Happy New Year! While not quite the start to 2021 we all hoped for, we’ve had a great start to fully-online maths lessons at LECB.
It has been a delight to be back in the (virtual) classroom and lovely to catch up with learners and feel their enthusiasm literally oozing out of our laptops. I’ve missed a few students who haven’t yet managed to join the sessions due to technical issues, but fingers crossed we can get that sorted out soon.
It’s not easy for those learning themselves while also juggling other responsibilities such as home schooling but I’m really proud of how everyone has managed to focus and learn this week.
In my Functional Skills Entry 3 class this week we’ve been looking at graphs and charts. This is such a useful topic to understand, especially at the moment! There are always charts in the news showing Covid rates or vaccination doses data, like these from https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations (accurate as of 8 January). It’s interesting to look at graphs like these and ask questions such as:
What do you notice?
What do you wonder?
Or this chart from https://flowingdata.com/2015/02/19/impact-of-vaccines-throughout-history/ showing the impact of vaccines throughout history. Definitely gives the idea of a positive swing in 2021.
In Core Maths – a new course this year for learners who have a GCSE and an interest in real-life maths such as financial maths and statistics – we have a big focus on critical analysis. We all know data is often manipulated to suit a particular purpose, so it is incredibly useful to have the analytical skills to know where to start sifting the fact from the fiction.
I’ll leave you with this scatter graph from https://www.ft.com/content/6b597385-ba51-413a-96bd-cb75d3446718
And again ask these questions:
What do you notice?
What do you wonder?
Our News Article for Sidcup Partners Bid Official Website
The m@ke: supported learning students thoroughly enjoyed a ‘Remembrance’ themed week at LECB Sidcup. They each created individual pieces for the Sidcup Partners window display competition and had a wonderfully meaningful experience by joining The Mayor, British Legion and Sidcup community for the 2 minutes silence at the War Memorial.
Inspiration for the competition entry came from reflection lessons, where they discovered what those who lived through the war must have experienced. A particular focus was the spirit of giving and reasons to be thankful to the many who have bravely fought and lost their lives in conflict, along with those who continue to serve in wars today.
The students were all hugely proud to take part in this project. They were elated to hear they had won 1st place and look forward to using the Amazon voucher to purchase new yoga mats. This will be a great addition to their weekly mental wellbeing lessons. THANK YOU Sidcup Partners! It was a pleasure and privilege to take part. - Rachel Ovenell – Tutor & Mentor, LECB.
Some personal quotes from the students about their experience:
‘It was a really lovely week and I learnt a lot from it. I love animals, so really enjoyed working on the purple poppies and remembering not just the soldiers but the animals too. Thinking about what they went through made me feel sad but the poppy paper art therapy was enjoyable and relaxing. I was really proud of our display and when I found out we had won the competition, I was so happy.’ Louise – Adult Supported Learner, m@ke: LECB, Sidcup.
‘Learning about Remembrance Day made me feel happy and thankful but a bit sad too. I cheered when I found out we had won the competition. I was so happy when Rachel told us the news.’ Nathan – Adult Supported Learner, m@ke: LECB, Sidcup.
‘I found talking and writing about Remembrance Day really interesting. I strongly believe that the soldiers who fought in the war were very brave. It was good to go to the War Memorial and have the 2 minute silence to respect the soldiers that fought and lost their lives. I really enjoyed working with pastels for my art pictures and I feel absolutely great about winning.’ Kit - Adult Supported Learner, m@ke: LECB, Sidcup.
‘I enjoyed using pastel shading, designing and cutting out my own silhouette drawings. It was exciting to take part in the competition and I was over the moon when I heard we had won. We are planning on buying yoga mats with the Amazon voucher for our mental wellbeing lessons.’ Niamh - Adult Supported Learner, m@ke: LECB, Sidcup.
‘Creating the purple poppies reminds us of how we should remember not only the soldiers who gave their lives, but the animals too. It was enjoyable to use pastels and silhouettes and create a really moving piece of art. I was proud to share my own work and excited to find out we had won, knowing our hard work had paid off.’
Conor - Adult Supported Learner, m@ke: LECB, Sidcup.
‘What would you like to tell people about your pottery classes?’ I asked. Here is a selection of responses: ‘Pottery classes have saved me.’ ‘A haven in these challenging times.’ ‘Pottery has kept me safe this year.’ ‘I’m developing skills, meeting friends, and having fun.’ ‘It’s me time.’ ‘I can share ideas, be inspired and see people; the highlight of my week.’
In the Health and Wellbeing area, we know that learning craft skills, and making things has a positive impact on our mental health. In 21 years’ teaching, I’ve often heard comments like those above; this year it’s really serious. After months of isolation and living with uncertainty, it is marvellous that we have been able to restart pottery classes. Tutors and other staff worked extremely hard to clear and, reorganise the pottery studio, and other specialist craft rooms. We came up with creative solutions for a COVID-19 secure return to the workshops in September; no sharing of tools, regular cleaning, and safe distanced working. It remains a mammoth team effort across the Brampton Road site.
As the term has continued, I am immensely proud of the work that is being made; each student, in the, smaller than usual, classes has upped their game. In the absence of other face to face interaction, or even family contact, their energy and passion for pottery is focussed. The relief to be in a creative, supportive human environment again is palpable. Pots have been bigger, or more complex, joyous, skilful and individual.
We plan a celebratory exhibition of pottery in the spring or summer. Last year’s show had to be online only; this year, we hope to welcome you to the studio once again.
Maths is everywhere! You use it every day when you look at the time, see how much charge your phone has, pay for your shopping, cook dinner or bake a cake, check the weather or follow directions from your maps app.
Here at LECB, we recognise that not everyone loves maths QUITE as much as we do. In fact, many adults feel quite anxious about starting a maths course. Because of this, we offer a variety of ways of learning and aim to build your confidence and maths skills in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
So what do we have on offer?
To help you find the most suitable course, we ask you to take a short initial assessment. It is nothing to worry about, we just it to place you on one of the following:
· Functional Skills: courses for adults that cover basic skills & linking to real-life maths,
· GCSE: foundation and higher levels and
· Core Maths: an exciting new addition this year – a level 3 qualification (similar to AS level) covering useful skills such as financial maths, statistics, spreadsheets and critical analysis.
And what are the benefits of studying maths with us?
· Improved job opportunities
· Progression to higher education
· Increased confidence
· Ability to help children with homework
· Better understanding of finances
· Making more sense of the charts and graphs that are frequently in the news
But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. Here is what our students have told us:
Covid restrictions have obviously influenced our traditional face-to-face lessons.
But, we have risen to the challenge and found lots of positives along the way.
For those who prefer face-to-face learning we offer socially-distanced lessons in college and for those who prefer to learn from home (or who need to isolate) we are using Microsoft Teams alongside games, videos and other interactive tools.
So why not give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more? We can’t wait to meet you and see you in the (virtual) classroom soon.