It is difficult to grapple with the very real changes we have had in our lives over the last month and are planning for in the foreseeable future. I read a quote the other day "What a long year March turned out to be!" So very true. We pray every day for the health and wellbeing of our Corpus Christi community during this time. We pray for the health and wellbeing of our world and for all of us to be able to envisage a time after these extraordinary times. We pray that we can continue to make meaningful connections with our loved ones and our communities during this time. We pray that we can continue to grow in positive wellbeing and life long learning and in doing so, not just cope but cope very well with the exponential changes we are facing.
Learning At Home
First of all, I have watched in awe this week as parents (my husband included) have adapted (lets say juggled) the transition into Learning at Home, Working from Home and general Life at Home. I have been a big fan of the discussion focusing on maintaining balance and having a fairly explicit schedule that draws a line definitelyr a time line but ideally a physical line) between these many facets of our daily lives that are now being conducted under the same roof. I pre-empt the details that we will unpack in this newsletter with the statement that it must be in the context of promoting household wellbeing. During this time of crisis, anguish, uncertainty and isolation; self-care and care of those we love, now more than ever should also be front and centre. The Student Welfare section of this newsletter will expand on this more.
Firstly, do not forget to provide the 2 weeks holiday time. No school means no Home Learning. It doesn't mean you can't do projects together and reading everyday is assumed but there is no need for formal learning from school. Have fun and make the most of the time together.
Term 2 Home Learning
We believe the current context will continue into the new term and and we have been preparing to stream line the delivery of home learning for parents. We want to unpack this for parents in this newsletter. Over the last two weeks and into next week, we have provided home learning packs via parent email with the option to pick up a paper copy from the school. We recognise that providing these learning packs through the parent email may not allow student to independently access the online version of these packs (especially relevant to the older grades). Also, the emails have a tendency to be corrupted, be delayed in their delivery or disappear entirely.
We are proposing that we provide the learning packs (still as PDFs/ word documents) via a website platform attached to the school website (see the image).
We can also use the website to provide links to explicit teaching videos that our staff are currently developing. These teaching videos might have instructions and demonstrations to the maths, guided reading, spelling or phonics for the week and may even have snippets of greetings from the classroom teacher so that the students can see their teacher online, anytime they want. This is the Anytime learning that David will talk about in the Teaching and Learning Update later in the newsletter. Studnets can click on the videos as often as needed to consolidate the learning.
As an example of the website platform we have populated the Year 2 page with the learning they have been provided with this week. Please note this is a trial and I thank Mrs Conserdyne and Year 2 for being our test case. Parents might like to go to the web page link below, go to the home learning tab and drop down to Year 2 Term 2 page to have a look at what it might look like come the beginning of next term. The password is 2298
Mark the web page as a favourite and pretty soon the students will access it themselves.
Paper Copies : We still intend to have paper copies of the Home Learning packs available at the office for thos parents unable to access the learning online. We will run these off according to need but hopefully as things settle in the home learning routines, students will become more confident with accessing their learning online.
Real Time Learning - Of course our older students will maintain contact through zoom meetings with their teachers (real time learning) but in terms of our K - 6 platform, we believe the web page access will be more accessible and efficient than the current email interchange. This does not mean that parents cannot contact teachers via emails but they will not be forced to email over accessing the work, nor will they need to open their email every time the children want to see the learning pack from their teacher.
To Print or Not to Print?
Of course we will always have some paper copies for parents to pick up from school. Even then, I would encourage older students to continue to practice copying some of the work into the exercise books so that they are continuing to develop the organisation and transfer skills this requires.
To Mark or not to Mark?
The first is used to allow student to share the work with another person to demonstrate that they have engaged with and completed the task set. This can be done by any adult available in the Home learning environment (lots of stickers and praise). When they have done so, the adult ticks off that task on the Weekly Learning Schedule. If the child has particularly struggled with the lesson itself, we ask parents to make a note and email the teacher directly (if they are infants) or bring up the problem at the next Zoom meeting with their teacher (if they are primary).
