A Bird’s-Eye View from your Director of Admissions
June 8, 2020
As distance learning began and both students and teachers adjusted to this new way of working together, learning continued for our children. Importantly, teachers were able to build upon the strong and positive relationships they had developed with their students since September while classes took place in our school building. Students began distance learning feeling known and valued and they were familiar with classroom routines and learning activities.
Using a variety of technology, including Zoom and Smart Notebook, language class continued online and fully revolved around literature. In the Sunfish language class, Ms. Milner read stories that supported the curriculum based on Odyssey’s four pillars of kindness, honesty, respect and hard work. Hearing her voice and seeing the pictures were key in keeping students engaged.
As the Sunfish had learned to do before distance learning, students participated in activities that allowed them to further develop literacy and higher level critical thinking skills. They compared and contrasted stories to other books, characters to other characters, and events in their lives to events in the stories. Grammar lessons linked to the stories. Previously, students came to the board to list, order, and sort information. During distance learning, Sunfish continued to do these activities, listing and ordering words, finding synonyms, developing skills and a deeper understanding of vocabulary. The lessons continued to be visual and interactive.
Also, tutoring continued daily and focused on each individual’s learning needs. Guided by the tutor through explicit instruction, Sunfish students grew in their decoding and reading skills with word building, sorting, rhyming, tap and map, while using whiteboards at home and working with the tutor on the computer screen.
A favorite Sunfish activity continued while school was online; show and tell during which each student brought to class a special possession to share and describe. Virtual homeroom time gave students and teachers the chance to socialize, enjoy each other, and prepare for the next day.
The diligent work of the teachers, as well as the persistence of the students, put learning on the right path as distance learning continued until the end of the school year in June. Robust professional development is ongoing this summer and will include two intensive weeks in August to equip the teachers to continue to meet the needs of our students, regardless of the learning setting.