Junior Kindergarten Online – Journal – Day 4

C’s morning went well: woke up well-rested, enjoyed a couple of episodes of Paw Patrol, ate frozen fruit for breakfast, dressed himself, and then chose to make a new name card for attendance.  Today’s card featured his drawing of his newest “Bumblebee” figure, and his name with all the letters in a row, in the correct order.

The link to the Google Meet was late to be posted; due to a staff meeting the teachers were delayed. And when we joined, there was a lot of conversation about why one of them could not see the children’s video, only their initials. C was still drawing, and not ready to hold up his name card, but he hurried and was able to share both the card, and his new Bumblebee. The attendance process included a personal greeting to each, and C was happy to see everyone on screen, especially one who had a new train set. C was able to name everyone on the screen, even those whose camera’s were off. He would have loved to have been able to talk to a few of his friends, but so far there has been no opportunity for student-to-student interaction.

The opening exercises now include C turning off his camera, since he doesn’t want to stand.  Today’s class began with the same physical warmup from yesterday, and C was happy to be up and jumping… at least for two minutes.  Then the call of his Bumblebee was too strong, and he returned to imaginative play with his new toy. I chose not to redirect him, observing to see if and when he would re-engage. He was interested in the instructions to everyone to turn off their cameras, but happy to hear the music. We added all three of today’s songs to a playlist, to listen to later today in the car. When I asked him why he wasn’t dancing, he said “because I don’t want to now”. 

Today’s letter was “P”, and C was quick to identify it and its sound. He found “pocket”, and since he had no pockets in his pants, he borrowed the pocket from my hoodie, to share. His first attempt was to turn on his mic and shout! When all of the class was instructed to turn microphones off, he complied, and was then called on to share. However, after doing so, instead of continuing to watch the other shares, he then headed to the bed for some bouncing. The teacher was attentive, ensuring that all students were permitted to share, and there was quite a list by the time they were done. C wasn’t sure that bringing a “potty” to the screen was a good idea, but it was handled well by his teacher. Then they were asked to think of a “P” activity: pedal, penguin walk, push, pull, or pop. C’s choice was to have Bumblebee dance, rather than doing it himself.

At the transition there was a suggestion that the students thank their parents, grandparents, siblings and caregivers, for the all help they are giving their children online. This was a beautiful acknowledgement of the assistance that all of them are receiving at home, working online. I echo this thanks, knowing how difficult it has been for me, a qualified teacher and experienced parent.

The message of the day was posted by “J”, and he was invited to read it while the teacher shared the screen. The students were invited to comment on his post in the “stream”. I had to enter C’s response for him, and it would be interesting to see how many other JK students could do this independently. Since the question asked them to vote on their choice of snack, it was suggested by one of the teachers that they return to this later in the day to see all the responses.

At 45 minutes into the day’s activities, C chose to leave the room, and play elsewhere. I closed down his Chromebook, and will check in later to see if there are other activities that we could plan for, within his attention span.  I would love if there were an agenda for the day, so that we could plan together, to participate selectively in those that would have the greatest impact.  While the sharing and conversation that was going on when he left were very important to the child sharing, it was an exercise in patience for the rest of the class, as they had no role in the process.

So I have chosen to adopt the philosophy of Suzuki, and follow the child.

We did not make it back to the “classroom” by the end of the day.  The only message as of 11:00 was that they were meeting at 11:45, but no clues given as to the activity planned. We instead drove an hour away to deliver yesterday’s baking to C’s great-grandmother, meeting her in a parking lot to ensure that we distanced. By the time we returned, it was the end of the day.  C had packed his lego firetruck into his tote for the trip, but unwisely chose to place it at the bottom. So rebuilding his truck was an excellent spatial activity with which we ended the school day.

I had a webinar scheduled at 3:30, sharing D2L/Brightspace with principals from across our province.  Having taught with D2L at Laurentian University, I had a basic understanding, but learned much more about the use of curriculum expectations and the portfolio. The ability to track achievement of expectations for each student, as well as for courses and classes looks very powerful.

Is anyone in the K-3 panel using Brightspace with their classes? It looks like it might be a strong environment to support students on a daily basis, as well as to communicate with both students and parents. I’d love to hear from you, if you have moved to this VLE.

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