WEEK 10 NEWS - TERM 1
Dear Parents and Carers
ARE YOU OK?
I acknowledge the challenges that many of our families may be facing currently and would like to offer the support of the school and a range of external services. If you have any questions please call the office, send an email or come and see me personally.
Last week saw the NSW Government take significant new steps to increase restrictions across the state - including encouraging parents to keep their children at home, if possible. Our absence rate rose from 16% Monday, 17% Tuesday, 78% Wednesday, 84% Thursday, 87% Friday while yesterday saw 98% of our students absent. A reminder that our school will still be open for children for parents who cannot provide suitable supervision.
Last week we quickly but calmly and professionally distributed learning packs, computers and chargers for students from Kindergarten to Year 6 to begin their particular Stage’s unit of work. The work is the same work whether working from home or at school. The learning platforms for Stage 2 and Stage 3 classes are Google Classroom. This platform allows us to connect students, teachers and families to work together to support online learning. We acknowledge that this process may be overwhelming to some families and we encourage you to reach out for advice and support by contacting your child’s teacher at the school.
TECH TIME WITH MR JONES
Mr Jones will be available Monday to Thursday to support parents/carers to access and troubleshoot technology platforms and to request advice. Please telephone 66466149. Requests for support can also be sent by email to: email@example.com
WEEKLY PHONE CALLS
Parents can expect the school staff to contact them with a phone call each week as learning from home continues. It will be a quick call to check in with progress as well as student and family wellbeing.
With just minimal students now remaining at school, students have been placed into the one group. We will still abide by social distancing measures and have teacher supervision. Our staff are working hard to develop a continuation of learning plans. Teachers are also undertaking further ‘Learning At Home’ professional learning. Teachers are also available to change over books, answer concerns and help you through this difficult time.
Please log onto our Iluka Public School Facebook site around 10.00 am each day for a live stream. Our Facebook site will also have book reading time by our staff. The aim is to continue to keep our community updated as information comes to hand.
A friend of a friend of a friend sent me this;
You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing... Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for 4 weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends. Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behaviour issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally - it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances. What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be OK. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing. Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be OK. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do maths. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it. If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during this period. So keep that in mind, every single day. Stay safe.” Be kind to you and your children as we all learn how to navigate through this interesting time.
iPADS AND LAPTOPS FOR LOAN
The school is willing to assist parents connect to the Internet. We can lend you the school equipment. How can I help you in this area? What can we do to help you get online? Call me to discuss your internet needs.
These times are challenging for all of us and we will endeavour to assist in any way we can. Our teachers are here to support you and your child as we transition to an online learning community. Call us!
CLASS K NEWS
It was good to catch up with families yesterday through either personal discussions or via phone calls. It was great to hear that students and families are handling the current circumstances well.
Learning Packs - The Kindergarten learning packs have been designed for students and parents to transition to home learning, without causing stress to either the child or the adult implementing the work. Thank you for being so positive and appreciative of the learning packs that have gone home. It seems like everyone has the right idea - doing some learning in the morning and then having quality family time doing other activities. Home Readers - At the moment I am not concerned about recording the books that have been read, but rather that students are continuing to have books to read. A table, with a collection tub, has been set up near the school entrance for returned books to be placed in. Books will then be sanitized and returned to the table for collection the following morning.
CLASS 1/2 NEWS
I hope you are finding some little routines at home now. Remember, it is not going to be a 9 - 3 day, especially for the younger children. We have all been turned upside down and our routines snavelled away from us. We are all in uncharted waters, so we need to remember to not be too hard on ourselves and others. The children have school work to do but it has to fit into your home lives and there will be no set pattern for everyone. Maybe, this is a time for us to slow down and think about the really important aspects of our lives. Perhaps it is time to schedule that daily walk together as a family, play a board game together, sit outside and listen to all of the amazing birds that live around us or even start a little veggie patch in a garden bed or a few pots. Try some activities that help calm the mind and keep you relaxed. Please keep in mind that I am here to support you in whatever capacity I can. I rang families earlier in the week to arrange times that they can come to the school (this Thursday/ Friday) and exchange readers and drop in any work to be marked. You could ring the school to arrange a time if you haven’t done so already.
