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(Update) Week eleven - Coronavirus shutdown (3/6/20)
Good morning everyone! After half term week last week, we are now settling in and trying to organise the gradual return to school and what that might look like for us. Yesterday, I met up with the rest of the year 6 team and Mr Campbell to look at ways in which we can make everyone as safe as possible whilst trying to get back into some form of normality. As I'm sure you can all understand, this is really challenging! It is also the reason we haven't opened for year 6 (outside of keyworker children) yet.
I can pass on some of the details that I am sure will be in place on returning to school. Below is a photograph of the classroom at the minute.
As you can see, it is not set out like normal. The lines on the floor indicate 2m distances that we have to stay apart and each child will be at a table on their own. There are 8 tables in the class, meaning that the class size will be severely limited. The classes will end up having playtimes and lunchtimes together, but not with the other groups in 6SS and 6DB. Lunch will be in class, at tables and there will be lots and lots of handwashing and following hygiene rules.
It is quite different isn't it?! Not the nicest way to teach and learn, but it hopefully minimises contact and maximises our chances of staying clear of this nasty virus.
I tried to ring all parents yesterday, but in some cases couldn't get through. I did manage to speak to many of my parents and will be sending out messages today to those I couldn't speak to directly. I even managed to talk to a few children...which was great! Cosmin is bored...I bet a lot of you are starting to feel that way :) Also, apologies to the godparents, grandparents and family friends I rang by mistake. The printout of the phone numbers didn't put parents at the top so I ended up talking to other emergency contacts. I had a lovely conversation with Sam's grandmother. One of the highlights of my day :D
My intention is to keep putting the work we are doing up on the website so that those who aren't in school can still access their learning. I think its important to repeat though...keep reading! If nothing else, make sure you read every day. It is the thing that will have the most impact in secondary school. If you can read, you can learn independently...so keep reading!!!
The future is still unclear and nothing is set in stone. We are desperate to get everyone back into schools and start our learning again, but we are also, first and foremost, absolutely committed to making sure everyone is safe . With that in mind, all parents will be contacted directly by the school with information about any potential reopening. It won't be announced on my website page, but I will obviously continue updating with any news and information as soon as I can.
Phew! With the school part over, I'll just leave you with a bit about what I've been up to. With the lockdown...not much! Nothing much has changed - it's a bit like Groundhog Day (ask your parents...it is an old film). Still exercising, still walking...still being driven to exhaustion by two young children! Lilly turned 8 months old and is now moving like a seal across the floor! I'll post a pic below. Now we have to make sure Alex picks up his toys because if there's one thing a baby will do with a toy...they will always put it straight in their mouth! Still lovely to have the chance to see her grow up. Every cloud has a silver lining!
Keep safe everyone!
(Update) Week nine - Coronavirus shutdown (18/5/20)
Good morning! Another week down and it looks like the end of this stage may be nearing. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that things may start going back to normal soon - but we have to remember to be sensible with whatever steps towards normality we make. Keeping our distance and following basic hygiene rules is still a must!
With that in mind, it does look like we may be headed back to school sooner rather than later in year 6. This will probably not be a return to complete normality, but we'll have to wait and see on a plan...I certainly don't know how it will work. On a similar note, I will be going into school this week for two afternoons to look after the children that have had to come into school over the lock-down period. The weather looks good so I'm hoping that we might get outside for a fair amount of time.
I've had an email or two this week from members of the class. As ever, it's great to hear from you, even if I cannot always reply directly to messages from children (if you do want a reply outside of this blog, please ask your parents to contact me on Class Dojo, I is easier for me to reply to parents on that than directly respond to children through emails). I really liked Anastasija's email with her daily timetable! Thanks for that. I think you're doing a great job trying to learn from home! Keep it up.
As for me, I've not really done a huge amount different this week. I'm still exercising, still playing with the children, still reading lots! Hopefully we'll see each other fairly soon and I'll be able to catch up on what you've all been up to.
Stay safe everyone
(Update) Week eight - Coronavirus shutdown (11/5/20)
Good morning everyone! I hope you are all well. I'll assume by now that you all managed to see the Prime Minister's message yesterday (or at least caught the general gist of it) and have heard the message about year R, 1 and 6 coming back to school on the 1st June. Now, how this will all work out, we still don't know. We are waiting to hear the message as much as all of you are, so we are still carrying on as we have been doing until that happens.
On that basis, I'm going to carry on with my little weekly blog and enjoy it while I can :D This week not a huge amount has changed - we did manage to get out the paddling pool on Saturday and have some fun in the garden with the sprinkler. Then Sunday happened and we were back in coats! What a change in the weather over 2 days! Spring can be funny like that.
