As we do all of our lessons live and online with the class, the day actually starts the previous afternoon. Once we’ve finished teaching for the day, we check our planning to see what the following day’s lessons entail. If any sheets need to be printed or drawn out at home, we explain what will be required so that children and parents are ready for the next day.
Instead of packing their books in their bags, they print out the sheets and put them next to their desks. Having foreseen that Distance Learning would be coming to St Petersburg, we acted proactively to send out packs that contained resources such as glue, scissors, pencils, and erasers so the children would have them ready to use when the time came. Nursery included a bean bag and play dough in their packs, tactile resources that they can reuse throughout the coming months.
Every teacher comes online at 8:30 am to post up the timetable for the day that includes a link to Google Meet, which is where the lessons take place. It’s so good to be able to have the face to face interaction and real-time question and answering that occurs in the class.
The children greet each other when they come on. Everyone talks about what we have been doing with our pets, what books we’ve been reading or what we made for dinner. It’s such a pleasure to be on with the teaching assistants who are able to see what the children do on the screen and help individual students. Sometimes they will take smaller groups in order to re-explain and make sure all children fully understand the concepts.
Each class has a lesson of English and Maths every day. The length of the lessons does depend on the age of the children. Alongside this, we have been teaching art, computing, science and humanities lessons. Our specialist music and Russian teachers teach alternative days, the former of which posts up a morning song for children to warm up to in the morning.
Having had the Easter break to consider how the @Home Distance Learning Programme will work, we were able to recalibrate and tailor the existing curriculum so we could teach it with limited parental interaction and focus on the objectives we want the children to learn.
Our headmaster has been posting a lot of exercise videos that children and parents can do in a small confined space. It’s hard when there are families of more than one child to do P.E. sessions in confined spaces, which is why these are done as videos so people can do these in their own time, even on the weekends!
We’ve also put into use a lot of excellent online resources. All children receive their own 1:1 lessons during the week, which is mainly used for reading online. Fluency, vocabulary building, and comprehension are better taught on this basis, providing clear interaction between teacher and pupil.
To wrap up every day, our Head reads a story to all the children. It really is a great way to end the day, with everyone able to take part online. The children’s excitement about being able to see those in their houses or friends from other classes is palpable.
On Friday, we even had our first assembly after the story to learn which house had collected the most house points for the week. If I told you it was the most house points collected over a single week period, it just goes to show how well the students have engaged with all their tasks and how the @Home Distance Learning Programme has been a success for those from Pre-Nursery all the way through to the top of the school.