Teachers are currently up skilling in the use of Microsoft Forms to formulate tasks that aim to assess student understanding of a concept that might be worked on over a week. The quiz based form will be emailed to students directly and they will complete this independently. Parents may also be emailed a request to support this by being aware that it is an assessment task and ensuring the work is that of the students. The teacher receives the data back automatically with their email being the identifier. At this stage this is a long term plan for home learning that we will begin to implement in the new term.
To help or not help?
Pupil Free Day
We have been informed that the last four days of terms will be Pupil Free Days. The letter (Thursday's Update) from the Director of schools is attached below. Essentially this makes today, Friday 3rd April, the last day of term for students. What does this actually look like with the current context?
Supervision (supervision only) will be provided next week for students who NEED to attend because there is NO reasonable supervision in the home due to both parents working in ESSENTIAL ROLES offsite. All other children with reasonable care at home will be best to stay home in accordancee with the premier's advice to stay home. All student attendance will be marked as Pupil Free Day (instead of the Flexible attendance we have been marking this week).
There will be no obligation to engage with Home Learning packs. Instead, students will be free to pursue their own endeavours and interests. They are welcome to work on some of the tasks from previous weeks that they have not yet completed and are particularly engaged with. We may even throw some Easter craft activities your way which will build excitement for whatever Easter brings us this year. This is more to help ease some boredom that may emerge as opposed to required learning. We have them ready, so we might as well send them.
The teachers will take the opportunity next week to complete and consolidate the PD that will continue to equip them with the provision of the Home Learning packs next term, with a particular focus online. We are also attempting to align the maths scope and sequence so that we have families with more than one sibling covering similar concepts and maybe complete some tasks together. All our efforts will ensure we provide the best possible Learning from Home opportunities into the next term and for as long as is necessary.
A final thought.
I could not be more proud of our community working together (albeit remotely) at this time but I am missing the face to face community we share as well. The support from families has been incredible and the ground already covered in connecting the home learning with the school site has been extraordinary. The commitment from staff as they continue to adapt to changing goal posts has been amazing and I am in awe of the exponential growth in their PD and openness to the Home Learning context. While we may make occasional errors and misdirections as we attempt to navigate these waters, these are done in the pursuit of best practice in the current context. We are all exhausted. We are all scrambling and we are all trying to adapt. I am not sure what form it will take but I do hope you all allow yourselves to break over the Easter weekend and for students to break during the holidays to re-calibrate and prepare for Term 2, in whatever form that takes.
Be safe and Be well, Be Thankful and Be Brave. We are here and will continue to be so.
Part of a CSO resource focusing on the Continuity of learning has significant focus on wellbeing with tips and links for Family to be mindful of this in the coming weeks, perhaps months. The resource itself is rather large and overwhelming, so i have extracted some tips for parents to reflect on for this week. (outlined below).
We will also be creating a Wellbeing page on the Home Learning link on the school website (as mentioned in the Principals Report). The Wellbeing tab will have activities, games and reflection that students and families can engage with that will help us to articulate, be mindful, promote and celebrate wellbeing at this time.
Tips for parents of younger children:
Be available to talk and reassure: Children can have big questions, and it’s okay to answer them. Take cues from your child and offer clear but concise answers in developmentally appropriate language. Keep the focus on what you are doing to prepare and prevention strategies that are within your control like proper hand-washing and avoiding large crowds.
- Manage your own feelings: Children will use you as a role model on how we should be feeling at this time. Let go of any concerns about your children's academic outcomes and focus on ensuring that they feel safe. The quality of your relationship is of primary importance during these stressful times.
- Limit news exposure: Even when it seems like they’re not listening, children pick up on what they hear on TV and radio. Hearing unfamiliar words like pandemic and outbreak can be fear-inducing. Opt for watching or listening to news reports when your child is in bed or choose to read news articles if possible. This may also include limiting our conversations about what we are hearing on the news. Reassure children that doctors and government officials are working hard to make sure families stay safe.
