MS Update: Distance Learning Launch Term 4

Dear MS Parent/s and Student/s,

A huge, loving welcome back to Term 4 from the MS Team! We are scattered all over the globe right now in some very uncertain times, but one thing we are certain of is  that we have one of the most wonderful communities in the world. We know these are unprecedented times, so please know we’re here to support you the best we can. Hopefully this email will answer many of your questions or concerns, but please do not hesitate to reach out to the middle school leadership team, or to our MS counselor, Pak Quim, if you are feeling overwhelmed, fearful, or confused. We’re here for you and want to make this transition as painless as possible; we do know full well that there will be some growing pains.

This weekend you will be receiving two important emails: 

  1. This email is specific to the middle school learning neighbourhood that contains our specialized plan for distance learning.

  2.  A GSEC community email that contains the ‘Guidebook’ to how you will be able to utilize the new ‘Green School Everywhere’ website. 

It is estimated that there are a billion students now learning online. Teachers, parents, and students worldwide are dealing with the same issues and uncertainties. But we are Green School; we bend like bamboo. We ARE the bamboo these days!  Remember, you are not alone and it may not be perfect, but as long as we are willing to pivot, bend, adapt, and our students are learning, we’ll be okay. 

Best practice online learning research says that a blend of synchronous (real-time connection) and asynchronous (where students work on their own time) is the most effective way for students to engage with distance learning. We do not want our students to be online all day. We need them to be logging on, understanding their tasks, making connections with their teachers and classmates, and then engaging in the beauty of project based learning in their home, wherever that may be.  Flexibility is one of the main advantages offered by online education. We aim to retain academic integrity, whilst at the same time being realistic about our students and their individual concerns and needs.

We all had a bit of practice with this whole online thing for three days before the break. Now we’re in it for at least one month, maybe more. We are attaching the UPDATED Distance Learning Plan for Term 4 for families below. Please take the necessary time to go through it.  Bullet pointed below are key changes and points that we would like immediately bring to your attention:

  • All information about learning programmes and all communication will be posted on the Green School Everywhere website

  • This is to stop the waterfall of communications in your inbox each morning. It means if you feel like you ‘missed’ something, you will be able to go to one place and find it.

  • Online ‘live’ sessions are using the Zoom platform

  • This is the weekly check-in for your child to meet with their teacher, ask clarifying questions, go through the posted tasks for the week. This is NOT a lesson, but rather it is the important connecting time for student and teacher. More features including students raising their hands, whiteboards and breakout rooms!  In the meantime if you haven’t already, ‘ zoom’ with a friend for family. Everyone is doing it!

  • Timetable rejigged

  • See Ibu Emily’s video here that shares rationale and walks you through the experience from the teacher and student perspective.

  • We have offered three (3) groups for EACH class to offer ‘live’ sessions to cater to students in 3 different time zones. Your child only needs to attend ONE of these each week for EACH class. They will be allocated group 1, 2 or 3.

  • There are other allocated times in the week for teachers to be offering feedback. A student may email the teacher during this time and receive immediate feedback. This is NOT a video.

  • Jalan Jalan

  • Wednesdays will remain Jalan Jalan days and they will be entirely OFF-LINE. 

  • Students will meet with their Jalan Jalan mentors (same as Cocoon leaders) on Tuesdays to go through the goals for the Jalan Jalan project.

  • Each student will choose a self-directed project from the Project Bank or of their own choice. They will spend Wednesdays managing their time and resources around this project. 

  • Google Classroom

  • This is where your child will find their class content (recorded lessons, videos, articles, worksheets), classwork, announcements, and group forums. This is where they will submit ALL assignments. Each course your child is enrolled in will have its own Google Classroom

The first 2 days of next week (Mon 6th and Tues 7th) will be run as Orientation days. This is to intentionally start SLOWLY - please be patient and gentle with yourselves, with the teachers, and with your technology. This will take a little getting used to. 

Please know we are here to support both your children and your families through this challenging time. Let’s keep learning REAL.

With gratitude,

Ibu Nicola, Ibu Esther, and Pak Budhi, and the MS Team.

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