04

Balanced Learnings

We already knew how agile our Junior Years students were, but when we moved rapidly to remote learning, they accepted the challenge and quickly adapted.

With technologies to learn and a new routine to follow, we have all been so impressed with the way our Prep to Year 4s have embraced guided independent learning and maintained their relationships with teachers and other Grammarians online.

Preparing for remote learning in the Junior Years was quite the task for educators and parents alike. While most students were practiced in using the Seesaw App to access class work, projects and teacher instructional guides, they hadn’t expected it to become the 'new normal' for lessons and feedback from teachers. Morris Hall teachers scheduled weekly classes using a combination of face-to-face video meetings (synchronous learning) and instructional learning materials (asynchronous learning) so that the parents of our younger Grammarians could support learning tasks at times that fitted family schedules.

Using a range of video technologies and formats, teachers were able to provide meaningful learning tasks and share examples of how to complete them. Written, audio and video instructions allowed all learners to understand task requirements, continue to develop their knowledge and skills, and achieve set projects.

Each year level was structured independently as educators considered what was appropriate for the age group, and what they could achieve with minimal supervision. Lessons were established in line with what students should be able to independently navigate while utilising explanatory videos and lesson plans for extra support.

The goal during this time wasn’t to simply complete tasks, but to move student learning forward. Teachers utilised Seesaw to provide feedback, verbally and in writing, that enabled our learners to achieve their best. Acutely aware of how much screen time was happening, our Morris Hall teachers worked creatively to minimise an over reliance on this form of instruction. They set age appropriate tasks that included writing, reading and science experiments that could be done at home. Photos of lesson outcomes were then uploaded or emailed by the students (and in some cases with assistance from their parents) so that their class teachers could review, assist if needed, and provide relevant and timely feedback. Parents were also able to 'Like' and 'Comment' on posts, obtaining both a real time and interactive view of what their daughters were learning.

Just like in a classroom, it takes more than one explanation of a concept for every student to feel confident in their understanding. That’s why the videos are always available for our girls to rewatch. The beauty of this concept is that we started to see our Grammarians become more independent as they practiced resilience and persistence to work through their lessons and tasks.

As we learned more about the practice of remote learning, we adjusted our approach and improved, to ensure our learners were given the best opportunities to thrive.

The goal during this time wasn’t to simply complete tasks, but to move student learning forward. Teachers utilised Seesaw to provide feedback, verbally and in writing, that enabled our learners to achieve their best. Acutely aware of how much screen time was happening, our Morris Hall teachers worked creatively to minimise an over reliance on this form of instruction. They set age appropriate tasks that included writing, reading and science experiments that could be done at home. Photos of lesson outcomes were then uploaded or emailed by the students (and in some cases with assistance from their parents) so that their class teachers could review, assist if needed, and provide relevant and timely feedback. Parents were also able to 'Like' and 'Comment' on posts, obtaining both a real time and interactive view of what their daughters were learning.

Just like in a classroom, it takes more than one explanation of a concept for every student to feel confident in their understanding. That’s why the videos are always available for our girls to rewatch. The beauty of this concept is that we started to see our Grammarians become more independent as they practiced resilience and persistence to work through their lessons and tasks.

As we learned more about the practice of remote learning, we adjusted our approach and improved, to ensure our learners were given the best opportunities to thrive.

The goal during this time wasn’t to simply complete tasks, but to move student learning forward. Teachers utilised Seesaw to provide feedback, verbally and in writing, that enabled our learners to achieve their best. Acutely aware of how much screen time was happening, our Morris Hall teachers worked creatively to minimise an over reliance on this form of instruction. They set age appropriate tasks that included writing, reading and science experiments that could be done at home. Photos of lesson outcomes were then uploaded or emailed by the students (and in some cases with assistance from their parents) so that their class teachers could review, assist if needed, and provide relevant and timely feedback. Parents were also able to 'Like' and 'Comment' on posts, obtaining both a real time and interactive view of what their daughters were learning.

Just like in a classroom, it takes more than one explanation of a concept for every student to feel confident in their understanding. That’s why the videos are always available for our girls to rewatch. The beauty of this concept is that we started to see our Grammarians become more independent as they practiced resilience and persistence to work through their lessons and tasks.

As we learned more about the practice of remote learning, we adjusted our approach and improved, to ensure our learners were given the best opportunities to thrive.

