Home Learning/Google Classroom Update and Frequently asked Questions
Firstly, and most importantly, I hope you and your family are well and safe at this unsettling time.
As a school we are mindful of the wide range of family dynamics that the Covid 19 virus has fostered upon our school community. We have families who are working from home, working as key workers, using childcare hubs, suffering illness, limited with regards to accessing ICT equipment and suffering loss to name just a few of the challenging scenarios we are facing.
We are trying to set activities and programmes that are mindful of the wellbeing of children and their families, the limitations of ‘lockdown’, the resources available to households and the level of demand on parents. This can be challenging due to the range of circumstances outlined above.
The activities we set depend on the age and stage of your class but pupils might reasonably be able to complete 2 to 3 hours of school work, supplemented by physical activity and family-based activities e.g. helping around the home.
A weekly timetable through Google Classroom assignments has been set to offer learning activities and tasks. The programme provides a variety of suggestions across curriculum areas and includes tasks that children can work on independently as well as with family members.
We hope the programme offers breadth, choice and flexibility. Individual family circumstances will determine how many tasks/assignments that your child will complete. We would frame the assignments as ‘let’s see what you can manage’ rather than ‘here’s what you have to do’ however, I would actively encourage you to try the literacy and numeracy activities.
Your child’s health and wellbeing are of paramount importance to us. We believe strongly that this is the foundation for learning and development. We have incredibly resilient pupils at St. Columbkille’s but it is to be expected that everyone, including ourselves, will be feeling the effects of being in lockdown and out of our daily routines.Through our pupil survey and speaking to parents, it is clear our children are missing the school and the community spirit it offers. We would ask, where possible, for you to submit pictures, videos and your child’s learning through Google Classroom and we will create regular home learning videos for the children to stay connected to their peers.
As you will be aware the school has been using Google Classroom to help deliver Home Learning materials for your child. We chose Google Classroom as it is a free web service, developed by Google for schools, that aims to simplify creating and distributing assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and pupils.
We have now been using the service for 5 weeks. The vast majority of children are using their classroom and we have had lots of positive feedback on how it is being used and some very welcome constructive criticism. I would like to emphasise that we are all (staff, pupils and parents) learning about the best way to use the service that will have the maximum impact on your child’s learning. We will all make mistakes but the key factor is that your child is engaging with their learning rather than if they type, write, use google docs, word docs etc.
There are challenges at using any type of technology service. Some of the challenges we have been facing are; access to technology, access to printers, log in issues, permission access, editing word or google docs, submitting assignments and pictures. I would like to thank you for your patience and your commitment in trying to make this work. Although we have no clear indication of when schools will return it is becoming increasingly clearer that when we do, schooling will be markedly different for a period of time. The need for an online distance learning system is therefore very important and this is why we are committed in ensuring it is in place.
In some classes, we have made some changes to the way we assign tasks this week to try and alleviate concerns raised and streamline the classwork section of the classroom. Inevitably there will be teething issues but it is a learning process for us all and we will continue to adapt with your feedback.
The rationale for these changes has come from your feedback. Below are some of the questions and answers that parents have been asking and looking for further support with.
- I am finding it difficult to keep track of all the tasks we have to do.
In order to streamline this the classes will be set assignments as follows:
Rooms 1, 2,3,4,5,7, 8 will all be setting one assignment on a daily basis. This will be several tasks and will include all Maths resources, Literacy resources, weblinks etc. needed for that day. All of the day’s tasks are to be submitted together once completed.
Room 6 will set one Maths, one Literacy and one other assignment per day. Each assignment will include all resources and weblinks needed for that day. All of the subject’s tasks are to be submitted together once completed.
Room 9,10 & 11 will set one assignment for the week. The assignment will be several tasks and include all Maths resources, Literacy resources, weblinks etc. needed for the whole week. All of the week’s tasks are to be submitted together once completed.
Every room’s classwork has now been re-organised to make it easier for you to find the work that you need. It will be under a heading of week beginning…
For quick access in opening assignments click on the ‘To Do’ tab and this will take you to all assignments that have to be completed.
- Am I supposed to be sending in work? I do not know how!
We would love to see your child’s work as it is a way for us to keep connected with them, give feedback and offer support if and when required. We will also take a selection of these and create a regular video for the children to see each other and to celebrate their achievements. We appreciate this is a learning curve for us all and in normal circumstances we would spend a lot of time with the children showing them how to do it. The video below shows how you would submit an assignment. Remember to only hand in the assignment when you have uploaded all the tasks/pictures for that day/week.
- Are tasks being graded?
No. Tasks will not be graded.
- I don’t want to put my child’s work on the class stream as I am not sure if I am doing it correctly.
We can understand the anxiety with this and this is another reason we are encouraging the submission of tasks through individual assignments rather than the stream. To reassure you, it is only the teacher who is able to see the tasks when you submit through the assignment. Feedback is also only visible to the child and teacher.
- I don’t have a printer. I can’t do a lot of the work.
Please do not feel you need to print everything out. Use the activities as a guide and adapt as you see fit and, if you can, upload a photo of what your child has been doing. We are trying to use google docs more as children can edit these and submit them. This, however, has presented a few issues as if there are multiple google account users on the computer the child is using, permission is requested to access. Please just request access and your teacher will grant it. If you would prefer to upload work as a word document – great! Do what is easiest for you as we can’t have a one size fits all approach.
Remember! It is just as good to use paper and pencil to complete tasks. It does not need to always be computer based. If you need resources such as paper etc. please contact the school and we will try and support you with this.
- I forgot to submit my child’s work
Don’t worry. We only want to see your child’s work to keep in contact with them and support them. It is not a test for the children or you.
- I don’t have a computer. Can I use my phone?
Absolutely! The Google Classroom app is available on all Google, Android and Apple devices. This will give you access to all of the tasks. I use the app to take pictures of my son’s written learning, take videos and pictures of him completing tasks and upload from there. You can approach it like you would posting on social media and giving updates on what your child is doing. A video of how to post can be accessed on the link below:
- I do not have a computer
Please contact the school and we will try and support you and your child.
- I am a key worker and my child is in a hub. I am finding it difficult to fit everything in.
Your child will be able to complete their home learning in the hub with the support of the adults working that week. Your child just needs to bring their login details and the adults will support appropriately.
- I am working full time and finding it difficult to stick to the times on the weekly timetable.
The timetable is a suggested daily schedule for your child. It is to try and help give your child structure. It will not suit all family circumstances so please do not feel you need to stick to it rigidly. All tasks/assignments are open until the Sunday before the start of the next week. This is to cater for differing family circumstances, days where things don’t go to plan and to give you maximum flexibility. You are the best judge of what you can manage but remember the school is here to support you wherever possible.
- My child enjoys the online exercises more but there is no way of recording their work or marking them as done. Can we have more online worksheets that kids can fill in and submit easily when done?
The school has an overview of who is accessing Sumdog and Literacy Planet so there is no need to mark them as complete. The online exercises are all suggested activities. We are trying to give more online sheets but these have to be as a google doc. Some of the school worksheets are only available as a PDF and would have to be completed on paper or typed on a separate google/word doc.
- My child has additional support needs. What support is on offer?
A section on our website has been created for children who have additional support needs:
Mr Adams is liaising with families who require additional support and coordinating further support where required. Our specialist Support teacher Mrs Cameron has also been supporting children where appropriate. If you have any concerns please contact the school and we will do everything possible to support you.
Thank you for your continued support. We realise that this is a challenging situation for everyone and we are trying to offer as much clarity, flexibility and support for your child and family as best we can through this.
Please do not hesitate in contacting me if you require any further information or support.