The nationwide switch to Zoom meetings and remote learning has brought challenges, advantages and hilarious moments, not least in the case of the US lawyer who got stuck as a cat when he was unable to switch his feline Zoom filter off last week. Inspired by the remarkable feat of entrepreneurialism shown by a Lancashire farmer who managed to generate a considerable side-business by renting out her goats as video call props, we asked our teachers for some of the most unusual props they’ve seen used as part of remote lessons delivered when the school has been closed. Here’s what they told us:
Joey for Friends
While we are all looking forward to returning to school, remote learning surprises have brought smiles to all of our faces from time to time over the last 12 months. For Head of Senior Prep, Mr Loveridge, it wasn’t a challenge to think of the oddest zoom prop he’d experienced in a lesson. He told us: “I’ve had a pupil bring a baby wallaby, I think it’s called a ‘joey’, to an online lesson.”
One of the challenges of remote learning is finding creative ways to keep pupils engaged when you aren’t in the same room as them. One of our teachers seized the opportunity to put a twist on maths tutoring by saddling up and jumping on a horse to record a video of herself reading out times tables which was later posted on the SeeSaw remote education app. The idea was to communicate the idea that times tables can be learned anywhere, and that education is not restricted to the classroom. Needless to say, the pupils loved it and will undoubtedly be telling the tale of how they learned that four times two is eight long into adulthood.
A common theme in remote meetings for those working from home and learning remotely is pets stealing the show. How many BBC interviews have we all seen where a dog wanders through the room behind the interviewee trying to remain professional? Here at Framlingham College, teachers have held a number of ‘bring your pet’ days, whereby pupils are invited to show off their pets to the rest of the class over Zoom as part of their studies. Head of Mathematics, Mr Means, held one such day which took an unforeseen turn. He said: “We had a ‘bring your pet day’ last summer, which has obviously been used quite a lot. Although this turned into an impromptu ‘chat’ challenge based on which pet was the best typist.
“The twin guinea pigs narrowly beat the bearded dragon into second place. The stick insect struggled to get going!”
Using her Marbles
Remote learning is undoubtedly easier in some subjects than in others, with teachers of creative subjects such as music and design having to stretch their own creativity to keep students engaged and learning while away from school. Teacher of Prep School Music, Mrs Hankey, has used a range of homeware to encourage her youngest pupils to make music and express their own creativity as part of her lessons. She said: “For reception to year three music, I have used all sorts in music videos from marbles, saucepans, wooden spoons, teddy bears, shoes and even a hamster.”
As part of a lesson on globalisation from our School Chaplain, Mr Bayman, pupils were forced to think of the routes items around the house had taken to arrive in their homes. Mr Bayman said: “My class gave a brilliant lesson on Globalisation. Every student held up a piece of food from around the world and talked about it. The best was “salt from the Himalayas.” Mr Bayman also revealed that he has used a real mammoth tooth as part of one of his lessons.