My first-grade students and I had our first real-time video conference meeting, it was a fun and positive experience for all of us. As a teacher, I was able to see the faces I have missed so much. We shared stories about our shelter-at-home experiences and I even got to meet a few pets. I could see on their faces how happy they were to see and talk to me.
My students come from a richly diverse population.
In my classroom, I have students whose parents speak Hmong, Cambodian, English, Spanish, and Arabic. My students bring a wealth of culture, experience, and information to my classroom. As a mostly immigrant population, our students are working hard to overcome language and poverty barriers.
I am striving to give my students a virtual classroom experience that they feel comfortable expressing themselves in. We love to share stories about our families and our new learning situation. I am hoping to improve our virtual atmosphere by making our meetings a place that students feel comfortable to share and have fun.
During the difficult months of March and April, shelter-in-place and distance learning has been full of ups and downs for both myself and my students. One of the highlights from distance learning was video conferencing with my first graders. They were so happy to see me and each other. I could feel and see the excitement on their faces when we all connected online. It was hard not to shed a tear when I heard their voices. In the last few weeks I have finally set a good routine for video conferencing and online learning. However, I have noticed a few things that I need to make distance-learning an overall better experience.
I’m asking for headphones with a microphone to keep my video lessons private.
I’m also asking for a large whiteboard and easel to use for math and grammar lessons. The easel will make it easy to demonstrate skills without having to put the whiteboard down and pick it back up. Using a whiteboard and easel definitely feels more like being in the classroom. It helps with the flow of my lessons and gives a boost of information for those visual learners. I am also asking for a led lighting ring to cast light on my whiteboard and my face so students can see me more clearly on their screens.
The items I am asking for will definitely help make my distance learning experience a better one for myself and my students. Hopefully seeing their teacher online will ease the stress of our current situation and give their parents peace of mind that learning is still taking place.
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