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Sofia, Year 1, enjoyed remote learning from the STEM Room at Morris Hall
The drive through library at Morris Hall was a great initiative to ensure our students had a continual supply of reading materials as well as the opportunity to see friendly faces.
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Sofia, Year 1, enjoyed remote learning from the STEM Room at Morris Hall
The drive through library at Morris Hall was a great initiative to ensure our students had a continual supply of reading materials as well as the opportunity to see friendly faces.
Prev
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Open for Those Who Need It

Sophia didn’t experience the same remote learning her friends and classmates did. Both of Sophia’s parents are essential workers who continued to offer much needed support to the community and were therefore unable to stay at home with Sophia. We too wanted to support frontline carers. Our dedicated educators quickly volunteered to help our essential worker parents with younger daughters by making an onsite supervision program available at Morris Hall.

Mindful of the importance of physical distancing to protect students and teachers alike, the spacious STEM room was turned into a classroom that could cater to the needs of the different year levels. While Sophia would have loved to have been in her old classroom surrounded by her regular classmates, she made the best of the situation and became a great help to the other Grammarians.

“When my dad first told me about going to school for remote learning, I expected to be in my classroom with my other classmates, but no one else in my year came,” said Sophia. “A lot of people weren’t sure how to post things when we first started, so I was asked a lot of times to help post things to their teachers. And then they helped me film things, like the one handed plank I did!”

Sophia was particularly happy with any reading lessons, as she’s an avid reader. “I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series four times, and I've almost finished every book in my room!” For our excited readers, like Sophia, the School started a Drive-Through Library at Morris Hall. Students went online to choose their favourite titles to be packaged up by our dedicated staff and received them in a contactless pick up in our Kiss and Go spaces outside the campus. It was a great initiative to keep young minds expanding with new topics and provocations.

Open for Those Who Need It

Sophia didn’t experience the same remote learning her friends and classmates did. Both of Sophia’s parents are essential workers who continued to offer much needed support to the community and were therefore unable to stay at home with Sophia. We too wanted to support frontline carers. Our dedicated educators quickly volunteered to help our essential worker parents with younger daughters by making an onsite supervision program available at Morris Hall.

Mindful of the importance of physical distancing to protect students and teachers alike, the spacious STEM room was turned into a classroom that could cater to the needs of the different year levels. While Sophia would have loved to have been in her old classroom surrounded by her regular classmates, she made the best of the situation and became a great help to the other Grammarians.

“When my dad first told me about going to school for remote learning, I expected to be in my classroom with my other classmates, but no one else in my year came,” said Sophia. “A lot of people weren’t sure how to post things when we first started, so I was asked a lot of times to help post things to their teachers. And then they helped me film things, like the one handed plank I did!”

Sophia was particularly happy with any reading lessons, as she’s an avid reader. “I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series four times, and I've almost finished every book in my room!” For our excited readers, like Sophia, the School started a Drive-Through Library at Morris Hall. Students went online to choose their favourite titles to be packaged up by our dedicated staff and received them in a contactless pick up in our Kiss and Go spaces outside the campus. It was a great initiative to keep young minds expanding with new topics and provocations.

Maintaining Connections

The friendships we make at school are just as important as the lessons we learn, and our students were missing their daily fun and games with their peers.

Morris Hall assemblies every Monday provided a joyous start to the week, seeing all the familiar faces in one space as we came together virtually to share songs, news and updates. This was a great way to create some routine and normalcy to the week. Each class had their own morning meetings as well to ensure everyone knew the plan for the week and felt comfortable with it. Morning meetings also provided the opportunity to ask questions in real time and get that much needed interaction with friends and teachers.

Maintaining Connections

The friendships we make at school are just as important as the lessons we learn, and our students were missing their daily fun and games with their peers.

Morris Hall assemblies every Monday provided a joyous start to the week, seeing all the familiar faces in one space as we came together virtually to share songs, news and updates. This was a great way to create some routine and normalcy to the week. Each class had their own morning meetings as well to ensure everyone knew the plan for the week and felt comfortable with it. Morning meetings also provided the opportunity to ask questions in real time and get that much needed interaction with friends and teachers.

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Making the Most of Down Time

As most of us know with our own experiences of working from home, learning how to make time for movement, finding creative ways to fill our time and gaining the skills to spark productivity every day could be challenging.