Thanks to Yessu for emailing this week! You did some amazing artwork! Absolutely stunning! I am so impressed! I'll put your pictures up below. It is great to see that work is going on, even if the school building is closed. I went into school this week, it is quite surreal with everyone not there! I did manage to see Mrs Young (which was lovely!) and had a chat with Mr Campbell about what was going on. Mrs Young has sent us some lovely snaps of what she and her family have been up to during lock-down. I'll put them up below with a couple of my own.
Hopefully, next week we will have more information about what the situation for coming back to school will be, but until then we'll carry on with our social distancing and try our best to keep this virus at bay.
Stay safe everyone!
All small selection of the pictures Yessu has been doing.
Mrs Young and her children (Flynn and Cerys) showing off their baking skills (I think for the VE day celebrations)
Lilly wasn't too sure about the paddling pool! She was absolutely sure about (hating) the bow in her hair! Alex showing off his scones that he helped to make.
Midweek update 2! (6/5/20)
Wow! A second update for the blog in the space of two days. Thanks to Erika's mum for sending some pictures of what they've been up to. It sounds like great fun learning to make coffee (if only I could train my three year old to do this!) and lots of art work to go with their learning.
Here are a few photos of what they've been up to.
Midweek update! (5/5/20)
Quick update to add a few photos that have been sent in!
The first are of some of the work that Yessu has been doing, which looks amazing! Very neat Yessu, keep up the great work!
The next batch come from Amy who has been doing lots of different things, I particularly like the cooking one Amy! Looks delicious!
More photos for our page please! All are welcome :D
Stay safe everyone,
(Update) Week seven - Coronavirus shutdown (4/5/20)
Another week down! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm beginning to lose track of what day it is most of the time! We haven't really changed anything about what we are doing...lots of reading, lots of playing with superhero-mashers (thank you to Mrs Young's son for gifting those to Alex!) and lots of trying to keep 2 young children occupied! This thing is a marathon, not a sprint though, so we'll keep plodding on regardless :)
There's another week of work linked below to help out those of you who are keeping up at this time. I hope it is proving useful to you. We'll keep on giving work each week while this is going on, for as long as it goes on for!
On how long it is going to go on for...there are lots of people asking teachers when schools are going back. The simple answer is that we just don't know yet. I've seen lots of speculation in the papers around certain dates but we don't know. I believe the Prime Minister has some announcements at some point this week so we'll tune in to find out.
On another note, it was great to hear from Amy and her dad this week! It was very interesting to find out how her days are going. I hope we get back before you all head off to secondary school as well! I think we will.
Thanks again for another update from Raman's mum on how he is getting on. I'll post another pic on here below, with some of how my family are as well :)
Keep reading and keep safe everyone!
Lilly watching Mr Peel's lock down show.
(Update) Week six - Coronavirus shutdown (27/4/20)
Wow! Week six of this virus shutdown and it keeps on going! As the Prime Minister said today, "This is the moment of maximum risk," so lets make sure we carry on so that we can see the back of this nasty virus and get back to some level of normality as soon as possible. Speaking of normality, it seems like we might be in for a cooler spell after the lovely weather we've been enjoying, what a shame! We are still going to go out for our daily walk, but I think the coats might come back out. Bring on the summer!
For year six, this would be the time where we'd be preparing like mad to sit the SATs in just a week or two. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view!) we won't have to do that this year. Having said that, SATs are just a little part of year 6, they aren't what makes the last year in primary school important. The main focus now will be on preparing ourselves for secondary school in September, which is not long away!
But how can we do that Mr Greaves when we aren't at school?
I don't think my answer will surprise anyone...read! I know I am repeating myself, but reading is the most surefire way to improve across all subjects. Please, keep reading as much as you can to improve this skill. I promise it will help you out dramatically next year.
For other work there is another week linked at the bottom of the page. I hope these are proving somewhat helpful to someone :)
On that note, I have some photos to share! Raman has obviously been doing some excellent work at home and has sent us the pictures to prove it! I'll post these at the bottom. Keep it up Raman!
Finally, keep reading and keep safe everyone!
(Update) Week five - Coronavirus shutdown (21/4/20)
Hello all! First off, a big sorry for being a day later with this message - I do hope no one was too upset! To be honest, not a lot has changed since last week, other than the weather has turned a bit cooler and wetter (BOO!) although it is set to be warm again from tomorrow (YAY!).
Exercise seems to have taken over our house somewhat. Each morning, Mrs Greaves is doing Joe Wicks' exercise class, something she enjoys. We still go out for a walk everyday, we're managing to get (or more accurately drag) Alex to walk around two and a half miles now - not bad for his little legs! Then, after the walk, I head off for 30 minutes on my rowing machine. It certainly helps us to exercise and we are enjoying it. I really hope you are all keeping yourselves fit during this outbreak.
