachers here continue to also use a blended learning approach, blending together a range of pre-recorded lessons with an increased selection of Live Meets. Each type of lesson has its benefits, and different children find benefit from each approach. Blending the two has been found, especially with younger children, to have a better result and allows for greater flexibility for parents. A super example of a Live Meet can be seen in the blog about Year 4’s Roman Day.
Years 5 – 8 continue to have Live Meets across the curriculum and follow the normal timetable. As with the younger boys, all pupils access their resources from their subject classrooms. Understandably, at times some pupils are unable to attend a lesson due to illness or exams, and should make sure they check their classrooms for resources and check with teachers on what they need to catch up on. Lessons, especially during remote learning, build on the previous lesson and this does make it even more important that all boys follow up on missed work, especially in Years 7 & 8. To help with this, screen recorded videos are accessible in some subjects and Live Meets, when recorded, can be found in the calendar a few hours later added there by Google automatically . Please do note though, as I have found this week, technology can let us down in this regard at times. My wifi from Virgin media this week has been really struggling, and each time I tried to record my Meets it collapsed the Meet, which was frustrating. The issue has hopefully been repaired as my internet connection seems more stable today. See the image below for how to find recorded Meets.
Research from the last lockdown pointed to these 5 areas as having the greatest impact
Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered – Each teacher will have a different approach, it is often the relationship with the class, the delivery of resources, the use of modelling and guided examples and time taken to make sure all the boys understand the material.
Ensuring access to technology is key, especially for disadvantaged pupils – Making sure all pupils have access to a device and wifi to support their learning.
Peer interactions can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes – pupil discussions during lessons, peer to peer assessment of each other ‘s work, and time to develop their ideas working over multiple lessons. Not all lessons conclude in one 45 minute session.
Supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes – This is particularly important. Although it is tempting for parents to help their son complete work or support during lessons, this does not always help them become more independent and should be avoided if possible. Please resist the temptation, particularly in Year 5-8 where work is designed to be completed independently.
Different approaches to remote learning suit different types of content and pupils – This refers to blended learning
Communication is the key, and all boys should let their teachers know if they have any issues. We have small classes and know our boys well. We would appreciate parents continuing to communicate with school so we can evolve and develop our remote learning together for the benefit of all. During this lockdown our support staff have played an even greater role. From supporting our Key Worker pupils at school to joining classes across the school. many support staff have taken small groups and one to one sessions with pupils to support. Mrs Pontin, Mrs Stringer and Mr Turner, who make up the pastoral team, have worked tirelessly to provide resources on Mental Health (found on the parent dashboard), support lessons and make sure they are available for 1-1 Meets for any that need greater support during these times.
It is important to balance our need to learn through technology with our health. At times we all have frustrating times when our wifi refuses to perform. Most have had some issues with dropping wifi and freezing video links. The best thing we can do to help with this is to communicate. All boys have access to the teachers via Google classroom and can email the staff if they need any extra support. We are here to help as much as we can. Parents can email me and with help from the school technician, I will always do what I can to try and sort out any issues.
It is also important to balance our need to learn through technology with our health, and to prioritise exercise and time set aside for pupils to communicate with each other. Mr Turner has a wonderful bank of activities to help the boys maintain they physical activity levels. Year 8 are encouraged to create some social meets during the week to have catch up time with their friends. This could be a Wednesday afternoon activity. We are aware still more evolving is needed and we continue to listen to advice and take on board comments and respond where we can.
A huge thank you to those who nominated the school for independent school of the year. We are delighted to have been shortlisted along with some other excellent schools (the attached image just shows those alphabetically close to us). This is a great morale booster in these difficult times.
Finally, Mr Gill continues to record his assemblies for the boys, which can also be found on the parent dashboard, and to support pupils, staff, and parents with his calm and thoughtful approach, working late nights and weekends, keeping the governors informed and supporting the whole school in too many ways to record here.
Update January 5th 2021
From today onwards School will be closed, to all those except for the most vulnerable and those students who have key worker parents.
Teaching will continue to be delivered remotely through a mixture of live lessons, pre-recorded video and uploaded work, together with the opportunity for boys to meet with teachers through Google Meet. Years 2-8 can access all the resources for their lessons via their Google Classrooms. Reception and Year 1 boys will be taught through the seesaw platform.