Stay positive… we will get through this together. Di
CLASS 3/4 NEWS
I hope everyone is coping okay under these difficult conditions we currently find ourselves in and that you are all safe and in good health, both physically and mentally. Please do not be afraid to reach out for help if you are struggling as there are many services available to assist. If it is education-related, please just call or email the school as we are here to help too.
Year 3/4 have very quickly moved into online learning via Google Classroom. It has been a very steep learning curve for both students and myself. I cannot emphasize how impressed with and proud of the students I am for their ability to adapt at such short notice. For those who haven’t connected with us yet, I hope to see you online soon. Students need to login to their DET portal using their username and password (it is firstname.lastname, some with a number after their last name). They then need to find G Suite, followed by Google Classroom.
Please don’t feel overwhelmed by the activities set for students. I set tasks for students to complete at their own leisure and there is certainly no pressure to complete every single task. It is up to parents what they feel comfortable with and what fits into your daily life. Keep up the unusual family things like watching a movie, playing outside with a ball and riding a bike, because too much screen time is not ideal. Some days there may be no learning and other days will be rewarding. There will be times of melt-downs and feelings of helplessness (myself included), but together we will tackle this situation and do our very best to come out the other side stronger and more resilient. Please, if you need any assistance, reach out.
I wish you all the very best,
CLASS 5/6 NEWS
Firstly I would like to start by saying a very big thank you to all the families for your patience, support and effort, during these uncertain times. Like yourselves I am trying hard to work out, how to best keep the students engaged and motivated.
I have sent class booklets home to all the students in the class. These booklets were targeted at a level that I thought the students would be able to complete independently. I have also been using Google Classroom with the students to try and keep the connection. We have and are continuing to try multiple platforms to see which one would best suit.Our live Stream allows me to practice being able to teach live lessons, I endeavour to listen to their progressions in reading and maths. It is also a great way for them to communicate with each other, as it is supervised conversations with the whole class. To enable fairness and equity, all the students in the class were offered a laptop to take home to connect to their classroom and live streams. I believe that communication and feedback are essential, I have tried to make contact with all the families to check-in. I will be contacting the rest of the parents and their families tomorrow. I have also been obtaining feedback from the students. The students' feedback indicated that they liked the live streams and preferred set times. The set time to be online is 11:30 am each weekday. All students can log into their classroom and click on the link or invite that will be provided each day, to participate in streaming.
If you need anything. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the school or via my email. All the students have access to my email account. In case they have forgotten it, it is attached to the front of their student workbooks.
It is important to remember:
Schoolwork should not be stressful for anybody! It should not create anxiety nor should it be an excuse for your child to partake in an all-day screen time on the computer.
LIBRARY / TECHNOLOGY
Wow, what a crazy week and a half it has been. Everything we thought about normal life is certainly being flipped on its head. My wife is now completely working from home 3 days a week with her students online and many of our students at our school are doing the same. We have been doing a lot of experimenting with different platforms trying to find the ideal platform for users to connect online via face to face video conferencing. Tomorrow I will be trying to connect students in year 3/4/5/6 via Zoom which is an online video conferencing platform that is free. More details will be posted on the Google Classroom for students to connect through. This meeting will be at 11:00 am tomorrow.
The school is currently in the process of signing the students from K-2 up for Reading Eggs and also Mathseeds. These are age-appropriate online platforms that provide students fun and exciting learning activities to their leveled ability. Once I have this organised I will send out login details. Both of these programs work really well through the company's specially designed apps for both iPad's and Tablets.
There are now some links up on our website that show you what stage 2 and 3 students are doing in their Google Classroom and what online programs they are using. There are also links to videos on how the students will be using Google Classroom and also how students can access their student portal. More information and videos will be posted regularly to these areas so bookmark the pages for future reference.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page as this will be regularly updated with videos, links and important messages.
Keep safe and hang in there everyone, Mr Jones.