Looking back at last year, I think that I created screencasts that were clear and concise. The office hours worked well for the kids that were able to come. We had a daily schedule and the seesaw activities were released according to the schedule which benefited students as they had a daily routine that they could follow. Considering that it was the first online learning experience for all of us, and the fact that we had no time to properly plan for it, I think online learned worked as well as it could have at the time.
Now having last years’ experience and also more time to prepare for online learning, I plan on focusing primarily on 2 areas of growth for me: care and captivate. The one thing that I was grateful about last year was that we had already made connections in the physical classroom. Because we had established relationships, students were able to adjust to online learning a bit easier. We had essential agreements made, routines down and it was a matter of transferring those into the online classroom. This year, it will be harder as we need to build new relationships with students, instructional partners, and parents. In addition, online learning would be harder on my young students. I need to think about how to captivate student interest and maintain student participation in the hybrid and online environment.
I really appreciated the online PD that ISB offered through the IFSEL. The ideas that they shared through the workshop and the packet will be helpful in building relationships with students. In addition, I plan to reread the responsive classroom’s books: “The Morning Meeting Book” and “The First 6 Weeks of School”. The beginning of the year is so important in building relationships and routine. However online learning is different; rereading those 2 books but through the lens of online learning will help with ideas for the beginning of the year. Also, I need to be intentional in how I communicate and interact with my students. Due to the constraints of the screen, I may need to plan for more movement breaks, show my face and communicate my enthusiasm through my facial expressions and voice.
For teaching kindergarteners, I think captivating their interest through a screen would be another more challenging area for me. Young learners like to move, touch and experience things. While mini lessons and small groups with me through a screen would support them in their learning journey, I think it’s equally important to provide them with learning opportunities in the classroom to engage and share their learning with others. My instructional partner would be key in delivering those in-person opportunities for them to explore and engage with teaching points in the real-life context. Therefore, communication, collaboration and careful planning with my team members and instructional partner are all important to deliver the best education for them. This includes giving student choice in the way they demonstrate learning, incorporating their interests in the teaching, interactive lessons, and making sure that students have the opportunity to collaborate amongst themselves (through in-class gallery walks, Seesaw blog, breakout rooms, etc.).
All in all, I think this year will have its challenges, and I’m positive that I will overcome with the support of the principals, OOL, and my team members.