It’s no secret that remote learning has posed a challenge for most students, families, and teachers over these past several months. However, they say necessity is the mother of invention, and the second-grade team at Ahtanum Elementary took that phrase to heart when developing tools to keep students on track with their studies this fall.
When it became apparent that West Valley schools were not going to open with in-person learning in August, teachers Deandra Turley, Toni Paganelli, and Aaron Klippert came together to develop several different tactics to keep students engaged, involved, and organized. First, the team developed homework packets parents could pick up from Friday to Monday for students to follow in the upcoming week. These packets included checklists to keep students on task, homework sheets with suggestions for supplemental online activities to reinforce concepts, and hands-on tools like math manipulables—shapes, cubes, or tiles—for students’ use at home to help them better understand math concepts. Students met with their classes each day at 10 a.m. so teachers could perform a wellness check and see how the students were performing. The students then had several resources to work on independently when not online with their teachers.
Not having a physical classroom, the teachers developed Bitmoji classrooms for students to visit to stay engaged with classroom activities. The classrooms included several clickable tools like a bookshelf with links to videos of the books being read aloud, a spelling choice board where students could choose activities to practice their spelling words, and links to iReady online learning resources with lessons specifically developed to help students meet their individual learning goals.
The online classrooms didn’t only include learning activities. The teachers incorporated some of their other classroom tools into the online format. For instance, students at Ahtanum can earn “roar bucks”, a school currency to purchase treats for good behaviors. The teachers incorporated an online version of “roar bucks” to reinforce positive student behaviors as well as a class “star jar” for classes to work together towards a class reward.
While not all students at Ahtanum have access to the internet and the online tools, Ms. Turley indicated that she often has 100% attendance in her online class. And while students are now back in school, the online classrooms are still available so that students can supplement their in-person learning and continue learning on their own.
We’d like to give a great big thank you to the Ahtanum second-grade team for stepping up to the remote learning challenge and creating amazing tools that, while born from necessity, show their innovation and dedication to their students. Amazing job!