Distance Learning for Grades 3-5
Our goal in transitioning to distance learning has been to maintain as much of the consistency we offer at school to our students in their homes online. Using Zoom, we start each day with our Morning Meeting. This allows students to connect with teachers and friends and also get a peek at the day ahead. After a short break, students come together once again for a whole group lesson in math, literacy, writing, or Explorations (which is how we study social studies/science). From here students may meet in small groups or one-on-one with teachers for a weekly check-in and individual lessons.
Most recently, whole group lessons have included the concepts of area and perimeter including “area friends” (see pictures below). Students received materials packets in advance of the lessons, then received instruction and completed these in group Zoom meetings with teachers.
Students also meet with the teacher for one-on-one or small group math lessons where they focus on differentiated skills development with mini-lessons and often games! This allows students to work at their own pace to strengthen addition and subtraction skills or to expand their understanding of division or exponents. These sessions allow us to meet and challenge students where they are.
Math is woven into our morning meeting or as a warm up for a lesson with estimation jars. The students have now started creating their own estimation classmates with clues for peers (see pictures below)
Explorations: Combining Literacy, Writing, Science, and Social Studies
Our explorations units follow a yearlong theme. This year was systems, including our look at food systems. Unfortunately, in-person visits to farms and beekeepers and markets were canceled, but we continued our study with videos, slideshows, discussions, and projects.
Some of our art projects even tied to the theme. One mixed-media project involved the students creating their own transport trucks hauling goods to market. We also explored artists like Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Georgia O’Keefe while using mixed media, collage, oil pastel and watercolor techniques (see slideshow)
Students explored nonfiction text features like table of contents, index, various maps, and photo captions as we studied US States. Each student chose a state, developed research questions, learned to use text features to find information, and produced their own state tourism brochures.
The process was introduced in whole group lessons and practiced during the one-on-one and small group lessons.
During one-on-one lessons, students might be working on phonics and word work, discussing their current reading, or brainstorming for their story writing.