Distance Learning in Lower School

People amaze me. The acts of strength or compassion or ingenuity that they can perform in the midst of difficult situations are truly amazing. Volunteers from the DPS Foundation delivering meals prepared by local caterers to hungry families affected by school closures. Performers, authors, scientists, and educators around the world sharing pictures and videos to engage us while we shelter at home. (Did you see the new babies at the Duke Lemur center or catch Red Grammer’s live stream concert?) And, of course, health care workers, first responders, and other essential employees – many of them members of our TDS family – risking their own lives to keep us safe. They all amaze me.

The TDS community amazes me too. Despite every challenge that has arisen as we have transitioned to our new at-home reality, TDS students, families, faculty, and administrators have amazed me day after day. Here are some of their highlights from the early days of this distance learning process:

  • Primary students are adjusting to a new view of their teachers and friends onscreen. TK reports, “Meetings with TKers are going strong. We have mastered “Brady Bunch” style greetings, singing songs together and generally catching up with lost teeth, birthdays and breakfast. (They’re usually eating something!)” In first grade, individual conferences are going well. Their teachers are so proud of the way they are working hard and doing their best.
  • Both second and third graders have loved seeing their classmates and teachers in morning meetings. Second graders continue to work on Biography writing and have really enjoyed learning about fractions and math week. Third grade teachers tell us, “We are so proud of all of their hard work and thoughtful responses, especially with our virtual read aloud, Because of Winn-Dixie.
  • Fourth and fifth graders have loved connecting with each other through video conferences as well. They’re becoming quite adept at online assignments and love opportunities for educational videos and games. Read aloud remains a favorite way to connect as a class, just like in our regular classroom.
  • Ms. Hofmann has embraced the distance learning experience, telling us, “Online schooling is an interesting experiment for LS Spanish for two reasons that are total opposites:
    1. we’re not able to do the same things that we do in class [i.e. write in our Passports, play games, ask questions while we read books, etc.]2. we’re able to do things that we’ve never done in class before

    I’ve offered several different options for turning in assignments, such as making home videos, taking pictures, exploring Scholastic online magazines in Spanish, or typing up answers in Google Docs. It’s weirdly really fun. I’ve received several videos from students of them speaking Spanish at home. It’s like a blessing in disguise. While I miss the shenanigans that take place in the LS Spanish classroom, I’m optimistic that the lessons and ideas that bloom from this unique experience will lead to new (and more FUN) ways of learning Spanish for when we return :).”

  • Mrs. Phillips has been posting a Library Choice Board, which changes each week and gives students a variety of choices for not only different levels but different interests. It’s also a way to showcase all of the free resources (e-books, etc) without sending a huge overwhelming list. You can find everything from a link to ebooks, to read-alouds in space, to maker stations on the library choice board! Starting next week, Mrs. Phillips will “go live” to read stories to TK-K. First and second will enjoy a continuing chapter book read-aloud, and for 3rd-5th grade, we will have book talks, book recommendations, and possibly start a new chapter book together. She’s looking forward to lots of library pop-ins!
  • Mrs. Lucas has loved all the pictures that students have shared of their artwork.

Amie Tedeschi
Lower School Coordinator