In-Person Activities Add More Personalization for VLO Students
“One of the most enjoyable parts of learning to read is getting to ‘shop’ for books to borrow from the classroom library,” said VLO second-grade teacher Charlotte Elia.
While her VLO students have many digital reading resources, Elia also wanted them to have the option to experience choosing books in this more traditional way. As she began figuring out how her students could access a classroom library, the idea grew into including a teacher read-aloud and a fun activity to round out the experience.
Because VLO teachers don’t have a physical classroom, both Lakota East and Lakota West high schools have set aside a classroom for VLO teachers and students to use this year. “We are very thankful to the high schools for welcoming us into their buildings,” said Elia. “Our young students are amazed at how big the high school is, and the high school students enjoy seeing our class walking in classic single-file fashion through the hallways at East!”
So far about half of Elia’s class has participated in an in-person activity. To date, activities have included playing together at the playground, making crafts, holding game days, and just enjoying each other’s company. Upcoming events include creating Mother’s & Father’s Day gifts and making slime. Elia knows that not everyone can join in on these in-person activities, so she also holds non-academic opportunities on Zoom, like the online game Kahoot, as well as a ‘lunch bunch.’
Elia is in her second year as a VLO teacher, and fully embraces the online learning concept. “When virtual learning became an option, I was thoroughly excited to get in on the ground floor of this unique, special experience. My singular focus is to ensure that all of my students who are learning from home have an amazing year in second grade!”
For Elia, the highlight of in-person activities is looking at them through the lens of Lakota’s approach to personalized learning. Families in VLO can work at their own pace throughout the week, allowing for the flexibility to attend in-person activities. The activities are a way for her to offer a variety of both virtual and in-person experiences from which her students and their families may choose. Elia’s goal is to always make sure she is offering different options so that all families can find choices that work for them.
“I am inspired every day by the wonderful relationships my students have built with each other through our groups on Zoom, but I am also thrilled to continue to offer in-person activities for those who are interested. The best feedback I receive about my in-person activities (and my virtual ones) is when students tell me they can’t wait for the next time!”