Distance Learning in Transition Year

 

Welcome

Welcome all TY coordinators, core teams and teachers. We hope you are all well during these difficult times. This page has been developed to support you in working with your Transition-Year students in a distance-learning capacity. There are suggested resources, activities and timetables which you are free to use and adapt to suit your students' needs.

Assessment

Given the surrent time of year, assessment will be a major focus for all involved in TY. A sample credit system which might form the basis of an assessment system for your school is shown below and is available for download here.

Most schools utilise this type of system with differences in modules which make up the first column, the breakdown of credits within modules and the weighting given to each module, reflecting the indivual nature of schools' programmes.  Drafting of a programme's credit system is lead by the coordinating core team and is likely to have happened earlier in the school year. Here's a sample of assessment criteria used by one school. At this time of year the core coordinating team will need to be in communication with each other to determine how best to administer the credit system to all teachers of TY and collate the resulting information.

Here are some tips around organising some common elements of assessments:

Student Interview 

You could use your school's VLE to facilitate student interviews. All VLEs have some video conferencing software and there are free, third-pary apps for doing this too. If you're doing interviews - you could consider group interviews as opposed to many to one interviews. These could be a real time saver, students might feel less intiminated and the quality of the interaction should be simialr to a face-to face interview. I such a solution will not work for you you could also consdiering sending our a questionnaire to students - asking them to reflect on their learning epxerience throughout the year and review threir inputs. Here's a sample assessment sheet for the student interview.

Subject and Project Assessments

The core team could draft and share a basic digital form or spreadsheet, with entries for each subject where teachers can fill in the credits awarded. A similar approach could be utilised to gather credit information from teachers involved in TY projects or initiatives.

Work Experience

All work experience documentation should be compiled by the core team in consultation with the various employers. This should include the employer’s evaluation report and the appropriate credits awarded. Since many businesses have been closed for a number of months it may not be possible to do this to the usual level.

Subject Sampling

Credits may be collected using an online spreadsheet - as outlined earlier. Subject-sampling certificates should be completed by the facilitator of the sampling module and forwarded to the core team for distribution to students.

Project Work

Many of your students will have been involved in project work when schools closed. Hopefully, in the interim, students have been encouraged to complete the projects themselves where possible - working to amended success criteria. The core team might consider organising a version of the competition internal to the schools, placing students projects and awarding small prizes.

Online Courses

If you have encouraged your students to participate in and complete online courses as part of their distance learning, you might collect the badges awarded and include these as part of the students' assessments. Where online courses replaced part of a partially-completed school module, the badge awarded could be awarded a number of credits for the module.

Student Portfolio

If students are utilising digital or e- portfolio to record and reflect on their learning, the core coordinating team can all access each portfolio and assess its contents. It might be most efficient to assign different aspects of students' portfolio for assessment by different members or subgroups of the core team. As part of students working on the showcase aspect of their portfolio, you might consider asking them to create and embed a short video describing their TY experience. A part of this might deal specifically with the impact of Covid-19 on their TY experience.

Communicating with Parents

Summer reports can be sent out to parents as normal. As part of this communication, the core team might consider outlining the school's plans for celebrating the success of this year's Transition Year when schools return in September. With social-distancing measures likely to still be in place when schools return, the core team should consider what such a celebration might look like (e.g. a live-streamed event). It might also be worth spending some time collating students' video clips (referenced under the Student Portfolio above) and distributing to the class of 2019-2020 in recognition of a number of elements central to the TY philosophy including: sense of community, personal autonomy and social, personal and vocational development.

 

Evaluating your Programme

Along with student assessment, programme evaluation is an important task to get completed over the next two weeks. Evaluation allows the coordinator and core team the chance to take stock of the year gone by, to consider the strengths of the programme, to identify opportunities for further development and to listen to the views of students, parents and staff in terms of the content of the programme.

While your programme's evaluation may usually be completed via a paper-based questionnaire, this year it may be more productive to distribute your questions via an online form. The time taken in setting up this form should be easily offset by the time saved in collating the information afterwards. It might also be worth considering including some questions to get feedback on the difficult circumstances students, parents and teachers found themselves this year in continuing learning in TY.

