At the beginning of Lockdown, John Swinney stated that schools should, ‘respond in a variety of imaginative, creative and stimulating ways to support continuity in learning for pupils.’
We investigated Twitter and spoke to friends who were also teachers to see what their schools were planning to do in terms of Online Learning during Lockdown and from these various discussions, and taking into account the confidence levels of our staff, we decided to create One Online Learning Microsoft Team which all children would access. We wanted something which was not overwhelming for our staff, children and parents/carers and would be consistent across the school, as we were very aware of the differing levels of skills.
Having the one Online Learning Team for the children meant that we were able to offer a minimum of 3 teacher-led activities per school day each week. This was in addition to the accounts which had already been set up for StudyLadder, Sumdog and the other activity suggestions (both online & offline) which had been added to our Mossend PS & NC Website prior to Lockdown.
In the beginning, we had a daily visual timetable and we worked very closely with NLC Communication Friendly Environments to create these timetables. As we evolved we were able to create a Weekly Visual Timetable which was shared on Twitter, emailed to all parents/carers on a Sunday so they could plan the week ahead and uploaded to the Online Learning Team for the children.
We understood that not all teachers would be comfortable in front of a camera, teaching with parents/carers in the background or using the ICT so, we identified various other jobs which could be completed and would mean the Team would run smoothly and allowed everyone to have a valued role. These jobs included compiling/creating the resources for the stories, creating digital Escape Rooms, creating contexts with a variety of genre for weekly Taught Writing lessons, monitoring Twitter, moderating the Microsoft Team so when work was added the children received feedback, adding Stars to our weekly Star Tracker (each child who uploaded work via Twitter or the Online Team received a star and it was recorded with name, class, date and reason for the star) – this became very important during our weekly Super Star Assemblies held on a Friday afternoon with all staff, children and their parents/carers in attendance. With the whole school working together on one Microsoft Team, it meant we were able to deliver targeted lessons with a variety of high-quality resources which were differentiated and suited to everyone regardless of their needs and every child received a consistent learning experience during the lockdown.
As mentioned in our previous Blog entitled, ‘Unfortunately, Fortunate’ we met virtually every week to plan our strategy which revolved around our Four Key Principles of FAST: