Free daily maths and literacy videos for primary children.

Summary (tl;dr)

  • We are going to be releasing YouTube videos every day in maths, literacy and a foundation subject for each year group in primary.
  • They will be uploaded to this YouTube channel at 09.00 each day and freely accessible to anyone who wants to watch them.
  • The lessons are between 10 and 35 minutes long, with lots of opportunities for children to pause the video and complete tasks.
  • Click on playlists and you will see there is a playlist for each year group by subject.
  • Please feel free to direct your pupils towards these videos so that they can still do a lesson in these subjects each day.
  • Please do share this so that others can continue learning, even if they aren’t able to make/access videos themselves.
  • There are some example KS1 and KS2 videos at the bottom.

How we do distance learning

Over the last few weeks schools have put new distance learning protocols in place. There is a huge range of approaches, from literally nothing being offered, to phonebook thick worksheet packs, to the normal timetable being streamed online.

Over the last few days we have spoken to a few schools about what we have been doing at Reach, and the feedback that we have received is that it would be helpful to share more widely. As a result we think that it might be useful for some schools and/or parents to have access to all of our videos each day, so we have decided to post them online each day.

Our approach is a kind of middle way, which we think doesn’t overwhelm pupils or staff, whilst still offering daily structure and progression in the curriculum. We have found that simplicity and flexibility trumps all, as well as clearly communicating expectations and offering non-judgmental support to families where this proves difficult. After some teething problems and phone calls, we have daily engagement from nearly 100% of our pupils.

Here’s how it works: every morning at 9am pupils in each year group receive three videos links, posted on Google Classroom (and now to this YouTube account). One maths, one literacy and then either science or a foundation subject. The videos are designed to be accessible to pupils with no support, since parents may be working from home, looking after other children, a non-speaker of English, or unable to sit and assist with learning for myriad other reasons.

Pupils are expected to follow a timetable like this, but since the videos are pre-recorded they can watch them at a time that suits the family (this means where devices are being shared children can take turns):

Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 14.56.11.png

Teachers set short tasks in the videos, and ask pupils to pause the video and complete in an exercise book, which they have at home (we sent these home before schools were closed, but will need to post new ones out soon as they are filling up fast!).

Pupils or parents then take a photo of the completed work at the end of the day and email them to their class teacher, who completes a pupil tracker document. If we do not hear from a family for a couple of days, either through receiving work or by email we give them a call just to check in and see if there is anything that we can do to support.

Teachers work a day in advance, so for example on Wednesday they record Thursday’s video, and schedule it to be uploaded. The videos are shared amongst teachers in a year group so most film just one each day.

We think that our teachers are making really great videos. We’ve been blown away with the time, care and clarity included in each of them. They are so thoughtful. Ed Vainker, our executive principal, has set his own kids on the videos and they quietly complete their tasks at the kitchen table. The videos can be watched on either a phone, tablet or laptop.

To summarise, then:

What every child does:

  • Logs on to google classroom every day.
  • They have four ‘lessons’ to do: literacy, maths, humanities and PE.
  • There is a YouTube link for each of these lessons (or you can just use the playlist on the channel). Pupils play the YouTube video, pausing where necessary.
  • Pupils then complete the work for that lesson in the home learning exercise books that we sent home.
  • At the end of the day, pupils take a photo of the pages from that day in their exercise book, and email them to their teacher.

What every teacher does:

  • Records a video lesson for the subject that they are responsible for.
  • They do this a day in advance, and upload the video to YouTube then add the link to google classroom scheduled to go live the following morning.
  • They then respond to pupils comments and work from that day.
  • At the end of the day, they open the emails and complete an accountability document (a shared google spreadsheet).

What support staff do:

  • Check pupils work and email back basic feedback (e.g. well done for presenting your work so neatly, EBI you include speech in your next story).
  • Record themselves doing lessons in foundation subjects (such as art projects) if they are willing and able to.
  • Support teachers with more general admin.

What senior leaders do

  • Watch videos and give short bits of feedback to teachers for future videos.
  • Check the accountability tracker to see which children have completed tasks.
  • Contacts families of children who have no complete any tasks from the previous day to offer support.

The main principles are: to ensure that every child maintains routine and structure in their day during ‘term time’; that they can complete the work without parental assistance; that they enjoy the work; and that they have the chance to learn something new or practise/apply a previously learnt skill.

Here are some example videos:

What else are we doing?

This distance learning approach has been helpful for our families at keeping pupils busy for the bulk of the day and to ensure that they are keeping up the great learning they have been doing. This is what one parent had to say:

“And the lessons my boys are completing are brilliant. It is keeping a routine to our days so there lives are as normal as possible. They don’t seem distressed at all, and this is a worrying time. I am really pleased that they are able to remain anxiety free.”

Teachers are enjoying receiving the work from pupils and sharing this in our ‘virtual staffroom’. It’s been wonderful to see photos and videos of children working hard at their own pace, sharing the fantastic work that they have completed. Our teachers meet for a big Zoom meeting at 8am every day and then for an optional (but exceptionally well attended) mindfulness Zoom meeting at 15.30 to sign off for the day. We share funny comments from children, brilliant work, things we found hard, successes and achievements, great TV shows we’ve discovered, new ukelele tunes learnt…

We also have a ‘contact tree’, in which each member of staff calls another three members of staff to have a general catch up and check in at some point during the day. It’s such a lovely chance to have a natter and stay connected.

Most importantly, however, our fantastic kitchen team at JPL Catering have continued to come in each day to cook fresh and nutritious meals each day to be sent home to our families in receipt of FSM. They pop along to school and collect their meals, and this gives us a good chance to quickly catch up and see if there is anything that we can do to make life easier.

There have been teething problems, and we have encountered quite a few tricky issues, but this was only to be expected. Everyone has faced down such difficulties with perspective, patience, flexibility and stoicism. We’ve now settled in to a nice little patter in which kids and teachers are working about 5 hours a day on really purposeful stuff. Please do feel free to avail yourself of it if you think it would be helpful.


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