Have we told you about our amazing staff who have had to unlearn and reinvent so many things during this remote learning time? Whilst there are many fundamentals of teaching that remain the same, on a dime, our teachers have had to pivot, reinvent, reinvigorate, create and re-create themselves, learning and interaction with students. They are to be congratulated. We know too, that families are recreating their lives for our new normal. It is very hard for everyone, but we are so proud of all our students and their families for the commitment they have shown to remote learning and their willingness to adapt. Keep working at it and remember you can swap some things on to the weekends to accommodate work during the week and set your schedule. Your home learning day couldn’t possibly be 9-3.30 like at school. At school we have two long breaks, discussions, interactions, Play is the Way, specialists programs, sport and many other things. Your learning day is crammed into intense sections of one on one time. The time guidelines of areas of study on the front of your planners are helpful to provide some outlines. Most importantly if you need some support or guidance around the structure of your day or the work for your child make sure you email your teacher. The teachers are so keen to support you and help in any ways they can.
Devices and Internet Devices
We have lent out many laptops during remote learning 2.0. If you need some internet support make sure you contact the office please.
We will be going ahead with our conferences that we had planned for August. These will be held over the 3 days of Wednesday-Friday 12th-14th August on MTeams. Parents will book on Compass as we normally do, and times will be available between 9.30am and 3.15 each day. Bookings will go up tomorrow, Friday 31st. The morning meets will go ahead on those days, but there won’t be contact groups on those days. Students and parents must meet with the teachers. The areas teachers will focus on are wellbeing, literacy and numeracy goals, attendance at contact groups and handing in of work/tasks. It would be great if families had a chat about these areas before the meeting to help with your preparation. We look forward to our inaugural online student/parent/teacher conferences.
We are hearing of a number of concerns around online safety at this time. Many students are using online platforms such as XBox to game during the day. There are unfortunately some students whose interaction on these platforms is inappropriate using inappropriate language and excluding others. There should be no gaming opportunities during school time Monday – Friday as this is expected work time. Parents are funding online subscriptions so these do need to be monitored to keep your children safe. Now is the time to be putting in some boundaries around this including time constraints and the number of others to mix with. An adult needs to be present in the room to hear the interactions and if children use these forums inappropriately it needs to be addressed. Many students are finding the lack of contact with their friends distressing, however if the interaction they are having is negative, this can be very detrimental to their mental health.
Parents need to monitor and manage this type of activity. In the front of all students workbooks were the expectations around how to treat others. Students and parents have agreed to our online protocols and we expect these to be followed. Teachers at all levels are working during contact groups to reinforce appropriate behaviours and expectations. If your child is not using online platforms appropriately parents/carers may need to implement some appropriate consequences.
We will continue to support students in this area. We have just organised some sessions with Kids Helpline at School for years 3-6 that will assist classes to look at a number of issues and support students.
Sue Dean and Priscilla Salter
Help your child achieve a healthy balance in their online and offline activities.
How much is too much?
There is no magic figure. The right amount of screen time can depend on a range of factors like your child’s age and maturity, the kind of content they are consuming, their learning needs and your family routine.
It can be easy to focus only on the clock, but the quality and nature of what they are doing online, and your involvement, are just as important.
Consider your child’s screen use in the context of their overall health and wellbeing. For example, is online time getting in the way of their sleep and exercise? Is it impacting on their face-to-face connections with family and friends? The answers to these questions will guide you and help strike the right balance of online and offline activities for your child.
Signs to watch for
Signs that your child’s online activity may be having a negative impact on them or on your family include:
What to do if you are concerned
Ask questions and listen.
If necessary, you can get help for your child through a counselling or online support service.
Help your child manage their online time
Stay engaged and encourage balance
Keep an eye on the games, apps and devices your child uses. Chat with your child regularly and help them stay aware of how much time they are spending on different online and offline activities.
Include positive things outside the online world in your conversations, such as what they love in life, careers they are interested in and new hobbies.
Join in. Play games together as a family, or explore some joint online projects. Rather than being just a solitary activity, online time can then become another way of strengthening connections as well as building social skills.
Where possible, avoid limiting online time as a punishment as this approach may inflate its importance to children.
Create a plan
Involve your child in creating a family plan for leisure and entertainment time that balances time spent sitting in front of screens — including time online and watching TV — and a variety of offline activities.
Work out the plan together. Young people are more likely to respond to rules they have contributed to and see as being fair and consistent.
As well as agreed age-based time limits, the plan could include rules about which websites can be visited and online games can be played. It could also include control of access to the internet or devices, perhaps with daily passwords revealed once family time, homework and chores are complete.
A minor reduction each day or a ‘15-minutes to switch-off’ warning can help the transition to a more balanced use of time.
Reducing your own screen time also sets a positive example.
You could also consider formalising your plan into a signed written agreement — a family online safety contract. Our advice in online safety basics has some tips on this.
There should be clear consequences for not sticking to the agreement and it is important to follow through with these.
Use the available technology
Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online. But be honest and open with your children about why and how you want to use these technologies.
There are also apps and software to measure online time as well as set time limits on device use or internet access.
Find out more information about parental controls in taming the technology.
Going Digital - Student Assembly
Friday last week was an auspicious day. As a community, we completed week 1 of remote learning 2.0 (virtual high fives for everyone!), Taylor Swift dropped her latest album and the first edition of Ferntree Gully North’s Digital Assembly was uploaded.
We are so excited that during remote learning our school leaders will produce our School Assembly digitally. In a world where communication and digital skills are becoming increasingly sophisticated, they will have the opportunity to develop their presentation and leaderships skills through this project. Starting with an idea, the students will collaboratively plan, record, organise, review and edit their work to come up with the final video. It is great to hear their voice as they share their ideas, questions and creative ways of relating information and what is important to them.
One of the things we all miss about learning at home is the natural connections we make when we see each other. The School Captains came up with the fabulous idea of a weekly challenge for the school to provide an opportunity to hear from the school community. They will put together a section with student responses in the following week’s Assembly.
We are so proud of our School Leaders, and very excited for the weeks to come as we hear from different leaders each week.
FTGN VIRTUAL STADIUM STOMP
Virtual Stadium Stomp Challenge.
The MCG has 7300 steps.
The SCG has 6700 steps.
The GABBA has 5000 steps.
Adelaide Oval has 6000 steps.
Eden Park (Auckland, New Zealand) 5000 steps.
How to participate: Choose a virtual stadium challenge that you would like to attempt. The challenge does NOT have to be completed in one session. Find a step and use a Fitbit, phone or manually count your steps. Keep a log of your daily steps until you have completed the total for your chosen stadium. Once you have completed your challenge, let me know on Microsoft Teams which challenge you completed and an email address if you have one so I can send you a certificate of completion.