 

 

Here are three sample evaluation documents which you make adapt for your own needs:

Sample Evaluation for Students

Sample Evaluation for Parents and Guardians

Sample Evaluation for Teachers

 

Some General Considerations for Distance Learning in TY

While much of the focus in the education sections of the media has been on the impact of the current emergency on exam years, it is really important that learning continues for all students - including those in TY. In making sure that this happens here are a number of points to consider:

  • Communicate regularly with students, parents and teachers - stressing the importance of continued learning and setting out clear expectations for learning over the course of the next number of weeks to include long-term, medium-term and short-term goals.
  • Organise an online meeting with your core TY team to plan for the next number of weeks. During this meeting you might agree on a number of points

What the learning goals for the next number of weeks should be

You might consider trying to ensure that the work assigned to students at home is consistent with the philosophy of TY. You could consider assigning work which has academic, social and community elements to it. For suggestions on how to do so see below.​​

How best to communicate with students and parents

Be mindful of the fact that there is a lot of communication happening between schools and homes. Try to ensure that there is a clear purpose to any communication you send out. If you have a series of small messages you want to communicate it may be sensible to wait and send them in a single email as opposed to sending a series of emails.

How best to involve Teachers of TY in the decision-making process

It is important to take teachers’ voice on board when developing your plan for the next number of weeks. Much of the work assigned to students will come from their subject teachers so it is only fair to involve them in this process. When communicating with students and parents you should keep all teachers informed by copying them in. When sending out an email to a large group of people, it is best practice to put their addresses into the BCC box in line with GDPR guidelines.

Student Wellbeing

This may be a stressful time for students (as it is for many of us) so it is important to consider the effects of social isolation on their wellbeing and it may be worthwhile exploring simple ways to address this.

  • It is important that school management are kept fully informed of plans for learning as it may have an impact on learning in other programmes. Regular communication here is key.

 

 

Sample Weekly Plan for TY Student

Here's are two sammple timetables that TY students might work from. They're based around some of the suggestions further down the page. These are not meant to be prescribed timetables - they are merely a suggestion which you might even use as a basis for your own:

 

Sample 1

Blue- Recommended DAILY activities

Yellow- Project etc (These can be changed weekly etc as appropriate)

Green- Personal Skill Development, individual choice, typing an example. This is included as a daily activity as consistent repetition is important to mastery of a skill

Download editable version here.

 

Sample 2

Download editable version here.

 

Ideas for Student Learning

 

 

Subjects Projects

Community

Careers

Wellbeing

Personal

Development

   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subjects

Science

A message for all TY students who have entered projects into [email protected] 2020 - 'Please continue to work on your project'

SciFest is busy setting up an online version of [email protected] 2020 for venues that are forced to cancel due to the coronavirus.

Teachers are asked to encourage their students to continue to work on their projects and to check their email and the website, www.scifest.ie, regularly for further details as this situation evolves.

 

English

  1. Read a book of your choice and write a review. If you are looking for inspiration consider reading a book from the Leaving Certificate course 2022. A link to the list of prescribed texts is here.
  2. List your ten favourite books. Explain your recommendation and the order you have placed them in.

  3. BorrowBox is the online app for Irish Libraries, allowing you to join the library, download and borrow ebooks, magazines and other resources for free. See here for more details

  4. Read a book from the World Book Online eBook series. To gain free access to World Book you should enter via the portal on SCOILNET.ie.

 

Creative Writing

  1. Enter the World Vision Essay competition, judged by Ryan Tubridy. Closing date 31st March. Details available on www.worldvision.ie.
  2. The Blank Page is a blog created by Kelly McCaughrain - Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland. She has compiled a list of online creative resources for teen writers here.

  3. Write a short story inspired by the current events.

  4. Create a time capsule: Write a letter to yourself. State age, friends, interests, favourite games, books, pastimes, etc. Write about what is going on in the world. Tell their future self how they feel, What five things they would like to do in adulthood. Read this Irish Time article about time capsules from 1996 which were recently opened.

 

Music

  1. Using YouTube Tutorials, learn how to play an instrument or practice / learn a new song on a musical instrument you already play.
  2. Nominate your favourite song at by creating and sharing a video explaining what the song means to youand how it 'feeds your soul'. See the Foróige website for details.

 

Art

  1. Choose a painting from the National Gallery online collection and write a piece describing how it makes you feel. Create your own painting which communicates similar feelings. 
  2. Design an Advertisement, Poster, Newsletter on top tips for Social/ Physical Distancing. Include relevant medical, health and safety information by researching the HSE website.

 

Photography

  1. Participate in free online photography classes at the Museum of Modern Art, New York by clicking here.
  2. Create a photograph diary detailing your experiences over the past number of weeks or since you started secondary school. Share your creation with friends.
  3. Run a photography competition for first-year students in your school. Choose a theme for the competition. Ask entrants to include a written paragraph explaining why they chose their photograph. Entries must be submitted  and judged online.