- Stick to routines and boundaries: Children thrive with routines and boundaries, and predictability can be very comforting in anxious times. When some things feel out of control, routines can give them a sense of security. Write your daily routine on a whiteboard or make a paper schedule together and make sure that you include fun activities in your daily routine!
- Acknowledge the worries: It’s completely okay to acknowledge our children's worries rather than ignoring them. Acknowledging worries won’t solidify them but it will help your child understand that worry is a protective feeling that alerts us to potential danger. The smoke alarm analogy can be helpful when explaining anxiety. Smoke alarms are really helpful for alerting us to danger when there’s a fire and we need to get out of the building. But sometimes smoke alarms go off even when there isn’t a big danger, like when we burn toast. Anxiety does the same thing, telling us that there is a big danger, even if the situation is not that big. Be aware that children's anxiety may manifest as psychosomatic symptoms such as stomach aches.
- Take time to play & practice gratitude: Make time to enjoy being active together, laughing together, enjoy each other's company.
This weeks App Focus - Smiling Mind
This app has short meditations and mindful practices arranged according to age groups. The attached link is a blog about wellbeing during the current crisis. From her you will be able to download the app and access short relaxation activities and longer meditations. Many of the teachers are including Smiling mind activities as part of their home learning packs.
I hope you are all well. The best thing about teaching is the children. The next best thing are those ‘aaah’ moments we see each day when children experience success when they master or learn something new; yet in the current climate the physical school is not the same place it. The community and family feel has fragmented. Or has it? We must explore new ways of sharing those joyous moments with each other.
One of my university friends became ‘School of the Air’ teacher. She often spoke of the joy in learning, the friendships that developed between teacher and students in remote areas of Australia. Despite their isolated existence there was still a sense of community. Fast forward to 2020, Coavid-19 and here we are, isolated not because of our location but for our own safety.
The staff our Corpus Christi have embraced the challenges of Home Learning with great enthusiasm. A true testament to the professionalism of the staff. Like a good leader who adjusts their leadership style to maximise their colleagues potential, a teacher needs to constantly adjust their pedagogical practices (the way we teach) to suit the needs of our students. That is more apparent now then ever before. Teachers are rapidly completing Professional Development, exploring new ideas to create new opportunities for children who are learning from home.
There has been a strong shift across all school to a more computer-mediated communication (CMC) platform with the children. I’m sure that you can well appreciate that the older stage 3 students at Corpus Christi are more at ease with this greater reliance on technology to communicate and learn. Teachers are creating different ways and means for passing on the content. We will always need your help. As this progresses you will come to know more about your child’s learning. Making sure they complete their assigned work and as well as ensuring that they step away from the screens as often as possible.
Depending on the grade and stage you are going to blend of two kinds of pedagogy. Real-time Learning and Any-time Learning. Known as Synchronous and Asynchronous learning, Real-time and Any-time learning both have different merits.
Synchronous learning happens in Real-time. The learners typically log on to an interactive (two way) online platform, such as a web video conferencing program like Zoom to engage with the teacher and their peers immediately. This can broaden their understanding of the topic with Real-time instruction and discussion. It is an ideal option for unmotivated learners who need a more collaborative online experience.
Asynchronous learning happnes any time in that it is accessible anytime it is needed and can be repeated again and again. This is the exact opposite of Synchronous learning. Learners are able to complete modules whenever they like, regardless of whether other members of the online class are logged on. They are given the tools and information they need, but must decide when and how they will use these online resources to achieve their learning goals. With that being said, there are usually deadlines and schedules that a learner must follow. For example, they may have to turn in their online work by the end of each week. Another strong benefit of Anytime learning is the ability for constant revision of work. Great for revising work and working at a comfortable pace would have more time to process information and their critical thinking.
