Has it only been a little over two weeks since we last greeted your children’s happy faces in the big yard? It feels like an eternity and as we look around our city, listen to the news and hear sad stories of friends and colleagues, we recognize that this social distancing could go on for much longer. How we miss the sound of your children. How we miss meeting with teachers and parents face to face and three dimensionally.
And yet we make do. As we transition to remote learning, all of us, teachers, administrators, parents and children, are struggling to adjust. We are grappling with this new world of technology and physical isolation, one with which many of us are unfamiliar.
We are learning how to use programs originally designed for older students. Google Classroom, for example, uses words such as assignments and grades, words that do not reflect the vision we have for our remote connection.
We struggle with time management, scheduling, sharing devices, and living, perhaps with too many folks all in one room or all alone and needing company. Our parents and teachers are dealing with a range of situations. Some have family members going out into the hospitals every day while others have family members out of work while still others are figuring out how to work from home while also supervising the remote learning of their children.
We have heard from many of you and not surprisingly, your voices are diverse. Some want more work and more teacher contact while others think it is all too much. Still others have sent letters of gratitude for the hard work of our phenomenal staff.
As administrators, Diane and I are in awe of our teachers. We watched as they quickly went online, figuring out how to do remote learning, figuring this all out in an instant. We appreciate the support of our more tech savvy staff who have held virtual hands with their less knowledgeable colleagues. And we offer thanks to Ed, our Tech Guy, who has walked us through many a digital moment. We appreciate, too, the support of colleagues from other schools and the constant care expressed by Superintendent Anita Skop and outside administrators. We even have a former BNS teacher, Vicki Madden, who now works at Brooklyn North, helping us to navigate this new world in which we live.
Zoom Meetings have become a constant in our lives. To that end, we are offering Office Hours for every grade level so parents can meet with us to ask questions and express frustration or thanks, while also sharing ideas for navigating this new world. Be on the lookout for the Konstella invite that Amy sent out.
Remote learning is not the same as the schooling that takes place at 610 Henry Street, but it is what we can and must offer at this point. Parents have expressed concern about students getting behind while others want it all to stop. Make no mistake about it. Students will continue to learn. What will differ is what will be learned. Our little ones are experiencing something that none of us experienced at their age. And for better or worse, this will form them. We know that this will be a life changing lesson. With your help and with the help of the greater community, it is hoped that this generation will become empathic and caring people, people who recognize the need for the individual’s actions to support the greater good of the community. Perhaps, this terrible moment in history can eventually lead to good.
As administrators, we get to be flies on the wall, observing the many different ways remote learning is happening. Hopefully, you are aware of what your classroom teacher and your child is doing. But let’s take a moment to celebrate some of the other opportunities being offered in the BNS Remote Learning World.
Consider the Google Classrooms in Computer for grades one, two, and three, created by Beth, our computer teacher. If you haven’t yet accessed them, you might want to. They are chock full of activities and ideas such as this video, reminding kids about appropriate internet use: https://youtu.be/-N7lRYMmbXU. Too, Beth asks children to consider how using all of this technology is making them feel: https://youtu.be/LB3nhKXm5E0 You can find a link to the computer classroom within your regular Google Classroom.
And then there are the projects created under the tutelage of our library teacher, Karen using a platform called Wixie. Here’s one by Anna Garland, a fifth grader in Michael and Rachel’s class:
Did you know that every day at 3:00, Jim, our Strings teacher, goes onto Zoom to teach our youngsters? All the kids need to participate is a firm piece of string. Go to https://us04web.zoom.us/j/722113515 at 3:00 to join.
Did you know that Brooklyn Arts Exchange is still working with us?
Here are two videos, one of Donna teaching dance and another of Jose singing We Are The Children of the Brooklyn New School.
Speaking of singing, here is David, our music teacher, with his family, teaching us a singing and movement song. https://youtu.be/eN1C6Bb4NwE
Did you know that Taura, our Spanish teacher, also sings?
How about this Forest Sing Along, recorded by Bill, our forest school specialist?
By the way, starting on Wednesday morning, Suzy from Community Through Music will be singing with all four kindergarten classes. Don’t forget to attend. https://zoom.us/j/595711702?pwd=K2gvNFRoRUtzY1VueVN4NDhiR29yUT09
Of course, it’s not just music and dance that we share remotely. It’s also Wellness Fun, Art and PE!
Here’s some examples of work inspired by Paola, our art teacher:
Monique, our Wellness Fun and Health Teacher is at the helm of our Educational Assistants Celebration (don’t forget to email your “Thank you’s” to firstname.lastname@example.org), while also sharing lists of books for your children to read, posted in your child’s Google Classroom.
Victor, our lower grade PE teacher, introduced games like Hot Lava and Dance Party alongside old favorites like Musical Chairs and Charades to get our little ones up and moving.
We close with a motivating video made by Brandon, our upper grade PE teacher: https://youtu.be/vcC0D74tdRI
Get off the couches and chairs and get those kids moving.
All for now,
Anna and Diane
Quote of the Week:
From: Donovan Knott
Date: Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 9:25 AM
Subject: Letters School
Dear Amy And Penina
I will miss you so much if I am locked up in my house. On FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I finished my island story pictures. Today I Will do my collage. I cant wait for zoom
As we navigate our new reality, we wanted to offer a time for you to check in with Anna & Diane, like our in-person parent breakfasts. Let us know how it’s going. Bring your coffee or tea.
This Zoom link will work for each meeting:
https://zoom.us/j/129198429 Meeting ID: 129 198 429
We look forward to seeing you!
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