Wednesday, 23 March 2022

A New Normal

 Teaching the past two years have been anything but normal, and this year is proving to be much of the same. I was challenged recently when I saw a social media post that showed a table of comparing a student's current school year with the last "normal" school year they attended. This made me stop and reflect about our Year 3/4 students. The year 4 students have not attended a "normal" school year since year 1 and the year 3 students have not attended a "normal" school year since they were in an ECE programme. This led me to question myself about what is normal. 

School for our year 3/4 students in a Covid world IS normal. They have never really attended school any other way. One of the things that is not normal is the norms that we generally would have used to compare student acheivement and classroom success in the past. Thinking of the things that we need to change in our teaching practice to help focus on where are students are now our staff used the analogy of a face mask. 

We have been asked to wear a mask at school from nose to chin, which presents many problems in a classroom setting. So, as we move from a Mask On to a Mask Off society, we explored what challenges we are now face with the goals that we have for our "new normal" classroom. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Thinking back on 2021....

As the 2022 school year approaches, we are very hopeful for the year ahead that it might be more like the "normal" we were used to before the pandemic began. 2021 left many "what if's" and "could have been's" in our teaching practice here in NZ mostly because of the number of days we spent in "Lockdown" due to the Covid pandemic. Thankfully, our team came together and rocked an amazing Distance Learning programme. We had a consistent group of students participating in our daily Google Meets (nearly 2/3 of the team) and online learning. 

We decided to separate our team of year 3/4 students into wider learning groups to help with the planning while at home and direct instruction that we offered to each subject area group during the week. Students were able to have a 30 minute session each day focusing on one subject area directed at their level of learning. We strongly believe that this is what helped our students maintain their excitement and enthusiasm for particiapting in our distance learning programe. 


Part of "fun" approach, was tapping into the wealth of expertise at our school and brining along four of our "Specials" teachers at school. Students were given the option to join one of four offered breakout sessions each Thursday instead of a subject area Google Meet. They had so much fun learning how to code, creating funky things with our Makerspace teacher, getting extra reading support and getting their groove on with our Sports Coordinator in her Jump Jam/Just Dance sessions. 

Each Friday, students met with their home class after our daily Team Assembly Meet. This was a great time to come together and check on the wellness of our students and play a game or two in a smaller setting. Student tasks for "Fun Friday" were always self-choice frorm a task grid and geared to things students could do at home possibly with their family.