To commence Term 3, the NSW Government imposed ‘Online Learning’ as a result of the outbreaks of the Delta Variant within COVID-19. Most recently, the Online Learning will exceed and would remain for the entirety of Term 3. Personally, as a Primary PE RFF Teacher, the online method is somewhat challenging and the feeling of ‘helplessness’ comes to the fore immediately, as the subject I teach is very practical; this was also reflected last year. However, it is worth mentioning that it is important to remain optimistic in all challenging times, and to turn these moments into positive opportunities. As such, I share below some of the beneficiaries in the midst of ‘Connected Learning 2.0’.
When structuring the learning component with Katelyn Refalo, I drew upon last year’s experience and indicated that it is important to keep the content simple; as it is the most effective way during these times. The activities set were used as wellbeing initiatives, a chance for students to get active, and to remove themselves from technological devices. All of which were important and to prevent students from becoming monotonous during Online Learning.
For Stage 3 students, it was planned to deliver my first ever ‘Integrated Unit’ with PE and another subject. However, this approach took a halt due to the circumstances. In saying that, the planning was completed, so the program needed to be modified to meet the suitability of the online platform. The purpose of this unit was to provide students with the understanding of Athletes with a Disability; the training regimes they partake in prior to a major event or tournament; and ultimately, understand that all of us engage in strenuous training irrespective of circumstances or ability. As such, one of the major tasks students had to complete was to create a ‘Two Day Training Program’ which catered to a given Disability and Sport. With just online learning content, it must be said that this task was completed reasonably well as a cohort.
During this term, there was no expectation from the Executive Team to ‘host’ Zoom Meetings with classes, but rather, ‘join’ various zooms to interact, see and connect with students across the School of Foundations. I found this to be extremely beneficial as it allowed flexibility as to who to see across each day. Over the course of a fortnight, I was fortunate enough to ‘invade’ and appear as a ‘guest’ to all classes within the K-4 setting. As a result, I was able to join in, observe and listen to various teachers and students communicate, interact and lead games such as I Spy, Scavenger Hunts, Olympic Movements, and my personal favourite of Math Magic, with each virtual visit.
Another beneficiary is the Student Events. As a result of Lockdown, the termly Student Sporting Tournaments could not occur on site. The planned Spikeball Tournament for this term could not surface, however, this didn’t stop JoeSquared from providing opportunities for students to showcase their talents and skills. So, in coordination with Melinda Bowd, the introduction of the Virtual Talent Quest occurred.
Through this event, the beneficiary was apparent as students were able to find special abilities across various categories, which surprised the three of us when adjudicating the entries of the immense talents that were displayed. This event reminded Joe Borg and I of one of the many reasons why we chose this profession; to provide opportunities for students at all costs. To serve yourself some entertainment, I highly encourage you to view the Talent Quest via this link. Rest assured, this could definitely be something to consider as an annual event virtually, or on site. I leave that to you though Mr Greg Miller.
Last but certainly not least, the conduction of Staff Events did not cease. Monday Madness took form in a different format with the removal of the ‘competitiveness’ between the two schools, and resorted to a ‘community’ aspect in virtual forms such as The Building Challenge, Trivia, Yoga, Caricature and Karaoke. Furthermore, after the collaboration with Melinda and Angela Ryall, we created events which were conducted on Friday evenings in the form of a ‘Social Gathering’. This is where all staff could participate, have some friendly competition and most importantly, enjoy each others’ company virtually. The beneficiary of the Monday Madness concept this term allowed other staff members to promote their ideas and coincide with JoeSquared. This was apparent with Stephanie Samuels, who brought forward the Scavenger Hunt initiative; Katelin Vincent, with the Virtual Escape Room; Jessica Rapesoska, with the Yoga; Hayley Casarino, with the Art Lesson, and finally, Chris Komorowski, Grace Camilleri, Patrick Magsino and Hayley, with the Karaoke; all events were incredible!