Stories from ASH's First Week of Virtual Learning

The whole world is finding itself in uncharted waters, with students and teachers in all corners of the globe finding themselves in this realm of virtual learning. After just over a week of learning in this environment, our ASH students and teachers have well and truly risen to this challenge and have embraced this new and unforeseen chapter of the #ASHexperience. Never before has it been so important to celebrate every achievement in our community as they have made this transition to virtual classrooms and learning. 

Here are some of the stories our community has shared over the last week...

During our last couple of days on campus before entering into our new virtual learning environment (VLE), teachers, students, administrators and parents were all calmly preparing to embark on this new challenge. With this came the incredible support of our ASH libraries and librarians, with over 2,500 books being borrowed and in the words of our head librarian Dr. Tilke, he saw this as a clever “front-loading for VLE”. Our libraries are well equipped and set up for this world of virtual learning and continue to support learning and literacy in a variety of ways. We highly recommend keeping up to date with their latest suggestions via the high school and middle school Twitter accounts, plus be sure to explore the comprehensive libguides found via InsideASH alongside  plenty of great books that can be borrowed digitally via the ASH Overdrive account.

During this first week of virtual learning, we have seen some impressive examples from our teachers of just how creative they are leading their students through the VLE, embracing different technologies and platforms in their online classrooms. One of our high school English teachers, Ms. L., has seen her approach evolve over the first week as she is learning what is working best for her and her students. She has been utilising the Screencast O Matic platform, as it allows her to walk her students through the class powerpoints, with the ability to emphasise the certain points she is talking about. She likes that “it lets them still feel like I'm guiding them through a lesson in a way that retains a little bit of the personal”. And her backdrops on her presentations definitely make things more interesting for her students!

We also heard from high school economics teacher, Mr. F. and he shared his day one assignment; “get yourself organized for learning. This will help you all get on top of your life and feel a sense of control.” For his students this meant tasks such as tidying their room and creating a clear workspace to ensure they had the physical space and mental headspace to continue forth with virtual learning and be successful with this. He then had his students write a reflection about how setting up this space made them feel and to conclude with drawing a big smiley face. This really demonstrates how our ASH teachers are going out of their way to ensure that our students are not only successful academically during this period but that their wellbeing is front and centre too.

Our youngest students in the elementary school are also embracing this new world of virtual learning. Grade 2 teacher, Ms. Reenstra shared how each day in Seesaw, she posts morning meeting questions that then spurs on a discussion amongst her students and how they are feeling - again taking care to consider our students overall wellbeing through this time of VLE. Students shared that they were nervous but excited by the online classroom way of learning and from their comments on the various lessons and activities you could tell they appreciated Ms. Reenstra’s creativity with the work they are now doing from home. They also shared photos of their workspaces they have set up at home, showing their own creativity and personalities.  

We've enjoyed seeing how creative our divisions are getting with this new world of virtual learning - this includes how assemblies are now held! After all, staying connected as a community is essential in the world of VLE. Check out the video here.

We would like to finish this article by sharing a video made by our elementary school office and principals, whose encouragement and positivity epitomizes our whole community’s response and attitude to this move to virtual learning. 

Congratulations to everyone in our ASH community for your positivity and support of each other amongst all of this, please keep sharing your stories and check out our ASH Positive Community Wall.