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Day 1 - Online school

Monday 16 March 2020

A whole new world

As I write I am acutely aware that many of you have been doing this for a number of weeks already. You already had my sympathies for what I could only imagine is a dificult situation but now, after my 1st day, you have a whole new level of respect. It certainly gives creedence to the notion that often you really have to experience something to  understand it. I have ony epxerienced 1 day and so clearly there is much more to come. I dont know how often I'll be able to do this, but I thought I would share some of my experiences as I went, both as a little record and because it might be helpful. Please feel free to add your own experiences in the comments. It would be great to hear from some of you.


What tools was I using?

Teams - Well, like a lot of us, Microsft teams didn't mean anything to me a few weeks ago. 3 weeks ago, after our February holiday, we had asked students who had been in affected areas to stay at home for 14 days and so one of my colleagues teaching higher level wanted to include one of those students in his classes. I would guess that 3 weeks ago he told most of us about teams for the first time. Three weeks later, we ran a whole school on it from home. There was a bit of trouble this morning as it appeared to creak a bit under the pressure. If you are office 365 users then you can all use it (and again, I suspect I am playing catch up here). I have a team for my tutor group and all my classes and so far it has been a really effeective means of communicating. We are asking students and teachers, where posisble, to keep to timetables. Students are asking questions via the chat or via video and we have had a nice sense of community.

Google Docs - I have been a ggole junie for a long time now. Each of my classes has a 'Class journal' which is a simple google doc. I have set it up with headings for each week of the year so it can be easily navigated from the 'View document outline' menu. I put lessons plans, instructions and links etc there as wel as relevant pictures and screen grabs of what we have been doing. My online lessons are outlined there. It seems a bit low tech given the plethora of platforms out there, but having tired most of them I find that the simplicity and flexibitty of this is really effective. Some simple editing makes the look a bit sympathetic and it is really so easily to use. This much has been a degree of continutity.

Email and Managebac - Of course, these staples are established means of communication and I hope (so far so good) to establish clear protocols for use of e-mail now that we have teams.

What are my go to resources?

Well, not surprisingly, I have been making good use of the various InThinking resources I write and co-write. They are really tailor made for this situation. It is worth reminding people here that all InThinking teacher sites are freely available during the current  School Closures & Distance Learning situation. It is easy to set up  Student Access so that your students can have all the acess they need to pages and resources. Please also be reminded that all of the Maths studyIB.net virtual teachers for students are also freely available. These resources are going to be so useful in this situation and I, for one, am really glad to have them.

Mathematics Applications

Explanations, activities, practice exercises, exam style questions and more... Send your students directly to the pages to use the material. This is the new version which is being rapidly developed to cater for the new syllabus. We are pretty well covere for SL and working hard on the HL elements.

Maths Studies

RIght now, this close to exams, the section on revision is particularly useful. As well  though there is of course the explanations, activities, practice exercises, exam style questions and more... Send you students directly to the pages to use the material.

Mathematics Applications - Virtual Teacher

This site is being built, but again has many of the SL topics covered. Video lessons, online quizzes, slides and exam style questions. Hundreds of all of the above. I sometimes worry that my video lessons might actually be better than my live ones.....

Maths Studies - Virtual teacher

This site has video lessons of all the key topics so that students can learn, revise, practice and really prepare themselves for the exams. 

Clearly I have lots of other go to resources and I will get to those in future posts. I am just really glad to have these for now. I have lots of other resources that I want to express my gratitude for in the coming days....

What happened today?

So I started the day by putting together a little daily curiosity message for all secondary students. I twas just thinking about the little things we can do to keep a sense of community.  I think I'll do one of these for every day and hopefully get people thinking first thing.

I played 4 truths and a lie with my tutor group. We do this every Monday with a different student. They wrote them down for me right at the start of the year and pick one at random. First they have to guess who and then the lie. Turns out that was very doable through teams.

Grade 8 did some practice on angles in polygons using some resources I have them last week.

Grade 12 - Maths studies - Well I was incredibly glad of the Revision Packs for Maths Studies today. Actually, in anticipation I gave these to students last week, but we only have the last part of calculus to go and I will use my virtual lessons for that, but this is an ideal oportunity and teams worked well as a medium for question and answer.

Grade 10 - I used this activity about volume of pyramids (all these resource srae also free). I thought it would make a nice change to have something pratcial going on. Students posted photos of their efforst in a google photo album.

Grade 11 - Maths Applications - We are starting some work on modelling (very topical right now of course) and so I set my students the chapters from StudyIB.net on linear functions and fielded questions via teams.

And now some time away from the screen

It has been a hectic day and I have switched off e-mail, teams, managebac etc and am just writing this little summary. I have 4 children who have also just started their onlone school and it was nice to have some actual facetime after school. A little fresh air with the dog, some dinner and then we will settle in to watch M. Macron deliver the latest news. Rumours are that we are in for some confinement. Again, I know that lots of you are used to this, and again, respect!

We'll be adding resources and reminding you of what is alread here pretty regularly over the coming days and weeks and when I get the chance I'll blog about here.... For now, take care all, see you online....

***Please forgive the typos - I'm tired, I'll proof read in the morning

Jim

UPDATE - so confinement is here - 15 days at least.......



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