My name is Bahia Malas and I am 7B's English teacher and co-leading this Project-Based Learning (PBL) enrichment project. This COVID-19 collaborative book is the first out of a three-phase PBL project that my colleague, Kerry-Anne Faria and me, are implementing with two Year 7 enrichment classes (one class, 7B, presented here). Our students embraced the challenge of writing reflectively and personally about a serious issue that is affecting them during their first year of high school. They expressed their appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness of this COVID-19 project. Our aim with this project was to develop students' future-focused skills including collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking under the topic of Identity. Moreover, students' literacy skills are also developed not only with writing and editing but with using ICT as well. I am very proud of the sincere, authentic and meaningful experiences that these 12 year olds have shared with us. The students hope that others will benefit from this primary source by seeing what it is like living and surviving a very deadly global pandemic. The overall project was made more accessible through this Bookform technology. I would also like to thank our school’s senior executive team who supported us in piloting this project at BHS.
I knew from the beginning of the school year - 28 Jan 2020, that Term 1 would be dramatically different. I remember forwarding an email from the Deputy Secretary, to keep staff in the loop with the then called ‘Coronavirus’ disease. I did not sleep that night.
The morning of our return, I gave two directions to office staff who worked tirelessly to fulfill these. Firstly, to contact students who had been overseas during the break and encourage them to isolate for 14 days. At this stage this was not called upon from the DoE - I was nervous about making such a decision – but knew it was necessary. It was gut wrenching as we also had some students stranded in Wuhan. Secondly, that we source as much quality hand sanitiser, sanitising wipes, soap and toilet paper as possible. Although we were not at a crisis point according to the media, I needed to be confident we were well prepared.
As the weeks progressed, there were times I needed to call the Department’s Incident Hotline about students or family members exhibiting signs of Covid - 19. I held my breath each time worrying that our school would be shut down. The emails from the DoE increased – as did the