03 May Home learning while school is closed to most children
Whilst Hanover is closed to most children, we continue to set high quality work for children to do at home. As a school, we have developed an innovative strategy that is proving very popular with children and parents alike. We use Google Classroom to deliver the work – a free and easy to use platform for setting, receiving and marking work and other materials. We don’t simply send work for children to do, but also send a story each day, read by a member of our staff. We create two “assemblies” each week – one celebrating the great work being done by children at home, and one which relates to our whole-school topic “Where in the World”. We have developed our approach by consulting openly with our community including parents and staff, and using research such as the EEF best evidence study. We are continuously reviewing and improving our offer.
Our approach to home learning has received positive attention from both The Key website and the Department for Education, who have used Hanover’s approach as an example for other schools.
Over 95% of our children now access the Hanover Google Classrooms regularly. We decided that key to our success would be our children feeling they were still connected with their school, so almost all of the work we set is created by us. We are not using “live” teaching, as the research says this is no more effective than pre-recorded content. Instead we are creating short video introductions to many lessons, and clear written instructions for others. We are creating the vast majority of our work ourselves so that it is tailored to the needs and interests of our community.
“Very rich content, extremely engaging thanks to the participation of all teachers (Amazing work done by Hanover staff by the way. You are all superstars!!!!). Google classroom relatively easy to use… More than the tool itself which is very good, it is the content uploading, the diversity of games/exercises/topics that makes this tool great in this period of lockdown. Very good for the 9 years old+ kids as the navigation is fairly simple and they can therefore access it by themselves.” – Parent feedback about Google Classroom approach at Hanover, April 2020
Because we are regularly consulting with our parents and carers, we know there is competition for devices at home, and also that some families only connect to the internet through phones. We have lent a number of families Chromebooks and also designed our work so that it can be completed either online or on paper, with the option for children to upload photos of their work. We have also tried to make work fun and creative – including lots of art, music and practical science across the curriculum. This is all designed to be completed with only household resources.
Having recently asked for formal feedback from our community, we have refined our approach further, as you can see from the short video below.
As well as the more formal curricular tasks described above, we are also undertaking a wide range of events and tasks aimed more at holding our community together at this strange and unsettling time. For example, we are running our annual talent show “Hanover’s Got Talent” remotely, and are running a series of competitions on our Instagram stream which are proving popular and keeping families connected with their school.
We are always looking at how we can improve or refine our home learning offer. We know that it will never be the same as all being in the classrooms or the playgrounds, but we hope that our community is enjoying learning, and feels connected with their school because of our approach. Please do email us if you have compliments, comments or suggestions!
“Very easy to access daily activities and handing them in. The video messages are very handy to get kids ready for lessons. Assemblies are very fun for kids to feel like they are still part of school and seeing all the other children’s works and creations boosts their morale.” – Parent feedback to Google Classroom home learning at Hanover