Teachers at The Learning Center Charter School have not let school closure and remote learning stand in the way of teaching effectively, engaging students deeply in core curriculum, and embarking on interesting projects.
For example, Jay Ward teaches sixth grade science at the charter school and implemented an entire science unit studying space exploration and the constellations remotely with her class. She called the unit “Space Exploration” and it involved students researching planets, creating 3D models of the solar system, and writing a paper from the point of view of a scientist hoping to colonize a distant planet.
The assignments were completed either via Google Classroom or hard copy. Physical projects such as the 3D models of the solar system were dropped off at the school during the weekly drop off times on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 am and 3:30-5:30 pm. As the project progressed, students were expected to view a series of “Crash Course Kids” science videos on YouTube. Finally, at the conclusion of the unit, students had to create a Nebula in a jar or comparable space feature depending on supplies students had available to them at home.
“In March when we began remote learning, I had great plans that mimicked what we regularly do face-to-face in the classroom,” said Ward. “However, as I spoke with parents and students through email, Facebook, phone, Google Classroom, Zoom, and Skype, it became clear that what we could accomplish at school in a short time was taking longer at home as families tried to figure it out and deal with all of the distractions.”
Ward added that based on the parent and student feedback, she pivoted and altered her plan quickly in order to meet the needs of her students while making sure that they continue to learn.