Google sites and chats helps the Kindergarten Team at Coronation Public School and their students succeed with innovative and fun lessons
The Durham District School Board (DDSB) started Distance Learning on April 6th, as a result of schools being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators and students have had to adjust quickly to teaching and learning at home. While it has not been easy, many have found innovative and unique ways to make learning and engagement at home successful. We spoke to a few educators and students who shared their stories and experiences with us.
See below for a Distance Learning success story from the Coronation Public School’s Kindergarten Team – Lauren Calloway, Shannon Toth, Melanie Capson, Terrie Aubie, Heather Davis and triplet Kindergarten students Brooklyn, Olivia and Sydney.
Lauren Calloway, Kindergarten Teacher (responding on behalf of the Coronation Public School Kindergarten Team)
Q: Explain how the transition to Distance Learning has been for you?
A: We have found that as a team, we have actually collaborated more with each other and not just our teaching partners. This has led to a stronger working relationship and a new way of co-planning and co-teaching, which we hope to carry forward when we return to face-to-face teaching. Although we have found the experience to have a steep learning curve, we have great resiliency and have learned about many different new technologies.
Q: What unique things have you been doing to engage with your students online?
A: The main thing we have done is to create a Google site which we update weekly. We also have weekly STEM challenges, art activities, health, science experiments, and Daily Physical Activity (DPA) videos. We have kept in contact with our families using email and the Remind app.
One of our families rescued a baby squirrel, which they named Theo. We posted pictures of the squirrel on our Google site and for our writing assignment that week, we asked our students what the squirrel would need to be happy and healthy. We also challenged them to create a play place for Theo to get some exercise and they designed some pretty impressive structures.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about this innovative type of teaching?
A: We have been pushed out of our comfort zone, as we have had to find new ways to communicate with our students through various technology platforms.
Q: Will you maintain any of these new techniques in the classroom, when in-person instruction returns?
A: We would like to continue to use our Google site and the ‘welcome to kindergarten’ site as a platform where our kindergarten families can access information and stay connected.
Coronation Public School Kindergarten students and triplets Brooklyn, Olivia and Sydney
Q: What’s the biggest difference between learning in a classroom and learning from home, for you?
A: Olivia: I get to be with Mommy.
Q: How have you changed your routine to be more successful in Distance Learning?
A: Brooklyn: I don’t have to get dressed for school.
Q: Do you have any tips for other students about how to stay focused while learning from home?
A: Brooklyn: Don’t forget to take a recess and go outside.
Q: What has been your favourite assignment from your teacher since Distance Learning began? Can you explain the assignment?
A: Sydney: Theo, the squirrel’s playground; I liked this challenge because Theo is so cute and we got to build him a safe place to play.