The Virtual School at Beit Issie Shapiro

Noa Nitzan, occupational therapist 26, March 2020

These days when the lack of routine has become the new routine, the staff of the Beit Issie Shapiro School for Special Education have been making sure that their students and families have a variety of lessons and activities to help organize their day.

Distance learning at our school:

Though our school has been closed for almost two weeks now, we continue to be in direct contact with students and their families, and the trans-disciplinary approach that we use throughout the school year continues as well. All the staff is involved in our distance learning experience including teachers, therapists, assistants, those on national service, and volunteers. The students continue to see and hear their staff and friends and receive guidance and emotional support. They continue to learn and practice skills that they were working on before the Covid-19 pandemic: including language, math, science, communication, life skills, play, and sport. Lessons and concepts are delivered using videos that the staff film at home, combining direct teaching, assignments, stories, ideas for games to play, and ideas to keep fit and moving at home. Families use the provided lessons as a guide, completing them as they can. They are there to help the families structure their day and provide appropriate stimulating content. The materials are saved and available to use again and again. Even social interaction between classmates is preserved with teachers holding virtual class meet-ups and families video-calling each other.

We are impressed and greatly moved by our families’ and students’ reactions. They are working on their assignments and sticking with their therapy programs. Even brothers and sisters join in. We receive daily photos and videos from families showing off their activities (learning, playing, riding bikes, practicing driving their electric wheelchair, etc…)

לומדים מהבית

Learning at home

All videos are saved on the school YouTube channel to watch whenever they can and as many times as they please, and lesson materials such as worksheets and presentations are sent by email to the parents to use whenever they like.

How does it work?

  • Lessons and professionalism are combined with creativity and humor
  • Using technologies that families have at home – computers, online software such as Zoom, iPads, smartphones, Apple TVs or other streamers, and more…
  • Using apps such as Tiny Tap, Ji Tap, Grid3, WhatsApp, and Matific
  • Uploading staff videos to the school channel on YouTube
  • Mailing lesson materials to families in a variety of formats (screenshots, powerpoints, Grid sets)
  • Regular virtual staff meetings
  • Lots of good intention and love

 

Our materials are in Hebrew, but you can still get inspiration from our videos for giving lessons in this way. Take a look at our YouTube channel The Virtual School at Beit Issie Shapiro.

 

עמוד היוטיוב של בית הספר הוירטואלי

Here are just a few examples of the incredible work our staff has been doing over the last two weeks (from left to right): OTs playing a card game together on Zoom, Orit giving a sports (swim) lesson, Chani giving a math lesson using the app Matific for School, Vanessa teaching students how to create a class playlist, Shoshana, the speech therapist, giving a lesson about the word “mask”, Chani giving a language lesson using Grid, Dafna, the OT, giving a yoga lesson, Eden, one of our assistants singing Shabbat songs for the students, Avishag, the OT, giving ideas for mealtime, and Tair, the speech therapist, reading a story.

 

 

Let’s share ideas like these and help our students with special needs continue to get the structure and support they need in these difficult times.

Wishing strength and good health to all our readers! 💖

 

 

 

 

 

 

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