20th October 2020
Caroline Pudner highlights the five top features on Maestro that can help you ensure that your primary curriculum remains front and centre during the crisis.
These are extremely tough times for schools in England and Wales. With the ongoing upheaval of partial closures and local lockdowns, you may be wondering how you can continue to deliver an effective curriculum.
Ofsted recently reported on its interim school visits this term, where it learned more about the issues that schools are facing during the pandemic. Whether you are in England or Wales, many of these issues will resonate with you. The report also mentioned home and blended learning and that schools are taking a variety of approaches. So, what is blended learning?
Blended learning involves providing learning opportunities for children both at school and at home, often online. It’s tricky to do with primary aged children and has both its advantages and disadvantages. Although blended learning will never be a perfect option, there are resources to help you master it for your situation.
A word of caution, though. There may be blended learning resources out there, but do they reach the level of quality that you expect for your children? Do they offer full primary coverage? Are they switching your children off rather than keeping them motivated?
If your school uses our online platforms, Curriculum Maestro England and Cwricwlwm Maestro Wales, the tools, resources and quality curriculum materials that you need are already at your fingertips.
Here are the top five features of Maestro that can help you master blended learning.
You can adapt project content on Maestro to take account of what is and isn’t taught in and out of school. Tweaking lessons is easy. Click the ‘Adapt lesson’ button and add your notes or remove lessons by clicking the ‘Hide’ button. Maestro will keep a reminder of what you have taught so that you know what gaps remain. You can also create lessons or projects to cover gaps or specific areas of study.
You can upload lesson content to your online classrooms, such as Google Classroom, during this period (for school use only, as materials are copyrighted). Copy and paste the lesson activities and photocopy the resources to create online lesson instructions, presentations or printable booklets for children to follow at home. You can also record the videos from Maestro on Zoom or Teams, but we provide links to other videos in our ‘Useful stuff’ resource. If children don’t have access to a computer, you can send home hard copies of the essential resources, knowledge organisers, picture cards or reading texts.
‘During lockdown, it was a really useful tool, particularly when I sent out home learning for the whole of EYFS and KS1. I set home learning tasks quickly but also made them relevant and interesting. Parents and children gave positive feedback about the learning they were given in lockdown. Since returning to school in September, I have been using the ‘Muck, Mess and Mixtures’ topic and the children have thoroughly enjoyed the tasks and have settled in well to being back in school.’
Teacher and Curriculum Maestro customer, West Yorkshire
Each Cornerstones project comes with home learning ideas to enhance children’s learning across the curriculum. These ideas are popular with schools as they help to keep children motivated and provide a baseline. Some home learning activities on Maestro are open ended, creative and involve children’s choice. Others are more structured and can be used temporarily in place of project content (see image below). Again, you can download and share them with children.
You can download two FREE Rocks, Relics and Rumbles Y3 home learning booklets below.
Most primary schools are understandably focusing on reading and phonics this term. Not only is reading a pleasure, but it’s essential for enabling children to access curriculum material. On Maestro, each project includes reading texts, reading activities, and a non-fiction and fiction book list. You know your children best, so use this as a basis to create a reading goal for your class. We also include a glossary in the knowledge organiser for every project to help children to broaden their vocabulary.
It’s hard to keep track of coverage and gaps in learning during this period. To help, Maestro includes an inbuilt skills and knowledge framework. For English schools, this framework is linked to the national curriculum. For Welsh schools, it’s based on the principles of progression, descriptions of learning and linked to the statements of what matters. These frameworks automatically show you what you’ve covered and where there are gaps. They also provide you with a handy reminder of coverage, as you might want to focus on fewer core skills and concepts during this period and revisit other objectives later.
The library area on Maestro is well worth dipping into for blended and remote learning resources. Here, you’ll find our popular Big Ideas home learning challenges, the Yoimoji character education activities and assembly scripts. You can also access maths, SPaG and reading tests if you want to analyse gaps in learning during an absence.
I hope that this blog has shown you how to make the most of the tools and content on Maestro to support a consistent, high quality blended learning approach. If you need any more support, please contact our friendly team. We’d be more than happy to help you.
Are you a Maestro customer in England or Wales? Need extra support? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone us on 03333 20 8000 or contact us via Live Chat on our website.
Want to learn more about how Maestro can help you? Book a free online demo at a time to suit you.
Curriculum Maestro England and Cwricwlwm Maestro Wales are timesaving, online platforms that help you to design, deliver and manage your curriculum. It keeps all of your projects, lesson plans and resources in one place and frees teachers up to focus on what they do best.