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Our virtual classrooms continue to succeed

Thanks to ACG Tauranga's comprehensive online learning programme, students across all year levels returned to their classrooms without missing a beat.
ACG Tauranga Year 8 teacher Amanda Shaw with some of her students

Thanks to ACG Tauranga's comprehensive online learning programme, students across all year levels returned to their classrooms without missing a beat.

Meanwhile, grateful parents also enjoyed the virtual classroom environment as they could leave home-schooling responsibilities in the hands of our expert teachers. 

      "We have been super impressed with the online learning so far! Very well done on all of you!" – Agnes K.

      "Brooke is happy and settled in her studies, and everything is going well here. ACG is doing a great
      job. Thanks."
– Paul H.

      "Sienna continues to really enjoy school, and thanks to all her teachers for continuing the great
      teaching while in lockdown."
– Kylie S.

However, future Covid-based school closures are still a possibility. So we have asked Year 8 teacher Amanda Shaw to explain how the virtual classroom environments continue to succeed at ACG Tauranga and how positively her students (and their parents) have responded.

Did the student's coursework continue as usual across online learning?
Lessons and course content were delivered in the usual way, incorporating a variety of tasks that engage students whilst working remotely.

What changes – if any – have you made to your usual classroom lessons?
Lesson PowerPoint slides were adapted to include quizzes, links to relevant video clips and online articles. We also created group tasks enabling the use of the 'breakout room' functionality on our Microsoft Teams platform. And in science, we have set hands-on challenges such as make your own DNA molecule using household items or make a parachute to investigate forces and air resistance.

How important is it to hold live and interactive lessons?
Extremely important. Creating normality during times of uncertainty is essential in helping to reduce anxiety and enable students to connect with friends and teachers, which usually play a significant role in their day to day lives.

How do students respond to their online lessons?
Amazingly well. Due to clear guidance and support from teachers and parents, all students have adapted with ease and have responded well. Ultimately, this ensures that they continue to make progress, and it reduces the chance of any gaps appearing in their knowledge and understanding of topics being covered.

How have parents responded to your online learning programme?
The support and praise have been overwhelming. Parents have been extremely appreciative of how quickly we responded to the move into Level 4 lockdown, with all students actively engaged in learning the following day. 

Parents have also thanked the school for continuing to award individual students with ACG Tauranga STAR (Student Achievement and Recognition) awards in response to them continuing to uphold and demonstrate the school's values of respect, integrity, courage and excellence whilst working from home.

What do you enjoy most about working with your Year 8 students?
Their positive attitudes, resilience and willingness to try new things. Every single one of my students has behaved impeccably whilst online, remaining focused and showing appreciation for the time spent in preparing materials. They have shown respect by being punctual and sharing their ideas with each other in relation to both the work. And also with any technical issues and ways to stay active while being online for prolonged periods. Together we have helped each other ride the ups and downs and made each other laugh.

What were you most looking forward to when the campus re-opened in Level 2?
Seeing staff in person and seeing my students smile and reconnect with their friends and interact socially.

Seeing her students smile and reconnect with their friends was at the top of Amanda Shaw's list when the school re-opened in Level 2