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Learning At Home

Teachers, Students, Families Navigate New World

Washington Middle School students, Alana and Cecilia Santiago, worked on birdhouses during their learning at home session. The girls will hang them outside to study the birds that visit them.

Jamestown Public Schools is incredibly proud of our staff, students and their families who, in an unprecedented situation, have supported students to learn at home in a variety of ways. From packets of materials to on-line learning teachers are trying new ways to educate students while discovering how to best deliver educational content during this time.

JPS Chief Academic Officer, Michelle McDowell, cannot say enough about the efforts of principals, teachers, instructional coaches, curriculum coordinators, students and parents when it comes to learning at home. “The commitment, creativity, and collaboration that has gone into keeping our students learning at home during this challenging time is incredible. From principals leading faculty meetings on Zoom to teachers reading to classes on Facebook Live to parents leading students through learning packets, our JPS family has truly outdone themselves to keep our children learning and growing.”

JHS teacher Bradley Peterson is keeping up with his Global 2 students by posting content readings/questions, video clips, articles and discussion questions each day on Google Classroom. As a history teacher, Mr. Peterson also believes in writing to engage students to think and write about this unprecedented Quarantine event. Here is a recent Google Classroom post:

“A fantastic thing to think about doing would be a journal as a PRIMARY SOURCE (like Anne Frank’s Diary, eerily similar to the isolation aspect) of this whole Quarantine event.. Trust me, you will enjoy reading about this once-in-a-lifetime event in 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now from your own personal work! Use the Google Doc over on the Classroom Tab to document your Primary Source Journal during this Quarantine time!”

Persell Middle School science teacher, Mary Maggio, is providing tasks for all of her students via Google Classroom where they can complete an assignment and turn it in to be graded. She has also created Google Forms to obtain quick information about how students are progressing with their work.

Persell Middle School student, Jackson Kresge, attends AT Science class through Zoom with teacher Mary Maggio on Zoom.

“I love to see how my students are doing, but I also use Zoom video conferences to review classwork that was assigned and to chat with my students,” said Mrs. Maggio. She has also video recorded some of her Power Point presentations, so that students who struggle with reading can hear her explain the content.

JHS teacher, Donnelle Conti, is keeping in touch with her students through Remind and Google Classroom. She has been uploading Powerpoint presentations to help them focus on important information and sends messages everyday just to check in with them.

“I am reminding them to ‘Be Smart, Act Smart, Think Smart,’ which is a reference to a quote in my classroom,” said Mrs. Conti. “I have had many of them check in with me over the past couple of weeks. Many of them check in daily. I will also be meeting with them through Zoom.”

Many of the art teachers are doing YouTube demonstrations including Fletcher Elementary School’s Darryl Mallanda. He is doing instructional videos in drawing, coloring, and other various forms and elements of art and posting it to the school’s Facebook page well as to his teacher website at www.jpsny.org. He is also providing free coloring sheets on the school website that parents can download. If students don’t have art materials at home, Mr. Mallanda is also adapting most of the lessons to offer alternatives to use only simple materials such as pencils or pens.

JPS Information Services Department is also helping staff, students and families navigate the world of at-home learning by providing assistance with technical questions. If a student or family has a technical support question, please email techsupport@jpsny.org or call 483-4242. A member of the JPS team will reach out to you as soon as possible to offer help. A special thank you to JPS Technology Integration Coach, Jason Kathman, and JPS Social Studies Instructional Coach, Jeff Kresge, who have been helping teachers and staff during this time to quickly learn and integrate technology into their instruction in new ways to reach their students. Mr. Kathman has hosted three professional development sessions to assist teachers with building a JPS website, Google Classroom basics, and conducting a class discussion with Zoom. Persell Middle School teacher, Jayme Genco, has also hosted training on combining Google Classroom and creating YouTube videos for kids. All are helping teachers who need more information or help on using the technology from their homes.

Lincoln Elementary School first grader Tiberius Allen conducts a science experiment to learn about density during a learning at home session.

Many schools are using social media to share instructional activities or fun things to do as a family. Fletcher Elementary School has a daily STEM challenge – a recent one – “Get outside in the sunshine and use nature to write a note to your Fletcher Family.” Schools, like Love Elementary, are also doing virtual read alouds with their staff or physical education challenges such as doing jumping jacks. Some schools are also showcasing videos from students teaching other students!

If students or parents have questions about learning at home or working with your child’s teacher, please email curriculum@jpsny.org or call your school principal. There are also constantly updated resources on JPS’ website at jpsny.org/learningathome.

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