ESF H1N1 Suspension Activities

  1. #1

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    ESF H1N1 Suspension Activities

    I'm posting this thread with the hope of getting some opinions on the issue of the suspension activities.

    Do you think your school handled the suspension appropriately and gave you enough activities to keep your kids busy (AND more importantly learning something) over the two week suspension period.

    From my perspective, the amount of work given out was insufficient for two weeks and looked like the teachers had put in no effort at all. (This is based on what I've seen first hand for Year 2 in Kennedy School).

    I admit that I was a bit busy during the first week of the suspension as we had a number of things going on at work and were busy pulling 18 hour days. Which means I did not have enough time to confront the teachers or the principal at Kennedy and get their perspective on this. (More later on what happened when we asked out son's teacher).

    In a hope to compare what was done at the various schools, I've PDFed and uploaded what the school had provided us on their website. I leave it to you, to comment on how this compares to what your kid's school handed out.

    First problem: Reviewing my records, there was just ONE email from the school. Nothing from the class teacher or the year head detailing what parents could do, needed to do with the kids to substitute what the kids would have been learning in school. No mention of any protocols to contact teachers, pick up work packets, hand in assignements for comment / review by the teachers.

    Attached as Kennedy-news.pdf to this post.

    The first attachment is the banner placed on the Kennedy school website which informs parents that classes have been suspended and requests that they go check out the year's page for specific activities. All good so far. (kennedy-home.pdf).

    The year two page is where the disappointment begins -- there are no specific instructions (well, atleast it has been updated in some form).

    There are a total of 5 links on this page which have been added as suspension activities.

    - "Fantastic Animal Activities" - where the kids are asked to design an animal. Attached as fantastic-animals.pdf
    - Habitat Research Project - Where you're asked to study a habitat and create a model, collect photos for a booklet and compare a habitat with your own. Attached as habitat-2.pdf

    Then there are three links related to Food chains (I do think this had already begun before the suspension .. and not provided as a suspension activity, but I could be wrong).

    - Food Chain 1 - Link to an external website to study food chains. Not work created by the school and no guidance on what to do with this.
    - Food Chain 2 - Link to an external website which has information about Food chains, which I personally think is age-inappropriate in its language and depth. The links to the worksheets here require payment by credit card. So, in my opinion, not a well researched link. There is really no reason why parents should be sent to websites where they have to pay for materials.
    - Food Chain 3 - A game about food chains.

    Documents written1.doc and written2.doc are provided as writing / english exercises.

    A similar quality of assignments is spread out through out the rest of the years pages.

    Unfortunately, when we asked the teacher in charge of our kid's class, the response was "the program is enquiry based so there are no worksheets" "kids are busy with playdates" (ummm.... and what are we paying fees for???) and "no other parents have complained" (this really concerns me .. I sure hope I've not turned into a nightmare stereotype of an overdemanding parent.

    My questions
    - How does this compare to what you've been doing at school either as a parent or a teacher?
    - Could you possibly share some of the work that was assigned to your kids? I'd love to see first hand what other schools have been doing.
    - I assume the ESF (i.e. all the schools within the system) have standards for e-learning. Does anyone know if these are documented or publically available?
    - Were the teachers adequately briefed at all levels on what they should be providing in terms of worksheets / homework / assignments during the suspension?

    And PLEASE, this is not meant to vilify all teachers. I am trying to narrow down the cause of this problem... but I have a feeling it will turn into a futile exercise, given how silent the ESF tends to be, when questioned.

    Last edited by shri; 28-06-2009 at 10:11 PM.

  2. #2

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    Didn't want to air my opinions online so I've sent you a PM instead.


  3. #3

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    I suspect your situation is a very difficult one. I see you have spoken to the class teacher. Were you able to approach the head?


  4. #4

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    We're going to push this forward to the ESF Center, as many parents have told us that dealing with the principal might be an exercise in futility.


  5. #5

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    Spockey - Thanks for the Webquest tip. Interesting stuff. Don't think the Kennedy teachers are using this. To be honest, I don't think they've been taught how to deal with web based learning as well as some of the other schools have.

    While speaking to a parent who's child is in Victoria, I was told that the school started preparing the parents for web based teaching a few weeks before the school shutdown - by emailing parents, asking them what sort of computers, webcam, messaging facilities they had.


  6. #6

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    We were relatively pleased with the amount of work given by our children's teachers in Quarry Bay. Lots of links, worksheets, etc. I made up a schedule with 45min blocks of time, alternating school work with "fun stuff" (NDS and movies usually) and it kept them pretty busy for most days. Getting them to actually do quality work was another thing, we both work, and its not fair to ask our helper to hover over the children and force them to do their schoolwork. (maybe some parents have children that don't have to be harrassed about homework, but I don't)

    It was a crappy way to end the year, but all in all, that's just how it goes. Now on to holidays!


  7. #7

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    Have spoken to a few Mums from Singapore Int'l and FIS and both schools uploaded daily activities and created workpacks for students.


  8. #8

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    My son is in K1 so a bit different, he is at Victoria Belcher Kindergarten. They were given SO much to do. A video from the class teachers on the web to watch every day, and others on phonics, songs, chinese etc.

    We could download numerous activity sheets for them to fill in. We could go to the school every few days or so to pick up some more homework - craft activities with all the necessary materials etc.

    The teachers called about once a week to speak to my son and check we were happy with the work sent home etc. Towards the end of the term (they had a total of 6 extra weeks off as the term finished mid July) they could go into school on their own for a 30 minute slot with the teacher (no other kids there!) - then in the very last week, we could go in so they could say goodbye etc.

    I would actually say they sent way too much work home, but they kept saying it wasn't at all compulsory, just pick and choose what our children could do. We managed maybe about half - I just picked the fun stuff!

    Like I say, my son is in K1, so very different. Maybe unfair to compare.


  9. #9

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    JoTs,

    Thanks for sharing. We've heard from many parents from Victoria, and have to say I am impressed with the way they managed the closure.