As we write this blog, we are a few days into our second round of remote learning. As much as we were looking forward to welcoming our preps back into our neighbourhood for term 3 we recognise the importance of our collective resilience and unity in making the most of the situation. As teachers we value reflection as a tool for learning and have chosen to reflect upon our journey in and out of remote learning and to share our thoughts with you.
As we entered remote learning for the first time it all felt very unknown. After discussions with children and exploration of their theories about the Corona Virus we noticed that an understanding of the need for kindness was evolving. During this time some of the children began to connect to the traces left behind by our 2019 prep’s inquiries into kindness. They were particularly taken by the images of hearts. We discussed the constant recurrence of the heart symbol on many of our childrens artefacts. We wondered why this symbol always popped up? Is this a way for children to communicate and understand feelings of love and kindness. We reflected back to the kindness project from 2019. We asked each other if we could use the traces from the 2019 preps to begin to explore the possibilities of remote learning through these connections to kindness?
As you may recall, in light of these observations, we began our adventure into online learning by making connections to kindness. This exploration then lead to further consideration of the heart symbol and subsequent investigation into the human heart. It was at this point that we tuned into the children’s curiosities and the potential power of honoring curiosity as a driver of learning. Theories began to emerge and we noticed many children co-creating meanings and understandings with their families.
Here is Finn’s follow-up picture of the heart, with labels showing different parts. He also added the lungs. I asked Finn where do we get oxygen from and he said “trees”! (Anna) Finn’s Mum
The heart pumps blood around your body and spreads love and kindness like the blood pumps the blood around your body. The brain is the symbol of thinking and the lips are the symbol of eating. The heart is the thing that spreads love. Jack
Olson watched the video about the beating heart and wondered why the heart wasn’t moving. We found another video of the heart pumping and did some research to investigate what happens when the heart moves or pumps. Olson wondered how the blood stays in the heart. We learnt that valves inside the heart open and shut to make sure blood doesn’t leak out before it’s ready to be sent to the lungs or other parts of the body. (Nina) Olson’s mum
We were reminded of our children’s potential as researchers who are interested in and capable of making sense of their world. We wanted to know more about this connection that we were noticing between curiosity and authentic learning. Who better to ask than the children. We invited the children to become co-creators in an inquiry project into curiosity. It was not long before connections between curiosity and the human brain were made. Along the way we encountered moments of curiosity with nature, space and mathematics to mention just a few. We explored maps and time machines. We created dances to express kindness and curiosity and began to explore the power of facial expressions. All of these authentic learning experiences came from the open attitude to curiosity that was being fostered by our online community – teachers, children and families.
It was around this time that our period of remote learning was coming to an end and we began to prepare for our return to face to face teaching. We approached this transition with a heightened understanding of the need to re-connect to the Prep Neighbourhood, to draw inspiration from the home learning environment and be inspired by the many family experiences with learning.
The children were afforded experiences and time to reconnect with their friends and their learning environments. Many children found comfort in a familiar provocation, or a continuation of a moment of curiosity from remote learning.
The eyes are connected to the brain and the ears are connected to the brain and other parts of your body are connected to your brain by this tube. When you hear something it travels really far through your ears into your brain. When you see something it gets in your eyes, a picture, but it’s upside down and then something happens that changes it (in your brain) and then it travels back to the brain. The energy from your heart travels all around your body- your blood is your energy. Jack
The feelings from your heart go into your brain. Esther
We found ways to re-engage with our physical neighbourhood through making strong connections with children’s experiences in the online space. In particular, our collective inquiry into curiosity provided a plethora of possibilities. As a result of remote learning we had a stronger sense of children’s curiosities and were able to use these to provide authentic learning moments. We saw the opportunity to re-offer the restaurant provocation and this was met with great enthusiasm. The combination of familiar experiences from term 1, combined with our investigations in the online learning space re-ignited our thinking about the concept of systems in our world.
As we enter this second round of remote learning we feel more prepared through our previous experience. We are once again comforted in our knowledge of the strong and capable children we have the honour of learning alongside and their ability to adapt to change. We know that this will not always be easy but the power of reflection has allowed us to see and focus on the positive outcomes this experience can afford. One of the strongest lessons we have taken from remote learning has been the importance of and the impact on learning from the authentic involvement of families. Sharing our provocations with the entire family on Seesaw has enabled parents to join us in the co-creation of learning. This is something we will strive to continue in our regular practice and within our transition in and out of remote learning.
With this in mind we are beginning this phase of remote learning by connecting in to something familiar, that being a continuation of our inquiry into systems. Toward the end of last term the children were beginning to establish a greater awareness of systems and their enthusiasm for our inquiry was flourishing. In planning for this week’s learning it has been our intention to maintain this momentum. We have attempted to do this by provoking children’s thinking about systems in many different ways through the provocations on offer and the questions we pose.
We look forward to continuing a shared dialogue, wondering and thinking about systems together with the preps and their families as we navigate this next phase of learning for 2020.