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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Student Access to Online Reading Materials

Dear Parents and Students, 

The LRC wants to ensure that you have continued access to quality reading materials throughout the school closure weeks. In doing so we would like to remind the community about the various options we have available and clarify any concerns you may have.

Please note that during this time, the LRC Library System will not be generating late/missing book messages or fines. We have set up the system in such a way for the closures that this should not be an issue. Students and parents need not worry about this. 

The ABC through the LRC has invested in several options for online reading for students from KS3-IB. All of these are available through the LRC Website, which is easily accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Student Portal section of the ABC Website.

At the LRC we have been busily updating our website to include a great many online magazines, databases, and fiction collections thanks to the generosity of EBSCO, Gale, JSTOR, and Audible, which can be accessed during the school closure.

These can be accessed along with all of our regular resources from the home page.

We hope you will check back regularly and encourage your children to take advantage of this opportunity.

The LRC Staff Members

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

COVID-19, Closures and Coming Together in Distance Learning

Some might think that a global pandemic, which requires school closures and social distancing would really isolate students and teachers, and separate them from teaching and learning. I have to say that the experiences we have had at our school so far despite being physically separated from our campus, classrooms, and students and them from us, have been positive, productive and united in so many ways. 

As a teacher, I have found distance teaching to be somewhat intense at times. I sometimes feel that it is not always possible to give my students the right amount of personalized support through a Google Meet lesson when compared to a physical classroom. However, as we enter our second month of school closure I have found small ways of coping with this and students have really stepped up and embraced their online classroom culture. The situation has brought out the best in all of us, pushed us past what we may have thought our zones of proximal development were and proven just how creative, openminded and resilient we all are.

It isn't easy, students, their parents, and teachers are working extra hard to make this function, but attitude makes all the difference. I saw a post a few weeks ago that caught my attention, as I was teaching encryption and decryption to my 11th grades. It is a bit shallow but at the same time an enjoyable activity to engage in.   Basically, it demonstrated that while...

E   F   F   O   R   T
5   6   6   15   19  20  = 69%

A   T   T    I   T   U   D   E
1   20  20  9  20   21  4   5  =100%

I would add to that ...

R    E    S    I    L    I   A   N   C   E. 
18   5   20   9  12    9   1   14  3   5 =96%

All fun encoding exercises aside, I do believe we will do more than simply succeed in getting through these tough times. I believe with the right attitude,  and enough effort and resilience, we will thrive,  albeit differently, from the ways we would in regular school, but thrive just the same, as we devise creative ways to move the teaching and learning forward. As Horace said, "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." Adversity prods us into action and forces us to use our creativity, rethink our methodology and implement our creativity.

In addressing some of the potential issues which could be seen to some extent as potential barriers, we have found ways at the LRC to continue to support our students and teachers, as well as provide an incredible variety of resources for them to use during school closure. 

The world has come together through social distancing. So many companies have opened up their doors and provided free resources to teachers, students and parents all over the world, free of charge during school closures. We have been compiling the best of what we have come across on our LRC website. In doing so we have had to reorganize the home page 4 times in the last month just to accommodate all of the wonderful learning resources. We would like to invite anyone who reads this post to visit the website and peruse all of the COVID Closure resources at their leisure. 

In addition, the companies that provide us with paid subscription services have also provided us with short term access to a wealth of journals, magazines, research archives, and ebooks. These are fully accessible to all members of our school community with a school GSuite account.

The library staff members, in conjunction with the ICT department, have now moved all of our Term 3 events, as well as those from Term 2, which were canceled due to school closure, online. 

Our  Earth Week Website has launched today and Book Week starts on Monday both feature a variety of daily activities for students and their families to engage in at home. Members of the community are encouraged to submit digital images and videos of their activities, which will be posted on the various sites to share with the community. 

The 2020 Digital Video Awards have also been moved online and voting on student videos from 1st to 12th grade takes place this coming weekend. Our STEAM Fest Event, which we had set up for the afternoon before the Ministry of Education closed all schools, will also take place online with galleries of students' projects visible for the community to enjoy, via our STEAM Fest Website. 

The LRC Recilectura Club that focuses on Earth-friendly reading activities, has also moved online. Students requested that we continue running it and have pitched in their ideas for building the club's online presence. The Microwave Magic Cooking Club for senior students will continue this month, online as well. 

When considered all of this in conjunction with the many other clubs and activities being run by staff members and departments, activities which include special opportunities for teachers such as Taskmaster competitions and free yoga lessons, as well, the richness, the versatility, the flexibility and evident enthusiasm for online learning experiences become readily apparent.

Now, if we put all of this into a global perspective and consider that other schools and other organisations around the world are also engaged in building creative, accessible experiences and activities for their communities,  as well as providing support fo community members with a lesser degree of access to technology; it is impossible to not feel a certain level of pride in humanity. Schools are certainly not perfect and we won't get it right all the time, but educators, parents, students and their school communities are resilient, and are amazing at making lemonade from lemons. It is truly exciting and heartwarming to think that the world has pulled together, in such times of great uncertainty, adversity, and tragedy.