Distance Learning Programme
In the second semester of 2019-2020, Stonehill moved to online instruction. It was a success but there were areas for improvement. These steps for 2020-2021 are designed to move our Distance Learning model from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
Individual Zoom sessions
More offline work
Daily physical workout
Teaching skills online
WEEKLY EXTENDED HOMEROOM SESSIONS FOR ALL STUDENTS
Every Wednesday, students will be with their homeroom teacher for one full lesson (90 minutes) to focus on Personal and Social Development, Academic Goal-Setting, Digital Citizenship, Service Projects and Approaches to Learning. This will help us build community in the Secondary School and support students in their holistic development.
FOCUS ON APPROACHES TO LEARNING
The first units in M1-M3 (Grade 6-8) will focus on developing AtL skills that are vital for students to succeed during the months of distance learning. These include organization strategies, technology competence, communication expectations, and health and wellbeing.
A SIMPLIFIED DAILY SCHEDULE
Students will have four 90-minute lessons every day. Student schedules will be available on their ManageBac page (under timetable). The simplified and regular schedule will allow for more sustained focus on subjects on given days.
A MORE EFFECTIVE USE OF ZOOM TIME
Zoom sessions should not be used for teachers to lecture at passive students. Within a 90-minute lesson, there will be time for short instructional segments, collaborative work in break-out rooms, small group discussions, etc. More frequent, shortened zoom sessions will be encouraged to allow the students time to work asynchronously as well.
ZOOM SESSIONS TO HELP EVERYBODY
In the new schedule, each class alternates between one early lesson and one late lesson every four days. The teachers will be encouraged to run synchronous zoom sessions during the later lessons every week. We will continue to use the shared spreadsheet to ensure that there are not too many scheduled zoom sessions in one day.
REGULAR FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS
Teachers are being asked to run more frequent, smaller assessments. For every assessment, feedback on performance should be provided on ManageBac. The final grades will take all of these assessments into account rather than relying on infrequent summative tasks.
COMMUNICATION ON MANAGEBAC
For every class (once every two days on the new schedule), updates and instructions will be posted on ManageBac, either as tasks or messages. ManageBac has now also integrated zoom, padlet and other iframe platforms, which will allow us to centralize communication further.
ASSESSMENT OF UNDERSTANDING
Teachers will use fewer ‘knowledge-based tests’ as assessments. Instead, the students will be asked to apply knowledge and skills to new (previously unseen) contexts. This is a far better method of assessing student understanding.
DELIVERY OF PRACTICAL SUBJECTS
Wherever possible, units in practical subjects will be reorganized to ensure that more theoretical units take place early in the year. Product requirements (e.g. art work, music, drama performances, design products) can also be altered to focus on digital skills early in the year. Any practical work assigned will require easily available materials.
FREQUENT PARENT COMMUNICATION
The Principal and Coordinators will set up grade-level parent zoom meetings on a monthly basis to discuss progress, share news , ideas, and listen to feedback. These meetings will begin before school officially starts.
KEEPING FIT: PHE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Physical & Health Education lessons will work on a 3-lesson cycle. In each cycle, students will (1) work on a project-based activity (choreographing movement and updating journals), (2) engage in 30-45 minutes of physical activity (documented or recorded), and (3) work on a self-selected project based fitness challenge.
Personal and Social Development sessions will run on a monthly basis for all homerooms. Individual sessions with counselors and learning support teachers will still be available on a regular basis. Counselors will also run sessions with new students and families early in the academic year.
We now have a wealth of material and resources on best practices for online learning. During orientation in August, teachers were engaged in PD sessions, working with these resources. During the first semester, weekly PD sessions will continue to run with compulsory attendance.