The changes to school as we knew it have been many...but we have adapted!! Since the start of the year, we have been using our new tablets to find ways of collaborating and working in groups from a safe social distance. Imaginative yard games are constantly being shared and invented!
Before long, we became so familiar with hand santiser that it made sense to investigate germs and bacteria in science. We did an experiment that investigated the cleanliness of different surfaces in our classroom. We displayed the results in the corridor. While not the 'prettiest' of displays, it was certainly interesting!! We used our new digital skills to write up the experiment using Google Docs. Some of the conclusions drawn had Niamh scrubbing down walls with disinfectant!!
Our investigation led to others that followed the steps of the Scientific Method. The experience of following these steps alongside practice using Google Slides in class meant that, when the school closed in January, we were able to conduct and document the science experiments we did at home clearly and accurately, like in this excellent example.
As well as developing digital skills that would prove useful to us during the school closures, we continued to use technology to be creative! We made great progress on the coding skills we had developed in 5th class using Scratch, working on brain games, chatbots and paintboxes to name but a few!
We were able to use these fabulous skills to create some animations for a video message for Colette as part of her retirement celebrations. Have a look!
We experimented with Stop Motion animation; a film making technique that makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own.
Just because we no longer sat in groups did not mean that we could not work in groups. We collaborated to create very sophisticated Scratch animations for our Winter Showcase. We were not able to have a concert this year so we figured it would be a great chance to showcase the creative results of our teamwork.
We combined our animations with the stop motion animations made next door in 6th Class Red to make this fantastic compilation. You may recognise some familiar voices in the voiceover!
Of course, we made sure to get outdoors when we could too!
In January, we were disappointed to return to online learning...but we were prepared! We had a whole range of skills with which we were not equipped in 2020. A survey we completed on our return to school showed that, overwhelmingly, we found distance learning easier this time round.
Our familiarity with how to navigate GSuite for Education and Google Classroom meant that we were able to use the video instructions and templates that our teachers provided, alongside the guidance of our regular Zooms, to continue with the great progress we had been making in our core subjects of English, Gaeilge and maths:
We did some amazing work in other subject areas too, creating Padlets that explored different areas of S.E.S.E., as well as conducting experiments and creating some beautiful artwork. One art project in particular stood out. In the 2020 lockdown, we had recreated iconic images using photography.
This year, we were asked to recreate iconic images once again...but this time using the contents of our laundry baskets! Here are some examples:
A survey we completed when we returned to school in September showed that one of the things we missed most about the classroom during the first lockdown was group projects. As such, our teachers tried to make sure that we still had a chance to work together.
It turned out that- even with shared drives, collaborative documents, dedicated Zooms and assigned roles that made sure we each knew what we needed to do- working together from home was quite difficult! Despite this difficulty, we managed make some very creative eBooks using the collaborative function on BookCreator. These eBooks introduced a character living through a global pandemic in the year 2100.
Each of our characters found something about living through a pandemic challenging. Some of these problems were very easy to identify with. Others were quite particular to the character!
Now that we are back at school, we are working on the creation of a short movie that will share how our characters' problems are solved. Keep an eye on this page for updates!!