Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, we have been very keen to ensure our children continue to learn whilst they are at home. Throughout this time we have been developing the education we offer to our children to ensure it as good as it possibly can be.
Have a look at the information below to find out what we’re doing…
Seesaw is a very powerful online learning platform that allows our teachers to set individual tasks for each child. These tasks can then be completed online or on paper and uploaded to their Online Journal. This journal then acts as a portfolio of all of the children’s work – just like an exercise book in school. Once a piece of work is completed or uploaded by a child it is sent directly to their class teacher. At the point the teacher can mark the work and either approve it or send it back if something needs changing. After it has been approved the teacher can ‘Like’. ‘Comment’ or leave a voice message for the child providing instant and meaningful feedback on the work.
Our teachers are following the same curriculum that they would teach in school – although some lessons may take longer to deliver. Whilst Seesaw gives us the ideal platform to set work on, it also gives our teachers the opportunity to teach lessons rather than just setting work. Each teacher is using a range of technology to provide our children with recorded lessons. Given that most parents will have their own work and calls to do, we felt the most appropriate method to deliver teaching was through recorded (rather than live) lessons. This means parents can support their children with their learning at any point during the day as opposed to being forced to stick to a timetable that may not work for them.
The lessons that our teachers are delivering use a range of techniques – just as they would in the classroom. We are incredibly proud of the hard work all of our staff are putting in to make sure exciting learning continues and how well everyone has adapted to a different way of working.
For those that don’t know, Microsoft Teams is a secure video calling platform. We have provided every child in school with their own log in to Teams so they can safely access video calling without the worry of other people joining the call.
Our teachers are using Teams to hold weekly ‘catch up’ sessions. This is an ideal time for all the children to see their teacher – and more importantly, their friends. We’ve held a number of these meetings already and it is truly wonderful to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as more and more children join the meeting.
We are also using Teams to hold small group sessions for our children. Using Seesaw we can quickly see who hasn’t quite got a concept or might need something explaining in a different way. The teachers will schedule a meeting for these children so we can make sure everyone is achieving to their potential.
Lockdown is hard! We’ve all learnt that over the past twelve months so we are very clear that, as a school, we need to support our children and their families mental well-being. Mrs. Plant, our Learning Mentor, makes sure she catches up with our families as often as possible. Likewise, our teachers are using their class Teams meetings as an opportunity to make sure our children are doing okay.
If you are struggling, please talk to us. These are very challenging times and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help! We all need someone at some point in our lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much work should my child be doing at home?
We expect children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will complete 3 hours of learning. Children from the juniors (Years 3 – 6) should complete 4 hours.
How will my child know if they are doing well?
One of the many advantages of Seesaw is that it allows us to provide feedback to the children in a variety of ways. Our teachers are able to ‘Like’, ‘Comment’ or leave a recorded message for the children. All of our staff follow the same principles for marking as they would do in school – tell the children what they like and if appropriate, how they can improve their work.
Do I need a device to able to access the learning?
Yes – all of our learning is available online. You can use any device to access Seesaw and Teams. If you are struggling for devices, please do not go out and buy something. We have a small number of devices available to support our families during this time.
My broadband at home isn’t very reliable – what should I do?
The best thing to do in the scenario is contact Mr. Wylde – he will be able to provide support appropriate to your situation.
I can’t log in to Seesaw or Microsoft Teams, what should I do?
All you need to do is email or call school and we can update your child’s login details. It is really quick and easy for us to do this so please do not struggle at home, just get in touch.
Other schools are doing all their lessons live, why aren’t The Willows?
We are very conscious that in a lot of households there will be adults who have their own work schedule and older brothers and sisters who also have to complete live lessons. We are keen to offer a system which continues to enable our children to learn without adding any additional pressures or strains on our families. By delivering recorded lessons, the children can access the lesson when it is most appropriate for them and their family.
I don’t want to engage with online learning, will this be a problem?
Whilst we understand that online learning may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ we do expect all of our children to engage with their education during the pandemic. At this time, no one knows how long the pandemic will last and how long schools will be open to reduced numbers. All of our children need to continue to learn regardless.
All of our teachers will be monitoring the work that is uploaded to Seesaw to make sure everyone in their class is engaging with their learning. If this is not the case, the teacher will give you a call to see if there is anything we can do to offer more support. If work continues to be left incomplete Mr. Wylde or Mrs. Barnett will make contact with you.
We’re really struggling with lockdown – who can help?
Lockdowns are difficult, we all miss seeing our family and friends and being able to leave the house. It is important to remember we are all going through this and you are not alone. You can ring us at school at any time and we will be more than happy to help. Even if you just need chance to talk to someone different on Teams with a brew, we’re here for you.