Uncategorized

Supporting Parents during School Closure

It’s tough teaching remotely, it’s also tough on the parents too. So managing both, for me, has been a downright disaster. We are getting better, but it did give me a chance to reflect on how parenting is being affected. A close Brazilian friend recently told me in no uncertain terms, “You know, what you are doing now, it is destroying families.” He jokes, I assume, but we need to be mindful of the strain at home.

Keeping Positive

I’ve learnt a lot about keeping positive, I’ve been over critical about work that has been presented to my two young children, but I noticed when I’m negative, the kids reciprocate. When I say things like, “Why do we have to submit this work here, there isn’t an explanation on how to do this, why is this spelt wrong,” It’s easy to notice the children reacting in a similar way and not as fully engaged. So I tested myself – full positivity – and on the whole it worked for them, they were more passionate about their tasks. And I hid myself away in the bathroom when necessary and grumbled into the mirror.

Time Limits

From a school point of view, this should be essential communication. Each lesson activity should be completed in a normal lesson time. As teachers, we want to see the capabilities of these students. I get it though, a parent wants to see their child succeed, and some will not allow their kids to hand in work half done. Yet, in school we are faced with mountains of not quite done work. And what do we do – if it’s one or two kids, we may ask them to finish up in a break, if it’s a large number then, guess we need another lesson on it. But the feedback loop in online teaching is delayed. Teachers are setting work before the current work is even completed by the whole class, they don’t know if it has taken 30 minutes or two hours. Teachers could offer more time for the next day to finish, but only if parents are honest enough to allow their younger ones to hand in half finished work.

For example, who did better in maths – a child who did 8 questions correctly in 40 minutes, or one who did 10 questions in 90 minutes? Teachers don’t know how long was spent on it from home, so the second kid comes out with a better grade. By focusing on time for at least some of the daily activities, this would certainly help parents manage their day.

The Ability Bombshell

Equally, parents feel overwhelmed when lots of work is provided (as of course do the children) and perhaps a breakdown of an online timetable may ease their concerns. For me, we should be stripping timetables back to at max 4 hours a day of online learning for primary and 5 hours for secondary. A comparison of normal to home learning will help parents understand the requirements

The parents learn two important things in home learning and teachers need to be prepared for this. 1. The quality of the teachers 2. The ability of their children.

It is no surprise that the majority of complaints I’ve come across are from parents with children who historically struggle in achieving lesson objectives. Makes sense, we are skilled at painting a positive picture about children that some parents never really realise that their child is struggling in some areas. It becomes plainly obvious though when your child is with you all day completing their work, without any support. So be conscious of this – differentiate often – and be mindful again of that moment when parents realise their wonderful children aren’t quite at the same level as the parents imagined.

Freedom

One final thing that empowered me as a parent. After weeks of getting my children to complete certain activities, it dawned on me that I had other resources in my home that I could use to support the learning process. We made Mocktail drinks, did home made science experiments and caught snails and made them a habitat. Lots of fun things that understandably cannot be set as mandatory by teachers. As teachers we have to keep the objectives and task simple and about as free as possible. It is hard to set lessons when you don’t know what resources families have, but don’t be afraid to empower the parents to try something different, let them be creative, let them collaborate on projects, let them do whatever it takes for that child to continue to enjoy learning. Anything to stop the destruction of families.

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #6

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Thanks for all your kind words about the support we are offering. Here are a few quick tips based on different questions we’ve had recently. 

Edpuzzle
A few more tutorials are now live, including EdPuzzle. This is a tool that basically turns any video into a quiz. It stores the student’s results so you can see at a glance a) if they’ve actually watched it and b) if they understand it. They will log in with google, and it links to your classes already in google classroom. More info on the slides.


More Flipgrid Tips
Two quick tips – when watching back lots of videos – speed them up to give yourself back some time. You can still hear what is being said, albeit in a higher pitched voice.

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You can also use closed captions (cc) next to it to have your speech turned into words.


Scheduling in Google Classroom.
Don’t forget you can also schedule assignments in GC, meaning you can have work ready for the next day, finished in the morning, but schedule it for 4.55pm so it doesn’t appear while students are working on today’s activities. This is also useful for those of you who are not in the same time zone. 

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Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #5

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Recording your Screen with a Whiteboard To Write On

Introducing Jam Board – it is a google app that is designed for collaborative meetings – but we can use it as an online whiteboard – meaning you can screencast (using whatever app you are comfortable with WeVideo/Screencastify etc) and use the whiteboard at the same time. It obviously works much better if you have a stylus and touch screen facility. Watch this video to see how it works.


