Hills Grammar teacher Creative Thinking

Hills Grammar teacher Sarah-Jayne Dooner keeps thinking of new ways to engage positively with her students in online lessons, including her Year 12 Ancient History class.

Her efforts do not go unnoticed, as shown in this papyrus for the modern age (pictured) by student Josh Granger which features the teacher and her cat on the far right.

“My cat sometimes makes a celebrity appearance in my online classes, so I’m glad that he made the cut,” said Ms Dooner.

“The student also captured COVID-19 and MS Teams-related icons, which I loved, and put his hieroglyphs skills to the test.”

Director of Learning and Teaching, Geoff Gates, adds, “The balancing act for schools is to find ways to connect with the students to keep them motivated, but also provide a well-structured program that allows the students time to complete learning activities.

“We found last year how important it is to keep the lines of communication open with students, parents and teachers. This has enabled us to make adjustments and to improve the experience of Distance Learning from week to week.”

Hills Grammar uses Microsoft Office 365 Teams for video conference calls and OneNote for organising learning materials online for Years 3-12 (K-2 parents receive learning materials as PDFs).

Hills Grammar teacher

Lessons have been shortened from 60 minutes to 50 minutes to allow time for a stretch between classes, and teachers are encouraged to think of creative ways to engage students in their learning.

“We have a number of learning challenges going at the moment to motivate students. For example our PDHPE staff have put up a points challenge using an online App for both students and teachers. The English department then set up a fun challenge to help our Year 7 students learn about Shakespeare, with points awarded for dressing a pet in a Shakespearean costume or turning a sonnet into a rap.”

Whether it be creative ideas to engage students, or simply organising learning materials clearly, Hills Grammar teachers are doing their best to be a positive force in a challenging year. Hills Grammar teacher