As with most of the world, our school here in Germany has closed its doors and moved over to an eLearning platform. We are communicating through a variety of online methods to ensure that home learning can be accessed by all learners in our international community. Now two weeks in, we’re starting to really notice what is working well and would like to share some of our celebrations.
Working at home will not, and should not, be an exact replica of the finely tuned day children experience at school. There are many other authentic, real world learning experiences that the children will be having at home too. Providing project-based learning experiences allows students to work through tasks at their own pace. The open-ended nature of this kind of learning promotes differentiation by outcome, as the students are able to extend their inquiry in many directions, as their home learning environment allows.
Just like at school, each morning children are greeted by our beautiful, happy faces welcoming them to another day of home learning. Creating morning video messages is a fun and personal way to connect with students, giving them a window into your daily events. So whether it’s balcony planting, wormery checking or sharing fun facts on Fridays, give your students a positive start to the day by sharing snapshots of your home learning!
Give it some beans
The German government announced school closure on a Friday and stipulated that all schools must open Monday & Tuesday to allow parents to prepare. Cue teachers scrambling to get eLearning up and going. In this time, we were able to source enough paper cups and bean seeds to send home one cup and two beans with each home learning pack. Fast forward two weeks and we have the Grade 3 students busy tracking their growth with measurement and the Grade 2 students now have a great purpose to create a structure, as part of their current unit of inquiry.
If you haven’t used Padlet yet, it’s time to take a look. It’s an easy to use website that allows guests to share a variety of media without a login. When posts appear, it organises them like post-it notes on a pin board. It is possible to like and comment on posts and we’re finding it a great way for students to stay connected by sharing their learning. Above and below are examples of the kinds of things students have been sharing.
With our current guidelines still allowing people to go outside, it’s been interesting trying to strike a balance between learning experiences that can happen inside and outside. Either way, practical has been the way forward for us. In Grade 2, as part of our structures unit, students have been drawing designs, building forts and experimenting with both pyramids and post and lintel construction techniques. In Grade 3, we’ve been measuring the perimeter of objects both inside and outside. The focus for next week is going to be on getting outside. We’re providing a range of choice for students to engage with, from bug hunts and mapping to bird watching and land art.
Working with our current central idea “Living things are suited to their habitat”, Grade 1 students have become researchers. They have been inquiring into the ways their chosen mini-beast thrives in its habitat. Though painting pictures, creating dioramas and going on mini-beast hunts in their garden, students and parents have become experts on the living things in their local environment.
So there you have it. This is what we’re up to right now in these unprecedented times. Let us know how you are keeping learning going in your community. Stay safe and stay healthy.