WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School

 
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WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
WESS LEARNING NEWS
                      We are all in this together
                      April 2020

Welcome to the first edition of WESS Learning News, a new fortnightly
newsletter to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening with learning
using WESS@Home in your home, and WESS@Home at school for our
students who are physically at school during this time.
This newsletter replaces our usual school newsletter.
In our first edition we discuss why we’re using WESS@Home and how
remote learning will look over the next 5 weeks.
We introduce the Family Values Challenge—a weekly optional chal-
lenge.
We also look at tips from our teachers about how to have healthy, hap-
py learners; some tips on how to juggle home commitments and paid
work with schoolwork supervision, and we look at some home school
set-ups.
We hope this information will help.
Welcome to week 1 of remote learning—we’ve got this!
                                                                          Year 4 student, Tommy, enjoying
                                                                         remote learning
Kim McNamara, Principal

                                      Snaps of WESS@Home at your home

      Hamish, Prep                             Saraswathi, Year 1                        Dimitri, Year 6
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
How WESS is teaching remotely
Over the past few months, our Head of Curriculum (HOC) has been spearheading
the effort to teach remotely using our platform, WESS@Home. Fiona Lane is our
HOC and coordinates how we develop our learning resources and how we work
with teachers to deliver the Australian Curriculum.
We asked her about her experience navigating remote teaching.

How have you found setting up remote learning?
Oh WOW what a ride! My settling in period has been a quick one. I never thought           Fiona Lane,
                                                                                          Head of Curriculum
when I first started at WESS back in January that we would have to deliver our
curriculum remotely. That said, I have quickly put to good use my experience
in digital pedagogy.
What is your background and how has it helped you meet the challenges for WESS?
I have been a HOC for the past 5 years, so I have a deep knowledge of the Australian Curriculum from Prep
to Year 6.
I was a Principal Project Officer with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). This
role gave me insight into the bigger picture of curriculum development and delivery across many schools.
In some schools we used devices in our learning to a greater extent than at WESS. Some schools use ‘Bring
Your Own Device’ (BYOD) programs to teach the curriculum. Being involved with BYOD programs has
helped me develop my skills in digital technology and pedagogy. With this knowledge I am now supporting
WESS teachers to navigate online teaching.
Why did we choose the Learning Place as our e-Learning platform for WESS@ Home?
The Department of Education (DOE) has invested heavily in The Learning Place (LP) platform to house a
completely safe online learning environment for students in State Schools. Using The Learning Place as a
base, I set up WESS@Home as a distinct learning portal for WESS students only. This meant we didn’t have
the capacity issues that other schools experienced on day 1.
Will we have the option of online virtual classrooms (where my child can interact with their peers or
teacher in real time)?
There are very few options for online virtual classrooms, that are available to us in state schools.
There are sites, such as Zoom, which allow face-to-face connection with students, but these sites have been
deemed too risky by the Department. Microsoft Teams, is another face-to-face connection tool, and this
was only just made available to DOE schools over the recent school break, with schools being able to use
Microsoft Teams hopefully from the end of Week 2 (next week).
Using Microsoft Teams is now a possible option, however, it will take time to set up. We haven’t yet had
the opportunity to work with students and staff to test the platform for WESS’s needs. We are now working
through this process.
How will teachers connect with their students?
Our teachers will continue to use the tools available within WESS@Home. WESS@Home can host videos,
worksheets, and hyperlink to educational sites.
Over the next few weeks, you can expect to see our teachers creating and sharing short Welcome to the
Week videos and How To vignettes to introduce new concepts and tutorials.
Our staff are using their teaching expertise and adapting that to the new online format—a format that is
not in our everyday teaching toolbox.

We are all in this together, we’ve got this! Share your experience at wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
How WESS is teaching remotely
What have you seen as the biggest challenges for teachers with this new way of working?
Our biggest challenge has been working out how to best help you! We know that parents and carers have
other commitments. We have been working hard to deliver the curriculum in a way where parents and
carers only have to “supervise” students, not teach them.
We are still grappling with the time frames for how long it will take students to complete the work. Time
differs so markedly from classroom delivery to remote delivery!
Where do I go if I want more work for my child?
We are working towards a new feature. We hope to include an additional line on the WESS@Home menu
bar called ‘Optional tasks’. This menu item will have links to other general tasks and ideas families might
like to consider for their children.
What would you like to say to WESS parents/ carers?
-Just do your best—it will be ok!
-We are adapting our skills to a new format so please be patient with us.
-Your role during learning at home is not to replicate school. We will provide the learning opportunities,
and you will provide the support. Please do not feel compelled to complete everything. Learning will look
different for each family as everyone prioritises what is right for their own family and circumstances.

Weekly Family Values Challenge
Each week a new (optional) Family Values Challenge will be released on the Announcements page of
WESS@Home. This is a way for WESS families to connect to WESS Values and family members to connect
with other family members.
The challenges are set for the entire school. Keep an eye on our Facebook page (accessed via Facebook or
from our WESS website) to see how WESS families are responding to the challenges.

