Day three began well, with C beginning a morning routine. He has made a new name card each day, and this serves as a good warm-up, and fills the time until the Google Meet link shows up in their Google Classroom. By getting into the class as soon as possible he gets acknowledgement from his teacher, and seems willing to engage. Having snacks nearby has also been a help (thank you to one of my teacher-candidates for this suggestion!).
Today the routine of the land acknowledgement and national anthem was followed immediately by physical education. The teacher modelled the warmup, and then shared a “Let’s Exercise” video, with choices of movements that moved quickly and had upbeat music. She used half the screen for the video, and the other half was the class grid. C still needed prompts from me to return to the computer, and turn his camera on. The scavenger hunt to find an object beginning with “J” also required my assistance, but C correctly recognized that Jacob and Jonathan could have just found themselves. Of course, throughout this, he was heading to the bed to tumble and jump (obviously not ready to finish ). He was happier to participate when she asked them to do a movement that begins with the letter “J”. When he was frustrated at not being called on his teacher said “We hear you C”, and this went a long way to keeping him connected.
As they began to talk about what they liked about their movements, to give their teacher feedback, C chose to leave the class. We returned, so that we could hear what was going on, but shifted to another parallel activity of gluing down letters, which worked for only a few minutes.
The next activity was to review the slide created in a previous class, which listed what the class already knows about penguins, and what they wonder. The slide had a great deal of text, and only one image in the middle. For the non-readers there was little to assist our littles to focus their attention. C chose to put his fingers in his ears, and sing some of the music from the previous activity, and he was very angry when I attempted to redirect him. There were some very sophisticated questions based on this version of a KWL chart, and the solution provided by the teacher was to look at a book. She shared the National Geographic Kids Library book from YouTube, turned down the volume, and read from the book. This was very effective once she found a page to pause at, but while it was running she found the words to be blurry. Her choice to just play the video resulted in echo, since some students still had their microphones on. C was interested in the illustration of an Emperor Penguin, but lost interest in the conversation and questioning, in favour of his almost-empty snacks. Because the teachers had been saying “keep your mic off”, even when he had an answer to one of the questions he refused to turn his mic on to contribute. The return to the book, with the echo, made the information difficult to understand, so we had a side conversation, which evoked some good responses from C. Is was unfortunate that the teachers identified polar bears as predators to penguins, since they don’t live together anywhere outside of zoos.
I wonder if the students could have been asked to watch the book independently, and then to participate in a more structured conversation? This would have avoided the difficult transitions between reading and questioning, and would have permitted them to hear the text more clearly. At 75 minutes into the class, and more than 30 minutes in this single activity, C was now VERY restless, and so we chose to leave.
We sledded for a while, and then played in the hot tub. C identified the first and last sounds of the words he was using and was able to sound out the “Shark Patrol” on his swim shirt. He dressed himself, and then relaxed with a burger and a video game.
I have checked out the activities we missed, and those for this afternoon. This morning’s activity requires that he write a note in Jamboard: definitely not within his abilities. This afternoon’s activity will be to make a sensory bottle, and requires a clear plastic bottle, oil, glitter and food colouring. If we had these materials I still would not allow him to gather them from the cupboards. How many homes stock glitter and food colouring? The request was posted at 12:10, for the 1:00 activity!
There is no agenda for the balance of the day, so no way to make any further decisions about whether to insist that he sit and join in to the Google Meet.
So, I think we’ll pass on the afternoon’s activities, in favour of some baking to take to his GG tomorrow.
The baking was great, and C even ate a couple of our almond flour and blueberry muffins!
I then decided to check out the Facebook group, supporting online learning for our board. And I was blown away by the number of posts from parents of K-3 students, struggling to get their children to attend. They are very worried that they are losing crucial skills, and are justifiably concerned that their children are being turned off learning entirely.
So, tomorrow, I will wear my “how to make this better” lens again, and see if I can see ways in which I can work better with C, to keep him learning without “nagging”.
Have you found anything that works for you with your 4 to 9-year-olds?