 

Film

  1. Choose a topic to make a short film on. It can be a documentary or fiction. Learn to edit film using software recommended by Young Irish Filmmakers, including: Hitfilm4expressOpenShot Video EditorLightworks or Youtube Studio Creator (create your own channel and browse their creator studio free music and video assets).
  2. List your top ten films and create a video explaining why you are recommending them. Add special effects to your video and intersperse your commentary with scenes from the films' trailers (copyright permitting). Research copyright and its importance to the film industry.

 

Projects

 

Climate Change

Research the topic of climate change online. Create a poster, newsletter, or presentation highlighting positive ways to address climate change. Useful website may include: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.orgwww.met.ie and https://www.metoffice.gov.uk

 

Development Education

Research and write an essay on the sustainable goal you feel is most important. The following website may be a useful source of information: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/, https://www.trocaire.org/,  https://www.youth.ie/programmes/development-education/ and www.developmenteducation.ie.

 

My Local Area

Create a profile of your local area under a variety of headings such as: population demographics, socio-economic groups, infrastructure, enterprise/Industry. voluntary organisations, community development groups and a sustainable plan for the area into the future. Research each of the headings using online resources, by communicating with local people by phone/email/facetime etc.

 

Community
  1. Staying in Touch Postcards - Write a post card / letter / email to a family member or person within the community / a resident of a local nursing home who may feel isolated at this time. Use the free postcards available from TES (you need to register for free to download). Better still - if you like art or are good at photography or graphic design - create your own postcard. Follow up postcards with phonining, Facetiming etc.
  2. Engage in community work at home by doing a minimum of two hours per day helping out. Create a schedule in conjunction with your parents/ guardians such to help with cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, helping younger siblings with homework, making dinner and baking. 

  3. If you are participating in Gaisce, go to the Gaisce Website to learn about a newly-launched initiative called Gaisce at Home.

  4. Do some gardening. Plant some seeds, mow the lawn, weed the flower beds. Create an area for wildlife in your garden e.g. a birdhouse, a wild garden, a bird bath, a feeder.

 

Careers
  1. Work Experience - Informing your Future: Having completed their work experience - students might reflect on their experience and describe what they have learned and how this will inform their choice of future career.
  2. Work Experience - Health and Safety in the Workplace: Having completed their work experience, students could createa project focusing on Health and Safety in the workplace / conditions in the workplace. As part of this they might consider the obligations of hte employer and employee and look at the related legislation (e.g. Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996, Protection of Employees (Part Time work) Act 2001, Organising of Working Time Act 1997, Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and 2005, Equality Acts 1998 and 2004, National Minimum age Act 2000) and the following websites: www.citizensinformation.ie/employment, www.lrc.ie, www.equality.ie, www.citizensinformation.ie and www.business2000.ie.
  3. Research career possibilities using the Careers Portal Website. Create a presentation outlining why you selected this career, the career description, course requirements, course content and subsequent job opportunities.

 

Wellbeing
  1. Practice Mindfulness using apps including Calm, Insight Timer and Headspace ( a free version of each app exists). The Mindfulness Centre is holding two  sessions per day for 30 minutes each at 12 pm and 8 pm. To listen in, you just need to download the Zoom…. its free software. Just click on the link on the homepage.  Fear is contagious and so is calmness. https://mindfulness.ie/.
  2. Write a daily reflection, including a checklist - who am I checking on or connecting with today? (e.g. phone call, text message, facetime, etc), how am I going to get some exercise today? (e.g. cosmic kids yoga, football, etc…), how am I expressing my creativity today? (e.g. baking, cooking, colouring, etc…), what am I grateful for today Credit: Barbara Smyth.
  3. Check out this page from Youth.ie - with a list of resources for young people staying at home.
  4. Play Fitness Bingo - have a parent or guardian initial each square as you complete it. When you get a full set, take a picture, submit to your teacher and get a free homework pass. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Development

 

  1. Learn the rules of the road and prepare for your driver theory test using the official RSA App available here (note there is a €12.99 charge for the app). Alternatively try the Theory Tester website to practice for your test.
  2. Watch a talk at https://ed.ted.com/ and write your own opinion piece on it.
  3. Choose an free online introductory course from The Open University, enrol, participate and receive a digital badge on completion.
  4. Get a head start on starting the Leaving Certificate programme next September. Choose your favourite subject or a subject where you need to upskill / revise your learning at Junior Cycle. Online tutorials for maths topics are available at the Khan Academy, UCD's Maths Support Centre and many more locations.
  5. Learn how to type using www.typingclub.com (free).