by Ava Mass, 1-2 Teacher
This year has been full of change in just about every aspect of our lives. Students, teachers, and families have been incredibly flexible and patient as we’ve adapted to this new socially distanced/masked/hybrid way of learning. As a school community, we have such an immense amount of privilege, being able to execute in-person school of any shape or form, supported by the resources we as an institution have, and our passionate faculty & administration.
As a 1-2 teacher, our team’s schedules and how we operate the classroom have changed quite a few times this school year. When we transitioned from a fully remote schedule to a hybrid learning model in October, we quickly learned that bridging the two worlds of our remote students and our in-school students was going to become a new challenge. Students spent the first month of their first or second grade years communicating with peers on the same platform. As hybrid learning began for our level, it became a stark reality that the Yellow Group and Blue Group would not be able to participate in in-person learning together for the foreseeable future. We knew as teachers we didn’t want to have two separate classrooms of students, but one class that came from different vantage points from day to day, with a sense of connection woven in.
One of the most apparent changes in the hybrid model is the in-person group and the remote learning group having two different start and end times. These logistics poised questions: How will we use our classroom time to have our two groups connect? Our class has found that morning meetings and Class Meetings have been the most successful times to work with the two groups simultaneously. Every morning, we set aside 10 to 15 minutes to do a check-in question, where a student asks the whole group a question, such as, “Would you rather have a pet cobra or an axolotl?” The class has a few minutes to write and draw their answers on their whiteboards, and then we have students call on each other to share their answers. This simple ritual provides practice for students tallying up numbers active listening and articulating their thoughts and ideas. Our students have done an excellent job of adapting to this way of learning, seamlessly calling on both in-person and remote learners. Taking a step back and starting the morning with a goofy check-in question has been a lovely way of bridging these two groups together.