New programs, technologies, and ways of teaching and learning have taken some getting used to, but they’ve also provided lots of new and unique opportunities.
For Grade 6 teacher Ms. Christina Reis, this meant mastering new programs like Procreate and ShowMe, while also collaboration with her peers to learn even more. “I love that all of us as teachers are constantly learning and integrating new skills into our classroom every day,” she explains. While the delivery may be different, the learning is still the same. Ms. Reis structures her online classes the same as those in-class. They begin with a lesson and include all the conversations, examples, questions and activities that would normally follow. “I want to ensure a sense of normalcy, familiarity, and comfort – especially during a time of chaos and uncertainty,” she explains. This is achieved through structure, by keeping in touch, and with lots of planning. And though Ms. Reis admits at-home learning takes “a lot” of preparation, she still finds ways to not only continue learning, but also maintain a sense of community. Ms. Reis uses online tools to catch up with colleagues (a group of them even hosted an online games night over Zoom!), connect with her students, and even keep up special celebrations like birthdays.
So, when she discovered that it was fellow teacher Senora Villadiego’s birthday, it was obvious what she needed to do. Rallying her students, Ms. Reis planned a special surprise – an online birthday! The students were “super keen” to be a part of the top-secret mission and got to work drawing pictures, blowing up balloons, and planning their messages. Nearly the entire grade showed up! Check out the video »
“This whole experience showed that even though we are not physically in the same building, there is still a huge sense of community. Technology is allowing us to come together, to have these beautiful moments, and even though they may not be what we are used to, it doesn't make them any less significant or meaningful,” Ms. Reis concludes.