Virtual Learning in the First Grade

Written by Dana Cook and Diana Betts, first-grade teachers
When tasked with transitioning from traditional classroom learning to virtual learning, Mrs. Diana Betts, first-grade teacher, and I asked ourselves two questions: 1) “What are the critical parts of our school day?” and 2) “What are reasonable expectations for our students and their parents?”  We knew parents would be partners in this new dynamic and that they would have their own pressures in regard to their jobs, childcare, with the support and guidance of virtual learning now added to the mix.
We decided that videoing our classroom lessons allows parents the flexibility needed during this new adventure in learning. Parents are supplied with a weekly lesson plan which contains hyperlinks to teacher-created videos and activities. These videos and activities are also available to the students in Seesaw, a platform for student engagement that inspires the students to do their best, and have fun learning at home. Students use creative tools to take pictures, draw, record videos, and more to capture learning in a portfolio. This gives students the flexibility to complete school work on their families’ schedule. 
In addition to video lessons, we also want to continue to foster a sense of community with our students. To do this, we host virtual Morning Meetings a few times per week to allow students to see each other, share their learning with their friends and teachers and stay connected.
One of the great projects we’ve done so far was creating a balance scale at home using a hanger, string and either cups or buckets to hold objects being weighed. The students collected items from around the house to compare using their balance scale. We encouraged them to use the language - ____is heavier than____, ____ is lighter than_____.
We are trying to incorporate ideas they can easily replicate at home, while maintaining lesson integrity, but also taking advantage of their new learning environment. Keep up the great work students and families!