Teaching Assistants and the Individual Needs team will support the Key Workers provision on a daily basis and will continue with the in-class and small group support wherever possible. Mrs Forkan and Mrs Stringer will continue with their 1:1 lessons and in-class support in core subjects. Mrs Pontin will teach and coordinate the PSHE lessons and support in Time to Talk sessions for any boys needing this intervention. In accordance with the school’s safeguarding policy, all Google Meets will be recorded.
March 23rd 2020
On 23rd March we, as did all schools, had to close our doors to all but the sons of our keyworkers. The challenge for teachers was to continue to teach all our boys, from Reception to Year 8, as effectively as they could from their own homes.To achieve this, all the boys would need to be able to access teaching and learning via Remote Learning platforms at home too. How would we preserve that relationship between the teacher and pupil, and keep everyone learning? Read here to get a feel of how we approached this challenge.
What did we already have in place?
For many years our school network had been with Google and so all our boys from Reception to Y8 had an account set up, giving access to the full G Suite for education. So the technology was ready for use and we could utilise its many different features. Without physical contact in school the online dashboard facility was important allowing boys to contact our pastoral team if they had any personal issues.
Dharman decided he could use his stop motion animation skills in different subjects to help explain concepts
How did we manage the learning for our Y5-8 pupils?
“Thank you for the incredible effort to get online platforms up and running, and continuing to review to make things run smoothly.”
Our senior school had already been using Google classroom and all the different apps in the curriculum, so we extended this to all subjects. Pupils from Y5-8 already had access to a school iPad that they could take home as part of the 1-1 iPad scheme which we have been running for eight years. All the pupil iPads loop back to the school through the internet, to pick up the school proxy and filter enabling us to manage them remotely. This meant all the boys had access to safe remote learning.
As part of the G Suite, we had access to the Google Meet app (video conference facility), which would allow us to hold live Meets with pupils. Every morning boys attended registration with their teacher via a Google Meet, giving all boys access to their form teacher. Lessons followed the timetable already in place wherever possible; pupils were invited by their subject teachers to their lessons for live teaching via Google Meet at the allocated time, and work was posted in their classrooms to be completed. Finished work was submitted via the classroom. Support teaching was available to some pupils who benefited from 1-1 teaching on separate Meets.
How did we manage the younger pupils?
“Great work Mrs Howe with the daily meetings and help. Fantastic job from all the staff at Keble who have worked tirelessly to set all this up in such a short space of time. A big thank you.”
“Lovely recorded teaching sessions that we can do in our own time. It has been very effective and Miss Davis has been lovely and very responsive.”
At the start the younger pupils (Reception to Y4) had not yet started to use their Google classrooms, but all boys did have Google accounts already set up.
Y2-Y4 had their lessons screen recorded by staff, and uploaded onto their classrooms, and boys submitted their completed work through the classrooms. Live Meets were kept to a minimum as it was felt this gave parents more flexibility with timings. This allowed parents to support the boys in completing the work at times which were more convenient and less restrictive. All junior boys met their teachers each morning for registration on Google Meet, and were able to discuss the day and the work that had been posted. Further weekly Meets were organised so teachers and pupils could catch up and the boys could see their friends.
For Reception and Y1, it was decided to use the Seesaw program, used in the Senior School for online portfolio and peer to peer observations, but adapted in the Junior School to enable work and events to be posted, and allowing parents to put comments on to the thread or directly message the teacher within the app. Videos of the teachers and work were posted onto Seesaw for parents to access with their sons. Each morning boys attended registration with their classmates and the teacher, through the Google Meet.
All Junior School children used their own devices, but school devices were made available for any who needed them.
What was the impact on the school and teachers?
Our teachers worked extremely hard during a very challenging time, upskilling in a short period. Staff were supported by training, and given access to school equipment and iPads to create lessons and interact with the pupils. Across the country education providers / schools were challenged to provide remote teaching at very short notice – and at Keble this meant providing teaching online which was accessible to all pupils as appropriate to their age range. No system is perfect and our teachers, pupils, and parents have had to work closely together. Technical support was made available to all teachers, pupils, and parents to support learning, and both pupils and parents had access via email to all teachers and the Headteacher.
Mr Gill recorded assemblies, staff worked late into the night marking, planning and recording lessons. We held many online staff meetings. Keeping communication open, and responding where we could to adapt our teaching and learning, have been key. We were so happy to welcome all our boys back to school before the Summer Term ended, and we feel we have learned so much, developing and strengthening our relationships as a community – something we hope to take forward. We agree with Walt Disney:
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
As a school, we will continue to work hard to improve and develop our remote learning to benefit us as a community long after the pandemic has eased.
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