My amazing Pre-K class is located in bright, sunny Florida. Our Pre-K program is connected with the local school district and all of my students who have special needs attend our program free of charge. Our wonderful classroom has 18 precious students with many varying levels of special and sensory needs. We have 13 ESE (Exceptional Student Education) and 5 VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) students. The ages of our class range from three to five-year-old students. We have been trying to incorporate new and exciting ways to teach our students virtually.
My students are very caring, loving, and eager to absorb the world around them.
My students are currently learning from home via virtual Schoology video conferences, uploaded videos, learning packets (filled with tons of hands-on activities and crafts!), and 1:1 video conferences and phone calls. Many of our parents will send us pictures and videos of their child (per their little one's request) of them completing the many learning activities we have provided them. We love our students so much, and we cannot wait until it is safe to go back to school.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused us to change the way we live, and this is especially difficult for teachers and students. As we are learning to navigate this new world, we must explore new ways to stay in contact with each other. Thanks to technology, students can continue to hold onto familiar faces and routines, a small piece of comfort that affects their social-emotional and academic well-being. When attending an online video conference with students, the quality of your headphones is just as important as the speed of your internet connection. If you have poor audio quality, it can negatively affect your teaching and communication with students. I am requesting a pair of Apple AirPods Pro, which are active noise cancelling in-ear earbuds. The AirPods will help limit distractions of background noise and feedback often heard through the built-in laptop microphone in my house while I am teaching, which will help students stay engaged and focused without making my words sound choppy or cutoff.
As educators quickly transition from the traditional classrooms to online learning platforms, it is imperative that educators are equipped and prepared for the ever-changing times.
Although the future is currently uncertain, one thing stays the same – our children's education is priority. The AirPods will be very helpful for longer periods of listening and talking with my students during our weekly class video conferences, 1:1 video conferences, IEP meetings with families, and virtual staff meetings. These are unprecedented times. Never did I imagine that when my students and I said goodbye for Spring Break, it would mean that it was our last day in the classroom. However, the year is not over yet! We will continue to stay in contact with our students and engage with them so they know we still love, care, and miss them!
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