This is an extraordinary time to be a student. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus has resulted in school closures. These closures have created ‘the world’s largest online learning experience’. Teachers, students and parents have adapted their daily routines to accommodate home learning activities. One school that’s risen to the challenge in implementing an online learning plan is Stamford American School Hong Kong. It has always been at the forefront when it comes to educational technology, using Google Classroom, running an innovative STEMinn programme and more.
But what’s it like to be a student learning online at home? Ary, a Grade 2 student at Stamford, shares her experiences.
Every morning, I get up at 7am when my alarm sounds. The first thing that I do is get dressed, brush my hair and wash my face so that I am ready for school. If I wore my pyjamas, I would feel a bit sleepy!
First up, I have “Breakfast Club” where I connect with my teacher Ms Cherry and my classmates through Google Meet. I like this time, as we talk about any announcements and share something about our day – like what we are eating for breakfast! Sometimes we do a quiz or split our screens so Ms Cherry can explain an activity to us.
After my first class check-in online, I will do reading and writing and then my other lessons for the day like math and inquiry. Ms Cherry sets up a daily ‘to-do list’ for us on Google Classroom. She will share with us what we will be learning each day and the plan for the week. We can ask any questions that we have in our live chat sessions, and also we can add comments in the activities in Google Classroom for Ms Cherry’s reply.
My specialist teachers also have classes for me – Drama is on Mondays, PE is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Art is on Wednesdays and Music is on Tuesdays and Fridays. I also have a Mandarin lesson every day. Our teachers share a special link so each class can join their own Google Meet.
Not every activity is posted at the lesson time; we sometimes will have videos and voice recordings from our teacher – which we can listen to and do later. Sometimes we get to record videos of our work and share it with our teacher through Google Classroom. We also get assignments through an application called Seesaw – things like division and multiplication activities, and drama and music too. When we write in our books, we can upload pictures to Google Classroom or Seesaw to share it with our teacher. We have some activities as well that we may choose to do if we finish our work fast. I often do these.
At the moment in PE, we are learning about yoga. I’ve been doing 5-minute workouts, with stretching and animal walks! Our PE teacher Mr Carey will explain to us during our live class what we are going to be doing and stay online while we do some of the activities in case we have any questions. We recently made yoga videos, where we made our own yoga poses. Mr Carey put these all together to make one long video, which included everyone.
We also meet with Ms Cherry and our class for Afternoon Chat to share our learning, and in smaller groups to do guided reading and math group work. We may connect with our class three or four times each day; This is the most exciting part of my day; I like it as I get to see my friends.
How I’ve Grown
I didn’t know how to do all of these things before. The first time I was on Google Meet with my class, I was struggling to find the link but Ms Cherry made some helpful videos to show us how to do it. Now that we have been doing online learning for a while, I really like it. It’s fun, but I still don’t get to see my friends in real life, just in our special Snack Chat time. When we have a snack, we can connect live in Meet online to chat with our friends just like we do at school.
With online learning, I study mostly on the iPad and try to pretend that I am at school. While every day is not the same, it is similar and I like to have an alarm for every lesson. I like to sit at the dining table in my living room most of the time but sometimes I like to sit at my drawing table. When I’m learning, I like to sit straight. I always keep in mind that I have to stay on task. It’s just like we are in school; we are still learning at the same level, we are just not face-to-face. It’s easy to keep up! If I get mixed up at all, my Mum is there to help me. She also makes sure that I have snacks like my favourite, apples and bananas.
Breaks Are Important!
We have special times in the day for brain breaks just like at school – we use GoNoodle to relax, move, play and dance. I also like to play, dance and jump around my house at recess time. When I take a break from classes during the day I like to hang out with my Mum or my Aunty. I have a lot of board games – my favourite is Monopoly. I want to buy all the places!
Outside of school, I learn jazz, drawing and Spanish; I can do Spanish and drawing in online classes in the afternoon. Drawing is something I love to do every day – it helps me relax. My paints and brushes are in a special box and I can even use my iPad to draw. I also love to lie on my sofa and read books – Winnie and Wilbur are my favourites. They are hilarious.
What I Look Forward to…
If school comes back after Spring Break, I look forward to seeing everyone – my friends and every single teacher. I’m looking forward to the different food at school as well! Dumplings and noodles are two of my favourites for school lunch. My teachers are great and I like Ms Cherry because she is the nicest teacher I’ve ever met. She is so kind. She makes school online a lot of fun.
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