Tuesday was anything but a normal day of learning for students in Park Ridge-Niles District 64. With classrooms closed and activities canceled, most students hunkered down at home.
But thanks to an E-learning plan developed and implemented by District 64 teachers and administrators, students across the district continued learning Tuesday, Wednesday and into Thursday.
Connected with teachers via email, video and applications like SeeSaw, students stayed engaged in their learning. Many practiced math problem-solving, read to teachers online, focused on their fitness levels and completed art projects. Some creative kindergartners even built Leprechaun traps.
“Our staff’s dedication to students is amazing,” said Lori Lopez, the Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning at District 64. “Everyone came together as a team to tackle this. People were positive and collaborative and did their best work.”
Using school-issued Chromebooks, students in grades 3-8 were able to complete assignments online and communicate with each other via chats and email. They communicated with their classmates as much as teachers, offering advice and help in completing assignments. Field Elementary School even posted a video showing students during their E-learning.
“Students and teachers are maintaining our classroom community outside the four walls of schools. We have many examples of students encouraging and supporting one another with learning,” Lopez said.
Field School first-grade teachers taught students how to write while helping seniors in a local nursing home. The children began the lesson by reviewing a video called “It Came in the Mail.” Then students were asked to write a letter to residents of Summit of Uptown, a Park Ridge Nursing Home. Parents were asked to take a picture of their child mailing the letter and to share the picture via SeeSaw.
An Emerson School sixth-grade teacher asked students to email each other with words of encouragement. Their responses provided insight into their excitement:
“Hi peeps, happy first day of e-learning! We can get through this together, and remember we can still go outside!!!!”
“Today is just a normal day of school but just at home. Just put your mind to it and do your best. You got this!”
“Don’t get distracted from the other things going around in your house. Just remember that today is just like a school day but without being at school.”
While teaching students remotely will never replace what is offered in the schools, Lopez said the temporary program goes well beyond academics.
“E-learning is not only critical for maintaining the momentum of learning, but also provides students with a comfortable routine during these uncertain times,” she said.
District 64 will be closed for Spring Break from Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 29. E-learning will continue on Monday, March 30 and until schools re-open. A decision on when to re-open schools may be made during Spring Break.