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School Highlights

Student Perspectives on Distance Learning

There is currently intense discussion and debate within the international education community about how school leadership teams, teachers, families and students have responded to the challenges and opportunities that have arisen from the COVID-19 situation. While this has certainly been a time of ups and downs, positive discoveries and frustrations, we have seen some students show increased independence, discover new interests and enjoy increased family time. We have captured students’ perspectives on their experiences learning in a different way, which we are sharing with you here.

We have witnessed students use the IB Approaches to Learning (Thinking skills; Communication skills; Social skills; Research skills and Self-Management skills) as they embarked on learning at home. It has been important to capture the student perspective of learning in this different way.

I posed the following questions to students:

  • How would you feel if you had to do distance learning again?
  • Is there anything you would change?
  • Is there anything you would miss?
  • Was there anything you enjoyed about learning this way?
  • Are there any bits of distance learning you think we should keep and use in some way in school?
  • What did you notice about yourself as a learner through having to do distance learning?

Here are some of the typical responses:

“I would not be happy to do distance learning again because we don’t get to see our friends and our teachers and you don’t get into the mindset which you get at school.”

“If I had to do distance learning again, I wouldn’t be thrilled because being at school is definitely better, but I also wouldn’t be unhappy because it’s a good experience.”

“I felt calm because everything slowed down.”

“I will miss starting at nine because I could sleep in until 7am. It was the best!”

“I miss being free so you can choose what to do and at what time.”

“After spending time at home, I have learnt that spending time with your family is really important, and it’s really fun.”

“We should keep the recorded videos. If we don’t understand, or are absent, we can watch the video and catch up.”

“I noticed that I was becoming more independent with my work and that I didn’t need to ask the teacher about tasks that often.”

“I have learnt that I am very responsible when online.”

As we would expect, the responses from the Year 7 students acknowledged, in a more sophisticated manner, both the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning…

“My experience with distance learning was exhausting. Distance learning has stretched me as a learner. It wasn’t bad, however I found it challenging.  I mean, you can have breaks pretty much whenever you want and you get a lot of work done. However, the one hard thing for me was socialising. I LOVE TO TALK. It is my specialty. I found everything about distance learning fine except for the fact that my friends/peers weren’t there for me to talk to. I am a kinaesthetic learner. I learn best from talking and being hands on. That is where distance learning was a struggle for me. Most of it was digital and there were no group tasks. Overall distance learning has helped me develop lots of skills; organisation, time management and independence. It was a great experience however I would struggle to do it again.”

At St Andrew’s teachers will continue to reflect on their experiences as learners using the guiding questions:

  • How can we use our experiences of distance learning as we move forwards?
  • Have you considered how your role as an educator may have shifted?
  • What did you notice about yourself as an educator when delivering distance learning?
  • Is there anything you would like to ‘keep’ from your experience with distance learning when it comes to face to face teaching?

The staff at St Andrew’s will continue to explore how blended learning (a combination of face-to-face and online learning where the student has some element of control over the time, place, pathway and pace of learning) can be utilised to enhance the learning experience and have a positive effect on student outcomes.

We extend our thanks to the teachers for all the extra hours to transfer the curriculum to a distance learning model, and to our parent and caregiver community for their ongoing support.

Heather Wood
Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching

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Beat boredom these school holidays

These school holidays will look a little different for most of us. Practicing social distancing and being limited in where you can go may trigger some frustrated behaviour from our children.

In order to get through these trying times, it might help to have a daily schedule so that everyone knows what to expect, including allocated times for some household duties, daily exercise and a designated time set aside for reading.

Creating some new adventures at home will help kids beat their boredom by changing up their daily routine. You can even have a little brainstorm together and see what else you can come up with. Here are a few ideas to get your started:

Virtual field trips

Children can visit places around the world without leaving their homes. Through virtual tours, they can visit other states, countries and even other planets. Some examples include: Buckingham Palace; Great Wall of China; The Statue of Liberty; The Whitehouse; Anne Frank House; and Mars.

Visit Freedom Homeschooling

More ideas for awesome virtual tours

Zoo live streams

Live stream cameras from Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Zoo allow you to watch your favourite animals.

Adelaide Zoo allows us to hang out with Wang Wang and Funi.

Free audiobooks

Free stories for all ages can be streamed on desktops, laptops and tablets and available in six different languages from Audible.

P.E. with Joe

This is an online daily fitness class that leads children through 30 minutes of jumping jacks, mountain climbers and other sweat-inducing moves.

Try P.E. with Joe and other family workouts with Joe Wicks

Gardening

Start a vegetable garden or get children to grow seedlings in an egg carton with a how to from PBS.org.

Enjoy a movie night under the stars

Watching adventure movies and documentaries is a great way to while away a few hours. It’s also one of the best ways to get inspired for your next challenge, getaway or outdoor endeavour. Make an evening of it by setting up your TV, laptop or projector out in your backyard. Get the corn popping, bring out your warmest sleeping bag and enjoy getting inspired under the stars.

Cook your dinner over a campfire

You don’t need to be out in the wild to enjoy outdoor cooking. In fact, campfire cooking in your backyard means you can try new recipes and cooking methods without too much prior planning. If you’re worried about ruining precious food supplies then why not just try making some bread on a stick? It’s fun, uses very few ingredients and it’s very difficult to get it wrong. The kids will love making it, too.

Here’s how to make campfire damper, and a few more camping recipes to try.

Camp in your backyard

Avoid cabin fever by getting outside and setting up camp in your own backyard. Do it properly (pack some snacks, organise your camp kitchen, get your stove out, bring all the essentials etc) and you’ll not only fill lots of time getting things organised, but you’ll also feel like you’re going on a mini adventure. Even one night out of the house will do you the world of good. If you enjoy it then why not make it a weekly ‘trip’? The kids will love it and having something to look forward to will do you all good.

Other school holiday activity ideas include cooking, a scavenger hunt, indoor fort, board games and brain games, family tree searches and a paper aeroplane competition.

Planning activities for children at home is a fun way to break up their day. Keep in mind that you don’t need to completely fill their day, or come up with all the ideas to keep your children busy. A little imagination can go a long way.

Happy holidays. Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas with us by email.

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Join the Walkway of Heroes

20/11/14 – St Andrews School – Picture Simon Cross

Following the purchase of St Andrew’s Lane by the gymnasium, the School created a new entrance to the grounds known as the Walkway of Heroes: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  Personalised pavers recognise the heroes of the past, particularly our old scholar veterans of the First World War, old scholars of today and the students who will become the heroes of tomorrow.

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GoFilm!

During Term 3, following a study of film as a media, our Year 6 students had the opportunity to work with professional filmmakers, Amanda Phillips and Alexander Mitchell, from GoFilm!

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Year 4 Musical

The Year 4 Musical this year was a magical performance of “Panto Pandemonium”. Held in St Andrew’s School Hall on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 June, the show took us on a colourful journey through Pantoland, meeting a host of characters including the Good Fairy, the Witch, and some surprise visiting students.

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  • St Andrew’s School is a South Australian independent, co-educational specialist primary school providing excellence in education from playgroup through to early years and on to Year 7. Principal Jackie Becher – an International Baccalaureate School – UNESCO Associated School.