In terms of work for the next week, we were asked to give something more approaching a daily timetable - something that you will find down at the bottom of the page. I would really appreciate if you could let us know how you get on with this new system and if it is a help or not. In fact, any messages are much appreciated! You can get in touch in the usual way, via the comments box at the bottom of the page, or you can message us through the Class Dojo app we are now signed up for! I see that a few of the parents have already signed up (thank you for this!) and I've even received my first message from a parent on it! They sent some great pictures, I just need to check to see if they are happy with me posting them and I'll put them up on the website. Great work Raman! I was really impressed with what you've been doing!
I'll put a few pictures of what we've been up to. As much as this virus is awful in its impacts on your educations, there are always silver linings to any situation and it has been lovely to get chance to spend some time with my family! I really hope all of you have been managing to get some quality time with your families during this period, it is a rare chance we may never get again...so make the most of it!
Of the pictures below, one is of Lilly getting ready for her walk. Another is of Alex baking, whilst the next is one of Alex doing his daily phonics. The last is our Easter egg hunt and enjoying the spoils!
Finally, keep reading!
Read, read and read some more! This will have the biggest impact on you over this period.
Keep safe everyone!
(Update) Week four - Coronavirus shutdown (13/4/20)
Four weeks in now and officially this ends the first week of the 'holidays'. I do hope you are all well and keeping safe! I also hope you have all managed to enjoy this unexpected nice weather we've been having! I know that I've probably spent more time in the garden than I have for a long time - it feels good to get some sunshine again! Unfortunately we are still limited to one daily exercise session, during which we've been going on family walks. We are trying to improve Alex's stamina as he is starting school in September. We've managed to get past the 2 mile mark (which for his little legs is quite impressive!) and we're trying to increase it just a little bit every day. Hopefully, by the end of this lock down, we'll all be a little bit fitter!
I have nothing much more to add today, I won't update the work on the website this week unless someone messages me that they would really like another challenge to complete. So with that I'll let you get on with your break! Keep safe everyone!
(Update) Week three - Coronavirus shutdown (6/4/20)
Three weeks with no school and I don't know about you, but we are just about starting to get into some sort of routine now. It goes a bit like this:
1. Wake up and watch TV with breakfast
2. Go through the timetable for the day (Alex is three, so his timetable probably looks a bit different to your average 11 year old!)
3. Get dressed, brush teeth and generally get ready for the day
4. Do a bit of work (for me this might be editing the website, emails or completing a new bit of training to hopefully make me a better teacher!)
6. Go for a walk - the exercise is one of my favourite times of the day, even if Alex does nothing but moan for the whole trip! We've found that bribery with haribo can work somewhat :)
7. Afternoon work/play/reading - I have to admit, I've been reading a lot! I've gotten into the Litrpg genre and it's become somewhat of a guilty pleasure.
9. Bit of TV and bath time (for Alex and Lilly)
10. Story time and bed for the children
11. Finally, chance for a bit of me time! I tend to find I'm reading a lot in the time before I go to bed - I know this sounds a bit "teachery" but it is true nonetheless.
13. Do it all over again!
14. (I only included 14 because I didn't want a list with 13 things in it, it seemed unlucky)
I was curious whether any of you have timetables of your own. I would love to hear about them. It would be good to share them on here so that others might find an idea that works well for them too. Maybe you don't have a timetable and that's working just fine - regardless, let us know how you are coping in this period.
Onto replies for messages - it is difficult for me to respond directly to pupil messages - I'll respond directly in this blog whenever I update it. I can respond directly to parents who take the time to drop me a message (Thanks to Sam's dad and Raman's mum for taking the time to do this!) and am always available to help through the message box at the bottom of the page. Please, feel free to get in touch, drop me a message and just let me know how you are all getting on...if you talk nicely to your parents, it could even count as your literacy learning for the day!!! Especially if you take your time and do it well! In fact, that's a good idea, your task for one day this week is to drop us a message in the text box below to let us know how you are. Use some skills please! I still want you to think about your spellings and grammar.
Maybe you're following the school patterns and decided to take these next two weeks as your Easter break from school work, that's great! Enjoy it as much as you can. If you are carrying on as normal (I know we are, it keeps a nice routine) then please feel free to keep going with the work that has already been set. If anyone is running out of tasks and getting bored, let me know, I have a few ideas I am toying with at the mo...
Anyway, that's enough from me. I'll let you all get back to your day. Keep safe everyone!
