We are now in the second week of our Junior School Distance Learning (DL) program, and there is no question that everyone is missing the physical connectedness of being together on campus. Staying safe and protecting those around us remain our shared priorities. Despite the reputation of mental malaise associated with universal virtual learning, I commend our students and teachers for responding to the challenge in true “Highlander” form.
I had the pleasure this week of Zooming in to several classes in the Junior School. It was unscheduled and exciting. Mrs. Belliveau was reluctant to admit me into her Grade 8 Science class, as she was convinced I was an imposter in the waiting room! Seeing the maskless and smiling faces was a true spirit booster and, not surprisingly, her students were uber-focused on their study of fluid pressure. I greeted Monsieur Hollett’s Grade 7 class with my best wishes en français and enjoyed connecting with the students and hearing about their listening activity: les activités en plein air. It is hard to match Mr. Kershaw’s enthusiasm (and knowledge) of anything in the natural world, and my visit to his Grade 6 biology lesson was more than interesting. He shared his students’ photos (see attached) in their Selfie Challenge, which got them away from their screens to go explore their surroundings and find, describe, and snap photos of moss and lichen samples. Talk about liking lichens! Everyone agrees Mr. Kershaw is a real “fun guy”.
My last visit saw me enter Mr. LePoidevin’s interactive classroom space as an avatar version of myself. Like the students, I could walk around the virtual room, have conversations, and explore different objects in the form of online articles, videos, and surveys. What a great space to promote inquiry-based learning, while allowing for desk work, small group work, or one-on-one interactions with the teacher.
Regardless of the class I visited, it was exhilarating. I was impressed by the meaningful learning that was happening and am reminded that we have lots to be grateful for. We are in this together, and however we connect, the bonds of our strong community will see us through.