Technology and Curriculum for 2020-21
Sadie Perrin, Lower Elementary Online Lead Teacher
This year, Kingsley is offering both online and hybrid learning options for Elementary students, as well as online and in-person options for Early Childhood students. Our online learning options are a new offering this year. At each level of our online learning program, teachers are meeting with students multiple times a day through our secure learning platforms, during specific work blocks.
Online Learning at Kingsley
In the Lower Elementary program, teachers are meeting with students five days a week, during three work block times throughout the day. We have a language, math, and cultural work block each day. Some of these times are independent work, where students are provided work to complete on the Seesaw platform, much as they would during an in-person school day.
Students in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary are utilizing the Seesaw platform, while our Upper Elementary students are making similar use of their Google Classroom environment. Students in our hybrid elementary programs are also making use of these platforms during their online learning weeks.
Curriculum and Classwork
The wonderful thing about these tools is that even if we are not connecting with the students over Zoom, we can immediately see their work come in via Seesaw or Google Classroom. We can even interact with student submissions in the draft stage, so we can see the progress of the student work.
Students can engage with their work, and their teachers and classmates, in a variety of ways through these tools. Students love to be seen and heard, and the camera and microphone functions allow us to connect in a deep way. We can really be there to support them in a number of ways, even when we aren't in the same physical space.
Students also interact with their co-curricular teachers throughout the day, traveling virtually to four different co-curriculars; visual arts, performing arts, science, and physical education. Students in our online cohort, as well as students learning from home during hybrid learning, enjoy all of the same classes as students who are on campus.
We build in social times—group times—at morning circle and closing circle. There is also a weekly Zoom lunch for students to get together socially and relax with each other.
Technology and Resources
We think that the most important tool on Seesaw, although there are a multitude of tools, is the camera function. The camera allows students to work with something in their space; that could be, physically moving beads around for their Montessori addition or multiplication work, or it could be doing a scavenger hunt to locate all of the nouns they could find in their house. They can then come back and share all of that with us, via the camera tool.
Training and Professional Development
The teachers, over the summer, did an intensive Seesaw training. We had to get onto the program and create resources and find ways to take these wonderful things from our curriculum and translate those to the virtual space. We underwent a lot of training to be able to navigate these tools, and understand them deeply enough to troubleshoot with students, families, and even other teachers.
A few weeks into school, it feels like students are becoming more and more independent each day. The tools and schedules that they need are all embedded within Seesaw, so that they don't have to find their way to a different location or program. They are really able to let us know if they have a challenge, or if something is going wrong; and we're able to respond in an actual real-time way. We can receive a video message from a student saying, "I really don't understand this," and we're able to then send a video back, or connect with them over a Zoom meeting, and make sure that they are figuring that out, and they are not sitting in a place of frustration. In that way, it really does feel like we're inhabiting the same classroom.