Over the past few months, learning and teaching has drastically changed shape and has confronted us with a whole new set of challenges, together with new possibilities. Physical classroom doors have closed, but virtual classes have opened new doors. Through virtual classes, teachers open their classroom doors to families and welcome them into the process of learning and teaching. It is widely recognized how important the student-parent-teacher relationship is for the success of the learner and in this context, we are able to put this into practice. Virtual classes have taken many different forms across the kindergarten and primary and have shown excellent participation from students with the support of their family. Some classes are very active where students dance and sing along; go on scavenger hunts and play games. These types of classes are particularly important in these times, to keep students active and engaged while boosting concentration and focus for subsequent lessons.
Being the main source of social interaction, online classes are most often used for discussions about the theme and presentations of student work. Teachers provide different ways for students to share and reflect on their work with others, explain their understandings, co-create dances or stories among other things. These moments are valuable in maintaining social connections and for learning from one another. It also gives purpose to the activities and students really look forward to sharing their work with their peers. This is a common and important practice in the physical classroom and teachers have had to be creative and find alternate ways to transfer this into the virtual classroom. Students share their physical productions including artwork, projects, writing pieces as well as their digital productions including photos, videos, PowerPoint, etc. Teachers have also been using various tools for online collaboration where students can contribute and work together simultaneously. Online learning has also provided flexibility and differentiation in that students can personalize their projects with a choice of tools and available resources at home which allows them to develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Students have created model homes, toys and games, solar systems, as well as various artistic and scientific experiments. Together, these different types of learning experiences contribute to a rich learning environment that maintains our approach to learning and teaching.
Hayley Waghorn, PYP Coordinator