What is most surprising for me on the teaching end is how many hours it is taking to sustain this virtual school experience. How much time I spend actually working. We are not in school as many hours but the hours I spend are way more than when we were in the building.
[In order to build a relationship with a student] I had his parents create him a Bitmoji and then created a whole Bitmoji classroom. I put him and me in it and all the things he likes. He is so engaged. That really helped build a relationship. That is the type of dedication - that is how important it is for me to have those relationships.
We have been explicitly teaching Scholarly Habits and it has been going really well. In the first week, we talked about being Independent and Resilient. In PreK, that is one of the Scholarly Habits we focus on a lot. With this pandemic, you would be surprised at how many things these students have been doing on their own. Some of them are talking about learning to ride their scooter… one kid talked about how to build a fort on his own. He used to have to have his dad come and help him with the pillows and chairs. Recently, he has been trying to do it on his own. But he gets frustrated. That's where we talked a lot about the resilient piece. That's when you keep on trying even when it gets tough. Others talked about brushing their teeth or making their own sandwiches. Some talked about helping feed the baby. It's been a lot of conversation around the Scholarly Habits even more so than we usually have in the school. This year with virtual learning we have been teaching this more explicitly, and it's been more relatable to them. So many people are worried about what they're losing but there are so many things that you can talk about [with each of] the Scholarly Habits.