It was the 31st of August and we were going back to school. I was quite excited but something was different this year. Covid- 19 was here and everyone had to social distance, use hand sanitiser, wear a mask and stay at home. Also we were getting a new classroom so 5th and 6th class had to go to Garrymore. That was ok because now we have an astroturf pitch to play in and if it’s raining we play basketball in the hall. Mr. Ó Beirn laid out the class so cousins are beside each other. We still have the chromebooks and Mr. Ó Beirn put wifi in the hall. We also have ukuleles and we are starting them soon. Even though we are in difficult times, I’m very happy that we are back to school.
At the end of our last Zoom lesson the girls in the Senior Room read notes they had written for Aoife, Kellyann and Ruby while the boys sent best wishes to Abdul, Bradley, Cathal and Evan. During your time in Gortskehy you brought a smile to school every day and will be such an asset to Mount St. Michael and St. Colman’s. Beir bua agus beannacht go deo. We’ll miss you.
This is the story of Noel Joyce an unfortunate hurler who, following a bang to the head, managed to score an own goal and lose the county final for his team. We planned it as part of our weekly Zoom lessons. The pupils recorded their allocated lines at home and we stitched the clips together to create this final video.
This short video is a snapshot of how we used Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown.
From our experience over the past few weeks, here are some practical tips which may be helpful to other schools.
– Set up one recurring Zoom meeting for all sessions and have pupils register before joining. In this way, the same link and meeting ID works for all sessions. Having pupils register also means that the results from Zoom meeting polls are linked to each pupil in your class.
– Set up breakout rooms by class (boys/girls). Before most of our Zoom lessons pupils log in early so they can chat to each other privately in the group breakout rooms. Some also chat together after each lesson and it’s a great social aspect to the Zoom Education platform.
– At the start of each lesson click on the ‘Participants’ button and ask pupils to raise their virtual hand to make sure they all can hear you.
– Mute all microphones at the start of the lesson. Pupils can unmute their own microphones as required.
– Use the Chat feature for feedback and to check for understanding. This is useful on a number of levels:
1) everyone is engaged at the same time;
2) feedback is private so pupils don’t have to worry about being unsure of the answer;
3) the teacher can accurately assess who understands the particular concept and who doesn’t.
– Bring in a guest speaker. Almost every community has some friend or family members living abroad so there’s great excitement in interviewing them on Zoom.
– Sharing video can have mixed results depending on the quality of the pupils’ internet connection. Maybe, try podcasts instead. Get the children to write two or three questions in their copies as they listen. Have a Q & A session after every 10 minutes using the pupil questions to keep the lesson interactive. Check out Imagined Life and American Innovations
– In a multi-class setting, maths lessons are best held in individual class groups. All other subject lessons work fine in common.
– Team teaching on Zoom with the SEN teacher works great.