Real-time (synchronous) Learning is exciting. Students get immediate feedback from their teacher and peers. Real-time Learning does provide opportunities for social interaction with students, and it helps to alleviate that sense of separation between students and teachers. Given that most students in stage 3 are familiar with schoolwork on devices, utilizing OneNote to access class store class work, Real-time Learning is a key motivating pedagogy for them. For the younger students who aren’t as skilled in CMC, Any-time Learning with links to video snippets that can be watched over and over again, (an added bonus to the family) is likely to be more suited to them as they consolidate first steps in learning.
The key to any success is for the family unit to help provide positive feedback and break down that sense of isolation.
Interaction with the teacher and the family unit a key element for successful Home Learning for all students. Social and student interaction is a critical factor in the learner’s satisfaction and academic achievement. Together we need to strive for high levels of motivation whilst promoting a positive attitude towards learning so that our children can achieve and succeed in Their Time.
Stay safe everyone. We continue to hold all of you in our thoughts and prayers.
Welcome to Holy Week
It is a privilege to fulfil the role of Acting Religious Education Coordinator at Corpus Christi for the next two terms. Now more than ever, we are blessed to belong to a Catholic educational community. Please remember we are all walking this journey together and can lean upon each other for support during this unfamiliar time.
Fortunately, our Dominican values of Prayer, Learning, Service and Community are shining through and the dedicated staff at Corpus Christi are here to ensure each child and family feels comforted, reassured and supported.
During the coming weeks, we have an unique opportunity to spend extra time with our loved ones and to truly celebrate the richness of being part of a Catholic community. Although we are unable to gather in traditional ways at Mass or school Liturgies, we can draw strength from the lessons learnt during Jesus’ life, and use this knowledge to guide us during times of uncertainty.
This week we celebrate the important events of Holy Week, in the lead up to Easter. During the Easter season the Church rejoices in the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. Let’s make sure we use this time of instability and change to reflect and become more oriented towards spiritual growth and strengthen our faith as a Catholic community.
Easter is a great reminder that Christ died and rose once and for all and for each one of us. Particularly this year, Easter presents an opportunity for conversation and family togetherness. Let’s celebrate the true meaning of the holiday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and use all the lessons of his life to guide us through the coming weeks of change, adaptation and diversity.
Wishing you and your family good health, happiness and strength as we make our way through this time together as a community of Catholic faith.
What Is Palm Sunday?
“Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Saviour and King.
As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’"
What Is Good Friday?
Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our
sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5)."
What Is Easter?
Easter is a very significant date within Christianity and is the foundation of the Christian faith. Jesus, the Son of God, fulfilled prophecy and
A prayer For Home:
Lord let your love flow over me
Lord let your cleansing love flow over me Like water over pebbles on a riverbed
Let it wear away the rough edges of selfishness.
Of anger, of envy and of sin.
Lord let your gentle love flow over me
Like water over pebbles on a riverbed
Let it heal, refresh and cleanse my inner self,
So that I may once again feel wholeness and joy.
Lord let your energising love flow over me
Like water over pebbles on a riverbedLet it sparkle and shine in the sunlight
Revealing the goodness of your spirit within.
Lord let your love flow over me
Lord let your love heal me!
©Barbara Ann Bretherton ”Prayers at your fingertips” .
Mrs Lisa York
Religious Education Coordinator (Acting)
A Snapshot of our incredible journey so far....
We would like to share some of the inspiring, creative (and yes…sometimes overwhelming!) home learning journeys we have been on over the last two weeks. Congratulations to all parents, caregivers and students for the fantastic way you have
adjusted to these extraordinary circumstances.
Our dedicated teachers should also be acknowledged for the manner in which they have professionally and flexibly adjusted their teaching programs and delivery. Staff have worked tirelessly to ensure a seamless (as much as could be expected) transition for students, ensuring a range of engaging activities have been provided to all students.
As this new reality sinks in, here is a snapshot of the way families have been juggling feeding, supervising, entertaining and teaching their children at home. It’s no small thing you’re doing and we should all be celebrating our successes this week!