Retrieval Practice
My big love at the moment – but I don’t want to get into it all now, so here are some great quizzing tools to use to create your own low stakes, daily quizzes.


Quizizz – This I have seen being used across the school really well – I’ve mentioned it before, but it has some very good quizzes already on there and by the nature of the software, Students review and review their answers to get a bigger score.


WordWall – An example here and here. You can create up to 5 activities at a time (then just delete old ones and rotate). The results are stored on the site and the best thing about this is that when you create a list of words and definitions, or quotes and people, or concepts and meanings, or examples and non examples, the site will then give you umpteen different ways you can present that as a task – from a fully gamified pacman style game, to a simple matching activity. Just share the resource as an assignment – very quick and great fun. TRY IT NOW!!!!!


Diagnostic Questions or Eedi (mainly maths and science at the moment) – links to all UK schemes of work and qualifications. We are looking into creating classes for secondary students and teachers to use. This has bags of questions ready to use.
Google Forms – This is a simple way of helping recall – and you can use it for more than simple multiple choice quizzes. Example here .


Kahoot – Did you know that Kahoot has a feature called ‘challenge’ which allows students to do it from home – just like Quizizz above? You can set Kahoot quizzes now as home learning – or even better – flip your learning and ask them to create a kahoot and share it with the class. Creating a quiz requires a great amount of recall as you have to recall the correct answer and think of incorrect answers too, basically creating an example / non example style activity.


There are other great quiz building tools, like educaplayfactile and the beautiful but limited typeform, to name a few. 

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #4

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

More help for Google Classroom:

There are still a lot of teachers posting in the stream and not creating assignments. We’ve now had feedback from various parents (and some students) about the presentation of the home learning. Also as mentioned on Friday, the benefits FAR outweigh any reason for just posting into a stream (which only really exists for discussion and announcements). If you still are unsure about how to use classwork in Classroom, please watch this video. (And please don’t have the ‘well this is how we’ve always done it’ excuse)


Differentiation

Whilst we are seeing increasing student engagement, there are still some that have not started their work. Equally, there are some that have not accessed the work as well as others and this perhaps because it being too challenging for them (and their parents ☺). Remember that in Google Classroom and Seesaw there is no expectation that everyone has to have the same work. One great way to help differentiate is to choose not to ‘assign to all students’ and assign either different versions of the same activity to differing groups or just simply miss students out so they aren’t overwhelmed when they start their home learning. You can easily add them in to any assignment at a later time if you wish. (watch the video above for more info)

Coaching

Thanks for keeping in touch with us for any problems you have, and for all of you who have shared some great home learning ideas and positive stories with us. We are delighted to be able to support you and at the same time show you some wonderful tech, please do check the slides we have provided for you as well to help with accessing certain apps.

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #3

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Try not to ‘Stream’ in Google Classroom for tasks

Having seen a number of google classroom environments recently, it has come to my attention that many teachers are simply adding activities into the stream page of their class. I urge you to stop doing that and use the Classwork section instead. From here you can set assignments, which allow you to, amongst other things, set due dates, schedule in the future, and most importantly, select a topic. For example, this allows you to group similar tasks together, in Primary, you can set topics for Reading, Writing, etc. This allows an easy way for students to find previous work, without having to scroll through post after post after post. Assignments appear in the main class stream just like comments, but can be named clearly, searched for, and also be ‘re-used’ in other classes, perhaps if you have a similar piece of work for another class. Also when assigning work in this way, you can provide templates, students can create work within that assignment that you can view at any time, and you can even give each child their own copy of the slide/doc that you are working with. Children Y4 and up (and some Y3s) are proficient enough to use this way of working.

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Also Google Classroom has been updated in the last two days (it does this a lot) so some things have slightly moved around from previous gifs.Finally, for loads more tips and tricks and to become a classroom expert – watch this video that Angela has found for us.


Cosmic Yoga, Go Noodle etc. As we promote a bit of free time on Friday, it’s a time to remind you about the brain break videos that we love in school, but may not be known at home. Why not set a mindfulness task, or a fun dance routine brain break. Perfect for the young ones and an active way of using screen time.

Teaching in Videos
As we settle in to our new roles as distance educators, a reminder that teaching is possible through video, and there are some inspiring teaches across HK sharing their videos across Twitter, like this art teacher, and that videos to home can be much more than simple motivations and ‘well done’s. In Flipgrid, or almost any video recording app, you can download your videos, then upload them to google drive and turn them into a pack of slides with step by step instructions for a lesson. To promote shared practice (note: not best practice!) – here is a link to how I present my Maths work. Each child in the class gets a copy to fill in their answers. In Seesaw, you could just link to the presentation with a videos teaching the kids new things. If you need more info and support for this, let us know.