With tips from Mrs Oosthuizen-De Lange, fondly known as Mrs O, the Morris Hall students were able to learn new skills and get their bodies moving with 'Find Your 30+' activity suggestions. Every activity was broken down for the appropriate age group and was a fun way to break from academic learning.

'Brain breaks' were encouraged as well. By helping students 'shake up' their day with yoga poses, movement songs, 'Simon Says' or five star jumps they found it easier to focus on their learning tasks.

For Sophia, her viola lessons continued remotely. Her only difficulty was when her Dad left for work and took his phone with the tuning App! That was solved creatively with the initiative of a 'drive by tune up’ for stringed instruments. Utilising the Morris Hall Kiss & Go Zone we not only had instruments tuned for remote music lessons but were able to maintain our no contact social distancing practices.

Making the Most of Down Time

As most of us know with our own experiences of working from home, learning how to make time for movement, finding creative ways to fill our time and gaining the skills to spark productivity every day could be challenging.

With tips from Mrs Oosthuizen-De Lange, fondly known as Mrs O, the Morris Hall students were able to learn new skills and get their bodies moving with 'Find Your 30+' activity suggestions. Every activity was broken down for the appropriate age group and was a fun way to break from academic learning.

'Brain breaks' were encouraged as well. By helping students 'shake up' their day with yoga poses, movement songs, 'Simon Says' or five star jumps they found it easier to focus on their learning tasks.

For Sophia, her viola lessons continued remotely. Her only difficulty was when her Dad left for work and took his phone with the tuning App! That was solved creatively with the initiative of a 'drive by tune up’ for stringed instruments. Utilising the Morris Hall Kiss & Go Zone we not only had instruments tuned for remote music lessons but were able to maintain our no contact social distancing practices.

Making the Most of Down Time

As most of us know with our own experiences of working from home, learning how to make time for movement, finding creative ways to fill our time and gaining the skills to spark productivity every day could be challenging.

With tips from Mrs Oosthuizen-De Lange, fondly known as Mrs O, the Morris Hall students were able to learn new skills and get their bodies moving with 'Find Your 30+' activity suggestions. Every activity was broken down for the appropriate age group and was a fun way to break from academic learning.

'Brain breaks' were encouraged as well. By helping students 'shake up' their day with yoga poses, movement songs, 'Simon Says' or five star jumps they found it easier to focus on their learning tasks.

For Sophia, her viola lessons continued remotely. Her only difficulty was when her Dad left for work and took his phone with the tuning App! That was solved creatively with the initiative of a 'drive by tune up’ for stringed instruments. Utilising the Morris Hall Kiss & Go Zone we not only had instruments tuned for remote music lessons but were able to maintain our no contact social distancing practices.

The wellbeing of our students was of the utmost importance during this period. Our Personal Dimensions teachers focused on self regulation and the ‘zones of regulation’. They wanted each student to be able to reflect on their feelings and think about what their minds and bodies needed at that time.

The amount of work, preparation and ongoing support required by educators during this time was certainly unprecedented, and yet each and every one of our staff committed to furthering the positive learning experiences of our Grammarians. Some even did so while managing the supervision of their own children at the same time. What we have all learned from this period is that while we can get through trying times when working together, we don’t want to see challenges such as these repeated any time soon.

The wellbeing of our students was of the utmost importance during this period. Our Personal Dimensions teachers focused on self regulation and the ‘zones of regulation’. They wanted each student to be able to reflect on their feelings and think about what their minds and bodies needed at that time.

The amount of work, preparation and ongoing support required by educators during this time was certainly unprecedented, and yet each and every one of our staff committed to furthering the positive learning experiences of our Grammarians. Some even did so while managing the supervision of their own children at the same time. What we have all learned from this period is that while we can get through trying times when working together, we don’t want to see challenges such as these repeated any time soon.

The wellbeing of our students was of the utmost importance during this period. Our Personal Dimensions teachers focused on self regulation and the ‘zones of regulation’. They wanted each student to be able to reflect on their feelings and think about what their minds and bodies needed at that time.

The amount of work, preparation and ongoing support required by educators during this time was certainly unprecedented, and yet each and every one of our staff committed to furthering the positive learning experiences of our Grammarians. Some even did so while managing the supervision of their own children at the same time. What we have all learned from this period is that while we can get through trying times when working together, we don’t want to see challenges such as these repeated any time soon.

Article written by

Kellie Morgan

Executive Director, Early Learning and Junior Years

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