A look at ISTCI’s first week of instruction using Google Classroom
The Google for Education platform is proving very successful for us at ISTCI and we actually have higher attendance on this forum than we do in regular school: our highest figures for this week were 98.6%. We average 93% when we are on campus.
This weekly average is higher than our usual weekly average!
I am incredibly proud of our staff team who have undergone a steep learning curve and are up-skilling themselves daily; they are doing an amazing job of delivering high-quality teaching and learning through this new medium. Teachers are continuing to work a full school day with many of them working in the evenings on planning, preparation and marking. Special thanks to Keira Prew who has been instrumental in setting the systems in place and training staff and parents.
Online learning looks different in different classes:
In Grades 4 – 9, teachers are teaching all of their same daily lessons as per their schedule – these are recorded and sent to children who are unable to access them in real-time. Specialist teachers conduct their lessons. Some lessons are posted as videos with tasks attached and some have live teaching (all core subjects are taught live).
In Grades SK – 3, teachers are teaching all of their morning lessons. Mostly it is through live meetings, but for some the teacher makes a pre-recorded video and the children have a task to complete. Some teachers have split their classes into three groups and are directly teaching the different ability levels and then setting them off on a task, while they go onto the next group. This is much like how teaching would take place in a regular classroom.
In JK, the teacher is doing a daily live morning circle time with the children (singing and stories) and then children book one-to-one teaching sessions, which they log in to for one to one reading, phonics and number activities.
Preschool is offering a daily live circle time (singing and stories) and a weekly bedtime story. Children are provided with a number of activities which they can complete during the week. Parents are asked to share these on Tapestry, the teacher is then commenting on them and marking them against the developmental milestones.
In Nursery, the teacher is offering daily activities and stories and song videos as well as a daily ‘blog’ with parental advice. They had their first live group circle time last week and this will increase next week.
Many of the teaching assistants are booking times with students to read with them online one-to-one each day.
So far, we are delighted with how well this system is working for our staff, students and parents!
Parental feedback has been incredibly positive: they are impressed with the high standards and are pleased with the structure, continuity and sense of ‘normality’ it is offering them whilst at home. They are also looking forward to having it, moving into our coming curfew. See what they have to say:
“You’re wonderful. Honestly, we are blessed with you all.”
“We appreciate all the effort that went into making the interactive teaching possible!”
“Homeschooling. Wonderful job ISTCI! Thank you so much.”
“Great job ISTCI. The kids are loving their virtual classrooms.”
“Very well done, my children are in capable hands.”
“Well done to you all for the foresight and for planning ahead.”
“You are truly awesome. Such a great job! Thank you.”
“Well done. Thank you!”
“Amazing. Thank you!”
“I am really impressed and thankful.”
“Thank you for your support.”
“Great job. Thank you so much.”
“It was great. Thank you!”
“Thank you so much!
“Amazing job ISTCI!”
“I’m so impressed and thankful Katie.”
“Awesome job ISTCI!”
“Thank you both so much for all that you do.”
“ISTCI is definitely leading the way for online classroom and work. All very much appreciated.”
“So proud of our school and our teachers.”
“It is amazing that even my 3 year old has some live school time. Great job. Big thanks to all of the staff.”
“I’m so impressed with the innovative staff team and how they plan in a way that makes their class feel comfortable and find familiarity in this uncomfortable time.”
“It’s been absolutely amazing giving them that structure to their day and continuing on with their learning. I am so impressed with you all. Thank you so much. Stay safe and healthy!”
“Thumbs up to ISTCI organisation. I don’t know any Canadian school being organised like this. Kids are getting the hang of online schooling and my daughters are really excited to ‘go to’ school every day and see their friends and their teachers. This makes a big difference in the situation we are in our lives right now with our children. Thank you!”
“I don’t know about your kids’ schools but the International School of the Turks and Caicos has made it easy for us with homeschooling. My daughter has the same schedule as if she were physically there. Well done!”
“Can I just say thank you for all you are doing!!!!! I think people need to hear this :-)”
Feedback from our students:
“I like online school because it keeps us safe from the virus and we can still learn at the same time.”
“Even though I’m stuck at home, I can still see my friends and do kind of normal things.”
“Online school is so good. I would prefer it over actually going to school.”
“I have really enjoyed this new way of learning. It is very relaxing working from home but we’re still getting everything done.”
Feedback from teachers:
“The technology is amazing: I hope it doesn’t see us out of a job!”
“ I love it!”
“I still wish I was in the classroom with the kids, but it is going really well.”
“Day one was tough, but I am much more confident now.”
“I love seeing my kids in the morning. I think they secretly love seeing me….but would never admit it!”
“I’m really enjoying this video teaching!”
Easter break runs from 6th – 17th April.
We plan to offer a free ‘online Easter Camp’ for our families, going into the Easter break, being as children and families will be at home and feedback suggests they will be grateful for some structure to their days, as well as the opportunity for the social interaction that it offers the children. There will be age-appropriate activities and daily live sessions each morning.
Thank you all, parents and teachers, for your dedication and support.
Principal of The International School of the Turks and Caicos Islands