Distance learning has, unsurprisingly, been a challenge for teachers all across the world during this unprecedented pandemic. We left our physical school on Friday, March 13 and launched our online learning the following Monday. Our school is a Title 1 elementary school that serves nearly 400 students, with 55% of our students coming from low-income backgrounds.
My resilient, hardworking fifth graders have risen to the challenges of distance learning and have not once complained.
Instead, they continue to push themselves academically across all content areas to continue their growth and set themselves up for success as the transition to new middle schools next year.
Our fifth graders will begin their final year of elementary school participating in remote learning. Each year the first 6 weeks are dedicated to building community and relationships among students. Distance learning presents an obvious challenge to establishing the foundations for our class community because we will not be physically together. To offset these challenges, I believe that virtual field trips will provide valuable shared experiences for our class and help bring us together. These opportunities incorporate academic goals while simultaneously addressing students' social and emotional needs.
The Gentle Barn is an animal sanctuary that is home to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs. Each animal was rescued from severe abuse and neglect and once they were rehabilitated, people have a chance to interact with them to serve as a glimmer of hope and message of resilience to others.
My 34 fifth grade students would love the opportunity to virtually visit The Gentle Barn and to learn about not only showing kindness and compassion to animals but to one another.
This is an incredible experience that teaches us how our actions impact not only other human beings but animals and our greater environment.
These invaluable lessons of empathy and kindness to all living beings is particularly important in light of our current pandemic world. The Gentle Barn is located outside of our bustling city and the setting will virtually transport children to a serene barn where they learn more about animals and thus see the undeniable commonalities between people and animals. This will be a valuable experience in promoting empathy and building connections among members of our classroom community. In addition, learners will be given opportunities to consider how they can make a difference in the lives of others. This is essential and empowering during a time when many students feel stuck at home and helpless.
This trip will be particularly impactful for my English Language Learners as well as my students with special needs, many of whom face struggles to communicate, be heard and be understood. Animals are non-judgmental creatures, and this experience levels the playing field for everyone.
I cannot wait to take my 5th graders to the Gentle Barn online! I hope you will consider funding our trip!
DonorsChoose is the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Ms. Minas and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.
Browse bundles of books that prominently feature Black, Arab, Asian, Indigenous, Latinx, and Pacific Islander characters, and the LGBTQ+ community. With each ColorPop book bundle purchased, $5 is donated to our Book Donation Fund, which brings identity-affirming books directly into public school classrooms.