(Update) Week two - Coronavirus shutdown (30/3/20)
Wow! What a week! I hope everyone is still safe, well and free of this bug that seems to have brought the country to a standstill. Looking at recent news, it certainly seems more and more likely that schools will be closed for a long time yet so we will carry on with these regular updates.
So far, only one child has been in touch (Thanks Yessu! and sorry for not being able to reply yet, we are working on fixing this as quickly as we can) but I would love to hear from more of you! As you can see, my email at the bottom of the page has changed to a message box. Hopefully this will be an easier way to get in touch and will provide a means by which I can reply more easily.
Thinking about learning at home, a few things from my own situation have become clear - having young children (mine are 6 months and 3 years old) makes doing anything in the house immensely difficult! I want to assure parents and pupils that we absolutely understand the challenges of being confined to the house all day and how challenging it becomes to find a quiet spot to learn effectively. With this in mind, I would like to repeat my earlier request for you all to get reading! I'm reading lots at the minute, even though finding a quiet place to concentrate is sometimes difficult. This is honestly the best skill to improve at this time - but more than that it is indescribably enjoyable (if you find the right books!) and can help you to escape this confinement, if only in your imaginations! If you can set aside a couple of 30 minute times in the day to do this, it will be the most effective use of learning time.
Aside from reading, throughout the day I'll update my other learning areas as well. I'll try to keep ideas as simple as possible, in my experience these often have the most impact. If nothing else though, try to enjoy your time together - play games, talk, eat and try to do those things we never have time for otherwise.
I do hope you are well.
Week one - Coronavirus shutdown. (24/3/20)
First let me say that I hope you are all safe and well at this difficult time! We have all had to adjust to a rapidly changing and unprecedented situation and I hope you can bear with us as we attempt to create something useful and usable that will help to not only keep your children learning - but keep them occupied as well! I will regularly update this page with new resources, ideas and information so that there is (hopefully!) something to keep you occupied. I will try to date as much of this as possible each week so that there is a rough timeline of activities to keep your children learning.
Children have been given home learning packs to start off their time away from school. The challenge is always going to be motivating children to work when there are so many other distractions present! This is absolutely understandable and the shift from learning in school to learning at home can be a tough one. If it doesn't seem to be going well at first, don't panic! There will undoubtedly be bumps in this journey, but I am available to support if needed. My email is below and please do not hesitate to contact me on it with any issues you have.
How could we start this?
I suggest starting slowly! Don't expect children to sit for a full school day at home if this isn't normal in your household (it certainly wouldn't be normal in mine!). Instead start by introducing some good habits for the children to get into -
- Try to set aside two 30 minute blocks each day for reading. I would suggest one 30 minute block before bed each day and another 30 minutes during the day before they have their evening meal. Having a routine for this can help, but may be impractical. Reading is the number one skill that the children should practise and, for most of them, they can complete this independently.
- Try to set aside 2 other periods of time (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) where the children can sit to do some work on one of their subject areas It is a good idea to do some writing and maths in this time. They do not need to be long periods at first, just a focus period where the children do some learning based activities. These could be online or paper based - the packs can help with this. For instance, you could use a couple of the maths sheets per day and practise some key skills. The children could well need some support with these tasks and again, I am available if there are any problems.
- Setting writing tasks will be more difficult - I suggest you encourage the children to write a diary of their experience at this time. Not only will this allow them to keep writing, but it will give them a good record of living through this unprecedented upheaval! I will be posting weekly writing activities for the children - I hope that some of you will be able to take a photo of these and email it to me - I would LOVE to post it up on the website for all to see.
- Exercise! Being trapped in the house will be increasingly challenging; we will all at some point go a little stir crazy! Some of us are probably at that point already (I have a three year old who cannot sit still for five seconds!). It is important to get some exercise in during the day. We can still go for a single piece of exercise per day (a walk, a run) as long as we stay clear of other people while doing so. I would encourage you to try to get your child active if at all possible - especially if you are lucky enough to have a garden. It will not only help with their health, but their ability to learn will be improved as well.
- Websites - I will be adding a list of useful websites to the appropriate section to help with each area of learning. I really hope these can help you fill those hours where your children will undoubtedly be getting bored.
I understand that many of you will not have access to a printer at home, so please don't worry. All children should have paper to work from and if they can see the work online, they can fill in the answers on the paper they should already have. If this is becoming a problem, please get in touch.
If this doesn't work at first, don't worry! Find something that works for you. The important thing is that you keep yourselves safe at this time. We finished up only two weeks away from the Easter break, if it works to factor that in early and have a bit of time off, then do it and start this a bit later. I know this is hard, but together, I am certain that we can come up with a method that will work for you.