Inglewood Primary School
Before the March 2020 lockdown, Inglewood Primary School was already working on their digital curriculum, upskilling staff and students. Their foundational work was vital in helping them respond to the first lockdown. The response involved creating tailored online learning environments followed by cycles of revision and adaptation. They welcomed the learning opportunities that the planning and delivering of hybrid learning presented for all, ākonga, kaiako and whānau.
Inglewood Primary is a decile 5 primary school catering for 340 students from Year 0 – Year 8. Roll composition is 63% European, 28% Māori, 2% Pacifica and 7% other ethnic groups. There is a positive relationship between the school and its community which is strengthened by the Mutukaroa and Kāhui Ako o Kōhanga Moa initiatives. An active Parent Link organisation supports the staff and the Board in its initiatives and enjoys a positive partnership within the school community.
What we did
Creating our online spaces
Engaging our students through online learning was pushed to the forefront when we entered our first lockdown in 2020. Each team in the school created their own site using Google Sites where we made a bank of resources available for our school community. These sites have been fantastic, as they are up and running and only need small touch-ups every so often to keep up to date. It’s a great place to be able to send our whānau if they are looking for resources to support their children’s online learning at home. The Google Sites are broken up into year levels, so it is easy for parents to access the correct work level for their children. Children are also able to work at higher or lower levels with ease, by selecting a different year level site, so all children can access the curriculum at their level. As our online/hybrid learning approach has continued over into 2021 and ongoing through 2022, we have continued to use what we started with and have made adaptations to improve on what we are providing to our whānau and tamariki.
All teachers, Senior Leaders and Support Staff were involved in the creation of these online learning spaces. Our team was able to contribute to and access the site for their select age or group of students. There were some specific elements that were included in all group pages, with other content being added that teachers felt was important for their students’ learning and to promote engagement for not just the students, but the whole whānau.
We have multiple different spaces for our online learners. We have them based around their curriculum level and age groups. These spaces cater for our learners from Year 0-8, our students with advanced, yet complex needs, and also a space for our parents to go to.
Online Learning for Year 0-4
While the sites that we had created were used for extra resources, and a great ‘one stop shop’ for those wanting more, our teachers found Seesaw a great tool to support class learning. Teachers would often do a daily check in during the morning and have set activities for their students. The activities chosen enabled us to maintain some consistency with what our in-class programme would look like.
Online Learning for Year 5-8
Students are encouraged to engage in their online activities provided by the teacher. These are through Google Classroom, where weekly slide decks are uploaded by the teacher for students to work through. It also allows students to work at their own pace and find what interests them to work on. They also have access to the Google Sites that teachers created back in 2020, which students can use to assist in their current lessons.
Preparing our students for Online Learning
» Years 0-4: In class, currently and throughout the year, activities are being completed on Seesaw. These activities that are selected by the teacher support and supplement our classroom programmes. The children are learning how to log into their Seesaw accounts, find the activities set by the teacher, complete their activities, and post them to their Seesaw page. Parents are enjoying this also, as they can follow what their children are learning during instructional class times, based on what they are posting.
» Years 3-6: Students all have their own sheet that has their username and password information, as well as Seesaw sign in and QR Code. These slips are sent home with the children at the beginning of the year and the teacher has extra copies at school so that if children need to learn at home, they have the information to be able to access their accounts. It’s also quick and easy for teachers to be able to find if it has gone missing.
» Years 5-8: During this term we have been running our hybrid model. We decided to do this before COVID-19 hit our class and before children were away, so that they were confident in what to do when at home. The task slide deck the learners’ access through Google Classroom is the same for children at school and at home.
All tasks are digitised so that there are no access problems.
We ran a survey for our learners recently about class work, how easily accessible it is and if they liked the format. The feedback was really positive. The students that are coming back after a week or more away didn’t feel disjointed or behind as they were able to work alongside the rest of the class from home. Parents have been positive too; there was no stress, students knew what to do!
What we learned
Our journey through online and hybrid learning has been filled with learning for our teachers and whānau alike.
We know that less is more – especially for the younger years. When we gave our students and whānau too much, it became too much for them. By taking it back to the basics – family time, family fun and a bit of learning on top of that, we had much more engagement and children completing the tasks set via Seesaw. When there was too much on offer, it became daunting and too much for students and whānau to know ‘where to start’.
During our 2020 lockdown, we had weekly class Zooms for the children to connect with one another. While the students enjoyed seeing their classmates, some families with more than 2-3 children found this very time consuming. During the 2021 lockdown we changed to Zoom Clubs instead of class Zooms. This worked well as teachers were able to host as many in a week as they wanted – some only one, some more.
The list of Zoom Clubs went up at the beginning of the day with all the links. They were held at the same time every day and there were a range of activities to choose from: scavenger hunts, drawing, Kahoot quizzes, Kim’s games, joke club, listening to a novel, fitness workouts... something for everyone!
Our Change Strategy
We had already developed sound structure and systems within our teaching spaces and were upskilling our staff in digital curriculum and fluency. As a staff we felt we had ‘one foot on the bus’, COVID-19 hit and then the next thing we knew, we were all onboard, regardless of the seat we were sitting in.
We had some wonderful gems that came out of our learning journey too:
- Creating our sites for the Online Learning Hub has meant that everyone has now had some form of learning in regard to the Google Site. Professional development on the go! Every teacher has added, changed, and adapted their team’s site in some way. While some were not super confident with their computer skills, they were still able to take part. There were some teachers who were very keen and capable with Google Sites and some teachers held their own Zoom sessions to give lessons on how to use Google Sites.
- Changing our Zooms to ‘Clubs’ during the second lockdown in 2021, allowed for teachers to share their interests with students in the school that they didn’t normally get to see. Teachers were also popping into other Zoom Clubs and participating which was encouraging for the host.
- We were able to see what students really enjoyed in the online learning, and when returning to school, they enjoyed having the opportunity to be the class ‘Seesaw Expert’ sharing their knowledge on completing and posting activities.
- Having the Google Sites has meant that for new staff coming into school, they are already set up with the bulk of their online learning. This takes that pressure off them as they only have to set up their usual Seesaw class. New teachers can go on and have a look at what is set up, adding their new knowledge if they wish, but knowing that we are all supporting our students the same way.
Where to next?
We will continue to share our learning with others. Our collaborative approach to learning within the school ensures ideas and knowledge is shared with everyone. While we’re happy with what we have for our whole school whānau, we are always keen to take on new ideas for learning. We then review this learning to see if it is something that we would like to use or adapt as we continue developing our online learning space.
- Continually review: how can we continue to support our whānau with online/hybrid learning and engagement?
- Benefit of Professional Development for all staff without even knowing it!