Teachers have created innovative virtual classroom spaces to introduce themselves, create a sense of shared community space, provide resources for accessing class materials, and start meaningful dialogue with students.
Anike Oliver taught at GDS from 2001–06 and returned to the High School math department this year. In the first days of 9th grade geometry, she guided students through the activities in this presentation and welcomed them into their virtual classroom. Notably, on slides 9–11 Anike introduced her students to three GDS alumni who were her former students (with their permission). She shared a bit about their math experiences as students and how they’ve gone on to use math in their professional lives. (Click the settings gear to open speaker notes, if you want to read a bit about these alumni). In Anike’s virtual math classroom itself (slide 12), students found links to essential and interactive class materials. At the conclusion of their first few class meetings, Anike engaged students in a collaborative brainstorming session on what an anti-racist classroom should look like (slide 17).
Third grade teacher Jessica Ahn added a multilayer virtual classroom to a website the 3rd grade team built for their students. Jessica has packed the virtual classroom with a library of favorite books, boards dedicated to her classroom “family” (the students), and more than a dozen inspirational posters. Daily class schedules, class rules, social-emotional check-ins, movement break suggestions, and more make this one of the most in-depth virtual classrooms we’ve seen. Jessica herself can be seen singing her way through the classroom in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, dealing with a cat asleep on her laptop, and even parachuting into Social Studies. Definitely worth a deep dive!
Students who stepped into Eric Friedenson’s virtual science classroom immediately immersed themselves in inquiry and exploration. Like Jessica’s room, the science room is packed with links, but this time, students clicked links to learn about science heroes, fascinating creatures, the human skeletal system, or dive straight into their first outdoor adventures with “flat Eric,” the two-dimensional Eric who takes them on exciting digital adventures. Students will explore local rivers and forests as well as ecosystems as far away as Uganda through videos Eric has made while traveling.
In place of High School Curriculum Night, every teacher produced a video introduction of themselves and their course(s). Parents and students were invited last week to watch the videos as a way to understand more about their teachers and the classes. High School history teacher Yani Aleman provided an introduction to her 9th grade history course that she certainly could not have given in person. She shared an exciting movie-trailer style presentation of her Communities and Change course followed by testimonials from past students about the class. Watch the video »
When students return to campus, these introductions and virtual classroom spaces will keep their value throughout the year.