NEWS ITEM — Remote Learning at Green Gables Elementary School
In Response to Covid-19
By Suanne Hawley, Principal, Green Gables Elementary School
We can all agree that Covid-19 has caused many challenges in our community, state, nation and world. One of those challenges brought the question, “How will we continue to educate our students while they cannot physically attend school?” At Green Gables we learned that we needed to prepare a remote learning model in less than three days. We immediately went to work relying heavily on our school vision of “Leading, Learning, and Growing… TOGETHER.” Our instructional coach and secretary worked together, ensuring every student received a device (Chromebook or iPad) to take home, while our teachers began preparing the students by showing them online tools such as Seesaw and Google Classroom. Little did we know the day our students left with devices in hand, that we would continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year and would even be looking into the possibility of remote learning beginning this fall. This adjustment proved difficult for both parents and students alike, while also challenging teachers to rise to the occasion and teach in an untraditional way, but this challenge is one our teachers were up for!
Our remote learning model included both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Synchronous learning included activities such as Zoom and Google Hangout class meetings, virtual small group lessons and scheduled activities for students to see one another and interact in real time. Asynchronous learning included self-guided lessons with activities such as video streams, digital books, and interactive boards, including Padlet and Flipgrid. Both models offer pros and cons but were important in attempting to meet the needs of students. Three weeks in, we surveyed our families to gather feedback on how we could maximize engagement, learning, and support for students and their families.
Results: 100 families completed the survey
- 91% agreed or strongly agreed they felt supported by the school during remote learning
- 92% agreed or strongly agreed the school was providing ways for students to connect with their classmates and teachers
- 96% stated that communication from the school was effective or highly effective
- 85% stated the learning included a mix of online and offline learning assignments
- 86% said accessing the technology was easy to very easy
- 82% said that if they or their child was feeling anxious they knew how to reach out for support within the school community
After looking closer at the results and comments from families, we held a community Zoom meeting offering tips for remote learning, as well as social emotional support/resources for families. This allowed us to gain the perspective of families, along with the challenges they were facing.
Along the way, we were also able to implement other fun experiences for our students, such as: virtual garden club (in partnership with teachers and community members), virtual national field day, and virtual connections with our buddies. As the school year comes to a close, we anticipate what “back to school” in the fall might look like. We have been leading remote learning for the first time ever, while also learning and adjusting along the way, growing in ways we never could have imagined. We will be ready with whatever the fall brings, with new tools in our tool box, working together to give our Green Gables students the best learning opportunities within our new reality. They are worth it!