April 9, 2020
EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON LEARNING AT ROCKY KNOLL SCHOOL
Interview with Beth Bankes 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teacher
Now that RKS is closed because of COVID-19, I interviewed Mrs. Bankes and asked her to tell me about long distance learning and the effect it was having on her and her students. She said that things were going better than she had expected. School is in session from 8-12 in the morning and from 12:45-2 in the afternoon. The students are trying hard and she is proud of them. All subjects are being taught with the assistance of ZOOM and all students have a Chromebook.
A big thank you to William Rhinehart who was extremely helpful to teachers, students and their parents with getting the ZOOM technology up and running properly. He also created an email account for each student so that teachers can communicate easily.
Subjects covered are: Reading Workshop, Math, Daily Routine (Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary, etc.), Science, Handwriting, Pathways, and Bible. In addition, Art and Music are taught on a weekly basis.
Words of Wisdom for Students: Be organized, keep files in the same place, remember to do your homework, study for your Spelling test, memorize your Bible verse and study for tests.
Plea to Parents: Please help your student by reviewing their work before it is handed in. Often they skip instructions and do not complete the work properly. It is also helpful to drop off completed work on Wednesday so that she can grade the work early in the week and gauge whether additional teaching and/or coaching is needed.
WILL THE STUDENTS BE READY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT GRADE EVEN IF SCHOOL REMAINS CLOSED FOR THE REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR? Mrs. Bankes replied with a resounding “YES!!”
Interview with Melissa Baggett, 1st and 2nd grade teacher
Ms. Baggett said that learning in the 1st and 2nd grades was going very well. She is still fine-tuning and tweaking the process to make it easier for students and parents to understand this new way of learning. She ensures that written classwork instructions and an assignment sheet for each subject are emailed every morning to the parents. In addition, classwork instructions are printed for the following week’s activities and placed in each student’s folder. The student’s completed work is placed in the drop box as well.
Subjects covered are: Phonics, Handwriting, Reading, Math, Science, P.E., Spelling, Bible, Go Noodle and Morning Work (Squiggle designs). Music class happens two times per week.
School Hours are: 8 - 12 or 12:30.
Plea to Parents: Please be sure to read the email that Ms. Baggett sends every morning that includes the classwork instructions and assignment sheet for each subject. Also, your help is needed to ensure that the students have their material prepped ahead of time for note booking. This is especially important if a science experiment is to be done.
WILL THE STUDENTS BE READY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT GRADE EVEN IF SCHOOL REMAINS CLOSED FOR THE REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR?
Ms. Baggett said: “ABSOLUTELY!!”
GOOD NEWS FOR PRE-K STUDENTS
In the very near future Mrs. Linda Janetzko, with the assistance of Calianne Lee, will provide half hour fun learning sessions for Pre-K students via ZOOM. Phonics and Numbers on Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00. On Wednesday at 10:00 she will tell Bible stories for a half an hour. Say tuned for further information on this free learning event.
Mrs. Boggess reports that her kindergarten class is having a mixed bag of successes and some struggles with the Zoom teaching format. At this age, children find it difficult to continually be engaged with another person on a computer screen. In spite of this the kindergarten class is forging ahead. Some other challenges that she is facing with her classes includes helping those who had already been struggling. The pick up and drop off procedures have also worked with some varied success.
Even so, there are some very encouraging things to report. Some students seen to read more fluently and successfully in the family setting. Also, Mrs. Boggess is very confident that her students will be ready to move on to first grade in spite of the interruptions in the learning experience. She works on online with her students each day from 8:00 till noon. Some activities are left for students to complete on their own during the afternoons. Mrs. Marte is also doing music by Zoom with the kindergarten for two sessions each week.
Mrs. Boggess reports that she spends considerably more time for preparation of lessons for the students. Because class instruction is done on a computer screen, she has to have every item needed for each class before the instruction begins. This makes it very difficult to do hands-on activities with students. Also, she questions whether she will be able to teach money and tying shoes via computer. This would be very difficult because you cannot observe and provide feedback to students using Zoom.
Her counsel to parents and students are as follows: For parents, do all that you can to avoid distractions. Some may not be avoidable, but keeping these to a minimum helps learning to go better. Also, she recommends that chairs on wheels not be used. For students, her counsel is – We will work together to achieve as much as possible. We are in this together. Let's remember that, in the end, God is in control
Mr. McMullen is working with students in grades six and seven. He reports that things are currently going as well as can be expected. Some positive outcomes to date are the following - Students seem to attend better to instruction with the use of the computers. Also, he is pleased with the progress that his students are making in math.
The modified instructional program also presents some challenges. The pick up and drop off plan needs to work much more smoothly than it is now working. He also reports that doing spelling and penmanship and taking an on line quizzes is more difficult.
Mr. McMullen reports that he works directly with his students on Zoom for about two and a half hours each day, and that he keeps his computer on for the entire school day so that he can be available to assist students when a need arises. This past week his classes have focused on math, social studies, and language arts. Science, at present, is centered on having his students complete their projects for the science fair (even though this event will now not likely occur). He indicates that he finds it very challenging to do Bible on-line since this class is intended to be interactive in nature.
He does anticipate that his students will be ready for the coming school year, although he also realizes that he and his students are still working on the learning curve of doing classes on Zoom.
Mr. McMullen's counsel to parents is to be encouraging with their children as they complete their schoolwork and to help their children when they can. For students, his counsel is for them to use their time wisely and to be responsible. We will get through this as we work together in spite of our working to complete the learning curve.