 Parent/carer thoughts on learning at home
“We have really started to enjoy ‘homeschool’ (even though we are missing everyone!) and have found
that developing a routine has been super motivating! At 9am the Mission Impossible song / bell goes off
(as found on YouTube) and Hamish is already dressed in his uniform (we follow the usual getting ready
for school routine). He grabs his school bag, book bag and water bottle and we set up at the dining table
(aka school desk). We focus on school from 9am-10am then have Munch and Crunch. School resumes at
10:15am-11:15am, then we have a bigger break. At 12noon-1pm (or less) we jump on Zoom and meet
with 3 other friends in a group, kindly organised by another mum. We focus on maths then. Once school is
finished we have a lucky-dip activity and free play time to enjoy the rest of the day!” Prep parent, Viveca.

We are all in this together, we’ve got this! Share your experience at wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
Tips from our Guidance Officer
Tips on how to juggle work and supervising learning at home.

• Have clear boundaries and expectations and communicate these to the entire family.
“While mum is on the phone, if you finish your activity you can play quietly with your
Lego.”

• If there is more than one adult at home, have a delegated supervisor!                   Belinda Wauge,
Try tag-teaming supervision duties throughout your day. This is where daily               Guidance Officer
schedule sharing can help work out who is on duty and when.

• Spend some time with older children setting up their online learning at the start of the day, so that they
may be able to work independently for chunks of time (however always be aware of cyber safety).

• For children needing more of your time and support (e.g. younger), have independent, quiet, engaging
activities pre-planned for times when you have (scheduled) calls. This will, hopefully, minimise potential
interruptions.

• Have realistic expectations of what you and your child can achieve, while working/supervising learning
at home. Remember to be kind to yourself. If children are reading and doing some online learning that is
great.

• Focus on one thing at a time. Remember the WESS@Home learning doesn’t need to be completed in one
block—it can be split up and scheduled throughout the day when you can spare the time.

• Don’t judge yourself on what you hear others are doing. Every child and family are different. Reality is
messier than what you can see through a social media filter.

• Aim that your child completes tasks rather than spends hours on schoolwork. The focus is on getting the
task done, not on the length of time it takes. Working with one-on-one support is generally more efficient
than classroom learning, so what your child might learn in one day at school, they might complete in 2-3
hours of focused work at home.

• Don’t forget a good dose of humour—it’s going to be messy! But remember, when the pandemic ends we
will go over the school work and reinforce the learning.

Parent/Carer Tip
Be flexible with your children - this is new for us all.
Whether it be their ‘where’ (learning space),
their ‘when’ (timetable) or their ‘how’ - let them decide!
And show them lots of love along the way!
Maria, mum to Dimitri in Year 6, Nikola in Year 5, and Yianni in Year 3.

We are all in this together, we’ve got this! Share your experience at wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
Every home is different
Loke’s school
Year 1 student, Loke, designed his own school at home. He linked it to the previous unit in Science, which
looked at dinosaurs. He then used the WESS values to create his own values for home!

 The Dilophosaurus State School (Loke’s homeschool) values... based on
               his physical school, WESS School Values.

 Parent/carer thoughts on learning at home
“I have been pandemic schooling my Year 1 and Year 3 sons for the
last few days. Most days seem to have a range of emotions. I often find
myself suppressing an urge to stand outside our front door and scream
like so many of those funny memes. Once I overcome my feelings
of being overwhelmed, under qualified and generally disinterested, I
come across moments of unexpected delight. The earnestness with
which my Year 1 child will retell me his Quick Writes story, or the gift
of having time to allow my Year 3 son to follow Alice down the Rabbit
hole. What I’ve come to realise is that it is pointless to try and recreate
the classroom experience. I have none of the advantages of a school
environment, but what I do have is flexibility, the opportunity for dense
learning, and the ability to make the school day fit around our schedules.
I’m still not looking forward to next few weeks, but I believe this will be
                                                                              Louise with sons, Year 3 student, Jo-
a time of personal growth. If nothing else, my kids are delighted to be
                                                                              hannes, and Year 1 student, Wilhelm.
‘homeschooled.’” Louise Han

We are all in this together, we’ve got this! Share your experience at wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
We’ve got this!
  Every home is different. Every home learning set up and experience will also be different. We expect that.
  Talking with your child about where they will learn each day will help set routines and encourage positive
  learning behaviours.
  Where possible, home learning should take place in a space your family shares, such as a lounge room
  or dining room. These spaces are preferable over a bedroom, where your child can feel isolated and
  supervision can be more challenging.
  A learning space should be a space that:
  - can be quiet at times
  - has a strong internet signal, if possible
  - you or another adult can be present as you would normally when your child is online, dependent on age.

                                                Year 1 student, Ella, watching her teacher       Year 5 student, Louis, and Year 2 student,
                                                    read to her in her learning space.           Jojo set up for their homeschooling day.
 Year 1 student, Louisa, sharing her learn-
ing with her sister, Year 4 student, Amelia.

  Year 1 student, Charlise, hard at            Year 4 students, Nicola and Melissa, set up for
                                                                                                      Year 4 student, Odilia, learning at home.
               work                            their homeschooling day.
  Last term we collated our first WESS@Home video of our WESS families’ trialing learning at home. Check
  it out on our Facebook page (accessed directly or through our school website). Thank you for sending
  these photos in and please keep them coming during the next 5 weeks. We love to see our students
  learning.

What makes your child’s
space unique?
What makes your child’s learning space unique?
Please send your photos to wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au

                                                       Year 1 student, Louisa, learning with her friend, Tilly the dog.

  We are all in this together, we’ve got this! Share your experience at wessathome@westendss.eq.edu.au
WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School WESS LEARNING NEWS We are all in this together - West End State School
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