Online Learning - January 2021.
You will all be aware from the media that unfortunately we have been informed again that we are to remain physically closed for the month of January. This is disappointing for us all, however it's important that we all do our bit in getting control of this virus again. We will all be so glad to say goodbye to it as soon as we can.
I'd like to take a moment to thank the staff for all agreeing to hold zoom calls over the past few days, thus enabling the school to have the learning plan ready for you all. Again they have gone above and beyond what was being asked of them, so I'm sure you will join me, in expressing our gratitude to them for enabling us to be ready for the off! We also remain truly grateful to the school board for it's constant support during this difficult year.
We are very relieved that we sent all the school books home with pupils at the beginning of the holidays, this will make the provision of online learning a lot easier for all. The majority of work that will be set for the pupils will be using these texts (at a class appropriate level of course!) If for some reason you do not have your child's school books, they can be collected from the school on Monday. Liza, will keep the office running next week to ensure that parents can collect books and/or answer and assist you with any queries that you may have. Should you need to collect books, please contact the office directly and we will facilitate contactless collection for you.
In order to have a consistent approach to the provision of online learning the staff have arranged the following for all classes:
- All children will access their online learning through the "SeeSaw" app. All classes have been using this app with pupils/parents since October, so we do hope this familiarity will make the transition to online learning smooth for all.
- At each class level - pupils will use textbooks for their learning, often providing answers/responses on the online platform.
- On Monday morning – each teacher will email their parents, providing them with a "top line" plan of the learning for the coming week.
- Each morning, staff will then upload the learning activities for each day to the See Saw platform for pupils to engage with. ( Due to the way pupils access See Saw for learning, it's more pupil friendly to load one day at a time, however the weekly plan will help parents and pupils gain a better understanding of what's coming later in the week)
- Teachers will load a combination of the following: 1x Literacy activity, 1x Numeracy Activity, 1x Activity as Gaeilge and 1x additional activity each day. This follows the same timetable that pupils would follow in school. Where appropriate the class SeeSaw will also have suggested extension activities for pupils to access should they wish/need to.
- During this lockdown period, it is expected that all pupils will engage with and complete all assigned activities as far as is possible, during the allocated time. We are also conscious that many families may be accessing their content on shared devices to we totally understand if things take a little longer or you submit work at different times. Please don’t put yourselves or the pupils under unnecessary stress. Should your child experience any difficulties completing their work, please don’t hesitate to contact their teacher.
- For ease of communication during this period, all staff will be re-activating their "kps" gmail address, so that parents can correspond with them directly. I would ask you to please consider that whilst staff are providing online support to pupils, you are all cognisant that many have children of their own at home and others are caring for vulnerable adults. They will try to respond to you all as soon as they can, please be patient.
- Your children will have two methods of gaining feedback from their teacher. Mainly on the interactions on the SeeSaw platform. This clever app provides a way for there to be wonderful, affirming, two-way communication, something that was tricky in the last lockdown. The app also provides great personal individual and group feedback for pupils. During the course of this lockdown the staff will be using both of these strategies to assist pupils in engaging with their daily tasks. It may be of some help to you to re-watch the introduction video to SeeSaw to help you as a parent to become more familiar with this new platform.
- Here is a link to the official website: https://web.seesaw.me/parents
- In conjunction with this communication, each teacher in the first week will host a daily check in session with their class. This check-in may include assisting them in understanding tasks and to explain what work and assignments will be coming up the next day. These sessions will be hosted on "Zoom" and we would encourage all pupils to check in daily at their allotted time. The staff will be sending you all the log in details of each of these sessions, which will remain the same each day to make life easier for all. We have also timetabled these sessions with class age and ability levels in mind. As the weeks progress the staff may alter the timing/duration of these sessions to help assist the pupils in engaging with their learning. It is important that we have the flexibility to adapt as we progress with the platform, however in order to “get the ball rolling” we are providing an initial timetable for the fist week. Class teachers will update parents directly of any changes to time slots.
- These zoom sessions will be a chance for the teacher to check in with their class and will play an important role in helping keep a social and emotional connection.
- Once we are up and running, all pupils (particularly further up through the school) will be able to log in each morning and begin their tasks. When the time comes for their "Teacher Check in" they simply log on to the zoom call to receive further inputs/support from their teacher and then return to their work if necessary.
- For pupils who currently receive additional teaching from our support staff, these teachers will be working very closely with the class teachers so as to ensure that all pupils are supported at this challenging time. Support staff will be uploading additional pupil specific activities for pupils in their care, and will also be having check in sessions with individuals/groups from the classes they are working with.
- As all pupils are learning from home, staff will not be setting regular additional "homework" assignments. Many pupils will have additional/extension activities on SeeSaw that they can carry on at their leisure. Additional activities may also be suggested by other staff in the school so that children have a range of options. We also hope pupils will still be able to get out in the fresh air for a period each day, weather permitting. RTE's School Hub and the BBC online learning all commence their broadcasting from Monday which may prove to be a valuable alternative for bad weather days.
Despite having the best plans in place, we do ask for your understanding whilst we roll out this new form of learning. We are grateful that during this period of lockdown we have these supports in place, software to use, and textbooks to help! We fully expect to encounter some challenges and to reuse Mr Packham's phrase, we will continue to "build the plane as we fly it!”, adapting the platform as required.
May we take this opportunity to thank you again for your support this far, it truly has been a school year like no other. We are so proud that we were able to open and operate so well up until Christmas and acknowledge that online interaction can never truly replace face to face learning. We will however, meet this challenge head on and are confident that we will continue to support all our pupils. All the staff are unanimous in our desire to get back into the school as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, hold firm and stay safe.
We look forward to seeing you all in school again soon,
Mr Packham, Revd. Rob, Staff and Board of Management
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