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I never thought there would come a day when I would be encouraging young children to join me for a story, song, and activity online but that is exactly what I am doing and I’m loving it!
Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING more important than real life learning but with schools closed and children stuck at home all day, the internet has provided a nice way for me to stay connected with my kids as well as a great way to help parents keep the learning going.
Don’t let your books get dusty or your skills get rusty!
I have hundreds of my favorite children’s books that would just be sitting on the shelf (and floor) collecting dust but now I can pull them out and share them every week. In addition, getting ready for my kids keeps my skills from getting rusty (and I am learning a few new ones too).
The Mute Button
Not only would I have never thought I would encourage my students to join me online but I would have also never thought I would see the day when all I have to do to get the children quiet is hit the mute button! The kids may not be quiet at home, but the parents told me that they are listening in and responding even when I have to mute them so everyone can hear me read or sing.
I Use Zoom
To spend time with my students (and grandchildren) online, I use Zoom. You can sign up for a free account but I have a paid account because I have been using Zoom for my work for quite some time. I set up a Zoom meeting then send a link out to my parents along with a time and date to come and join me. Zoom is simple to set up and use and allows for two-way communication. Since most of my students are not reading yet, they can’t leave comments like on Facebook or Instagram and since I want to actually speak with them, Zoom works best for me.
Everyone Gets to Say Hello
When all of the kids are on at the same time (I had about 22), it is NOISY when I unmute everyone but the kids love getting to say hello and see all of their friends. When I need the kids to be able to hear me read or sing, I mute everyone at once. I can unmute one child at a time as needed to answer a question but so far we have either all been talking at once or all listening (kind of like what happens in my classroom).
A Mixed Age Group
As you can see in the photos, I have a mixed age group joining me all at one time. I not only have my preschool and Pre-K age students joining in but I also have older and younger siblings joining in. What a great way to get to know each family a little better!
Partnering with Parents
I am hoping to continue Zooming with my students for the rest of the school year and that it will be a support to their parents. In the classroom, I would kick off our day with a story, song, and discussion then begin to follow the lead of the children as they explore our centers through play and exploration. BUT not it is up to the parents to follow the interests and lead of their own children. My goal is to share a book, song, and idea and then it will be up to the parents to take the learning from there. What a great way to partner with parents, promote community, and keep the learning going.
Are You Staying Connected?
I have been seeing lots of teachers staying in touch with their students through different online platforms. From teachers leaving sweet messages for their students on Instagram to teachers doing Live dance videos for their kids on Facebook. If your school is closed, I bet you are reaching out to your students and staying connected in your own way. I would love to hear what you have been up to and how it is going.