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Guided home learning with Discovery Education Espresso

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Bromley High Junior School uses a range of tools, including Discovery Education Espresso, to support teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bromley High School is part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) family of schools. The GDST offers Espresso to all of its 25 schools and academies, including teacher and student home access. Early Years provision is particularly challenging and Espresso has helped to meet some of those challenges. Reception teacher Sarah-Louise Dunford explains why Espresso’s digital resources allow her to maintain a high quality of education, while helping pupils and parents to adapt to guided home learning.

CONSISTENCY AND CONTINUITY
We use the Discovery Education Espresso digital learning service throughout the Junior School and our pupils are very familiar with it. They enjoy the videos which are accessible, fun and stimulating. It’s constantly updated and of very high quality. Because the service can be accessed from home, this has enabled us to maintain continuity during the lockdown.

SUPPORTING HOME LEARNING
Discovery Education Espresso is a key element of our guided home learning provision. Our lessons are a mix of live teaching and pre-set work which we upload onto Firefly. Much of the content I teach comes from Espresso. We mostly use the literacy and mathematics areas, in particular the activities and the videos. We also use resources for PSHE, arts, specific stories and comprehension or sequencing activities, which are both child-friendly and engaging. This is working well, especially the phonics progression, which mirrors our own weekly planning and tailored live teaching. It’s easy to find a video or activity on any topic and I feel confident that it will meet the right learning objectives.

I teach live lessons using Google Meets and share my screen to show the children the Espresso content. For example, we started our new topic, ‘Down on the Farm’, and as part of this introduced the well-known book ‘The Little Red Hen’. We combined our own bespoke curriculum and lesson objectives, such as writing a letter from the characters and creating artwork, whilst using Espresso features such as story sequencing, comprehension activities and watching the storybook. We have found this has provided greater depth of understanding to inspire our girls’ home learning. I also use Espresso activities for pre-set work and ask parents to upload a screenshot so I can track pupil progress.

A FAMILIAR RESOURCE
Espresso’s Home Access is incredibly useful during the current situation. The content is tailored to the curriculum and I know that my pupils can navigate the platform with confidence. They are used to using Espresso in the classroom and this helps us to keep a consistent approach at home. Children can follow each lesson with purpose because they know the Espresso format and understand what they need to do.

VIRTUAL PHONICS
I’ve found it very easy to teach with Espresso. Recently I planned and delivered a live phonics lesson on the ‘oi’ sound. My Reception class watched the Espresso video before moving on to the blending and segmenting activities. We practised together and I was able to see each pupil’s progress. The children love the different characters in the phonics videos. They are excited to see them on screen. Because they are so familiar with the format, they can do much of this work independently without support from parents.

HELPING PARENTS
Our parents can see that pupils’ literacy and maths skills are continuing to develop and they recognise how confident their children are with Espresso resources. Espresso has so much content to support guided home learning that parents are now exploring the platform outside of lessons. The Discovery Channel videos in Video zone are perfect for setting extra work or helping pupils to go further.

SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
Espresso is great for encouraging self-directed learning. This is particularly helpful during lockdown when busy parents might need children to work independently. We are finding that even our younger pupils are becoming independent learners. Because they are familiar with Espresso, they know how to choose a video and answer the questions. Parents tell me that their children are watching extra Espresso content in their own time. They are becoming more fascinated, exploring new videos or watching the same videos again. I think that we will see the benefit of this independence when they come back into the classroom.

SUPPORTING SCHOOLS DURING THE PANDEMIC
During this uncertain time, Espresso is supporting our children every day. It is a high-quality digital resource and we are constantly reassured knowing that our pupils have access to it.

Espresso is straightforward, easy to navigate and helps children to become independent learners. The seamless home access is a real benefit. When we welcome our pupils back into school, we will know that they will have benefitted from Espresso’s continuity.

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