what is online learning?
Our whole nation has been thrown into this unchartered territory of online learning in a short time and it can take on different looks.
It is likely the sound of teachers' voices playing in the background of your houses. It is the time spent learning how to do math in a completely different way (which may seem absolutely ridiculous to you at times). It looks like teachers trying to learn how to use new apps and technology they said they would never touch. It looks like many tears shed by both children and adults at times. It is the daily argument of, “That isn’t how my teacher does it!”
But, it can also look like quality educational time you've never had before with your child. It can unleash creativity you never thought you had oozing out as you try to keep your children entertained and growing. It can look like taking the work at their own pace giving student and parent the opportunity to learn alongside each other. It will likely look like a big growth step in independence for your child. Here at SJCS we dove in deep and are learning how to support your child’s whole body education from afar even though we would all love them to be in our arms in our classrooms.
A Big Shout Out
I want to give a huge shout out to all you parents who are learning alongside us. Thank you for the encouragement, patience, and funny stories. Thank you for showing appreciation for what we do, day in and day out, and acknowledging the time and effort we are putting into this new way of learning. It may seem small, but it keeps us going and gives us purpose when many of us feel lost, defeated, and exhausted. This distance learning is a community effort. We couldn’t do it without you all. Thank you for the extra patience and energy you are now giving on top of your other responsibilities.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments so far. I’ve loved listening to the videos of my students sharing encouraging Bible verses and lyrical raps just because they can. Hearing them sing along with me to a video they can’t even hear as I still learn how to use Zoom still has me laughing out loud. Students are reaching out to each other and sharing kindness in so many ways. The way they enthusiastically share their “show and tell”, or go above and beyond what I ask of them for each of their assignments has warmed this teacher's heart. I crave those 1 on 1 moments when I get to hear how they are really feeling and share our excitement over our science projects where we learn about how mealworms change into beetles.
Another favorite moment is when students created their own "Unthinkable" from Social Thinking. They had to find a monster in their brain who is getting them down or causing them to have a fixed mindset. This is what we call an "Unthinkable". They were then tasked to make a “Thinkable” to fight the "Unthinkable"! Some students have made videos while others have uploaded their sketches (pictured in this blog).
Virtual Classroom Tools
My FAVORITE tools have been the “Explain Everything” app as well as the Google Classroom app. My students actually taught me a few things on how to use Explain Everything (an app that allows you to make slides and record your voice over them) and it has been a lifesaver in sharing lessons. I never thought I would ever use Google Classroom, but here I am now relying on it for structure and organization. The Zoom conference app has also been a game changer, and I am so thankful for the technology. However, I will add I am still working on my attitude towards it because it doesn’t replace the face-to-face interaction I love so much.
It was a shaky start for us all. There has been a lot of frustration and fear that took over, but here we are, getting the hang of this! Parents, keep up the grace, feedback, patience, and encouragement. Know that we are thinking of you by the hour and praying for your families. We are here doing our very best. We love you and promise to take your kids back as soon as we can. We are in this together and that is what I love the most!
Keep sharing your stories!