New Ways of Teaching, New Ways of Learning
When we first leapt into distance learning, there was a general scramble to get our footing. A piece of advice we got then seemed like the foothold we needed: whatever you do, stay true to your mission. We considered: what are the elements of our school that we want to maintain through this difficult time? What is it that students, teachers and parents depend on and hold dear that seem essential to our personality as a school? How can we proceed in a way that still feels like Lesley Ellis?
It turns out that exploring these questions led us to some interesting places, which all have the LES stamp. We have found ways to maintain our sense of community, to enact our ability to know each child as an individual, and to make learning fun and engaging, even while we learn from different spots each day.
Teachers continue to prioritize connecting with students. In our younger classes that looks like chats with teachers and friends each day and sharing bits of our lives at home that connect with topics we are learning in school. It also looks like first and second graders performing a reader’s theater production after practicing fluency and tone with a text to the delight of a group of LES staff. It looks like morning meetings to uphold routines and bring students together to talk about what is happening in the world – the greater one and our own smaller spheres. For our oldest students, office hours, study halls, and advisory groups are scheduled so that they can connect with teachers and feel supported both academically and emotionally.
The specialist teachers have found ways to bring their classes to students each week in all grades. This is evidenced by the stomping parents hear while their children attend PE class or by the unmistakable notes played by beginning flautists. Students are inspired by stories and gather materials found around the house to make Rube Goldberg machines and test them out. They listen to music and create art that connects them to their feelings about it, and they chat, sing and act in Spanish with their friends and teachers over Zoom.
We have reached out to families to find out how this experience is affecting them, made tweaks in response to changing needs and information, and continue to explore the initial questions that ground us and connect us: How can we continue to uphold our mission? This focus will continue to guide us.
The Lesley Ellis curriculum has continued unabated and the same sense of community and connection continues. We wanted to share with you some of the various ways our faculty are teaching, our students are learning, and how we are all staying connected as a community.
Hear from a few Lesley Ellis parents about the transition from in person learning to distance learning
When the COVID pandemic forced schools to move to an online environment, Lesley Ellis was prepared. The faculty and administration worked together to seamlessly transition to a new way of teaching and learning. Hear how it went from a few of our parents.