Google Meet etc..
The tech teachers have been discussing this topic recently, a big concern for many is the idea that if you run a google meet, you MUST NOT record it as well without permission. Google Meet and others should be used for discussions, Q&A, but instructional videos, stick to screen casting and other tools previously mentioned.
If you are holding live chats through google meet or Zoom, maybe remind the kids that they should always be wearing appropriate clothes and be in a responsible place. Maybe this will make them chuckle: (shared to me from fellow teacher Ross Parker)–>

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Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #2

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Flipgrid Feedback
First of all, there are two ways to give video feedback when watching the video from a teacher’s viewpoint, you can reply (under the video) or private. The reply one is the one I usually use, because the kids see it more obviously when they go to Flipgrid. Weirdly, the only way to see private feedback is to use this link https://my.flipgrid.com/ which is like an overview of all the videos they have posted. However, there is also an ’email feedback’ button and it is brilliant. You can both do private video and text and the email gets sent to the Gmail account instantly. So it is up to you to decide whether to get them to check emails, or to check that link above. Failing that, just hit them with a simple reply. 


Seesaw Notifications

Just a reminder – from some feedback from parents – every time a comment is added to a post that is tagged with a child, the parent will get an email. They also get an email when you post a video, a document or a link. Equally, with specialists doing a great job of posting their activities too, and some teachers approving posts from before the holiday, we saw some parents receiving over 15 email notifications in one day. It is still very positive to be having constant communication, but do be mindful of this, particularly adding comments to posts tagged to all students. Don’t forget you can use the messaging function now to communicate to parents directly should you wish.


Google Meet for ‘Registering’ We are constantly reviewing best practice in what is unprecedented times for many, looking at how similar schools are managing the situation. We know that many schools are ‘registering’ kids by asking them to sign in to a 5 minute google meet (or similar) in the morning, announcing messages and then letting them get on with the day. Many schools are requiring this at the start of each lesson, before setting a task on or offline. Remember that if you would like to use Google Meet, it is easy to run a session and it is easy to see who attended. Whilst we encourage the tool for any teacher, it is primarily most effective in the Secondary environment.

Thanks, as always send me any questions you may have,
Dominic

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #1

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Hi All, 
The slidebook has been updated with ten more video tutorials and some new resources, with more being added today. I am delighted with how many videos, Flipgrids and Quizizzs I have seen set up already. 


There are going to be a number of emails being sent over the next few weeks, If that’s going to annoy you, or you need to organise more efficiently, then use the settings in gmail to move emails directly into a sub folder, you can learn how to do that here.


Anyway three things today:
Early Years (and Primary to some extent) : Numbots is now live, meaning you can now set a daily 5 minutes fluency practice for addition and subtraction. It begins very easily, but goes all the way up to double digit addition and subtraction. It is brand new, created by the team behind TT Rockstars, and in many ways is very similar. More information is in the Slide book. This resource can be used on a trial – and it is very affordable if you choose to extend.


EY and Primary: You probably knew this already, but when you set an activity on Seesaw, you can schedule it for in the future. This means you can set all your activities for the coming week in one go. Check the gif below to see how. Apologies, but you cannot schedule a normal ‘post to journal’ currently.

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Secondary: Following a request, I looked into a good educational tool for annotating PDFs and came across https://www.kamiapp.com/an educational resource which allows you to draw, highlight and type over PDF files. When you sign up, you will get 30 days free, which allows for Google Classroom integration. It also has a super feature having the PDF read out to you. The interface is a little clunky, and students need to register to start annotating, but it could be a solution for some of you in the coming weeks. More information in the slides book linked at the top of the email.

Thanks, as always send me any questions you may have,
Dominic

Uncategorized

Home Learning Support – Covid-19

Hong Kong Schools have been closed since Chinese New Year, and we’ve had the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t, but there is still a lot to learn

One of the first thoughts I had when hearing we would close to students, was that it was going to be okay, thanks to the numerous educational technology resources we have available to us. The difficulty was getting the information to staff in the right way, empowering our staff to take on the unprecedented challenge

And so I started with these slides:

It is had a great response and inspired me to share it across the world.

I keep adding to it as much as I can – so keep checking it for more information

If you want a version to edit – then please get in touch!