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Lincoln Distance Learning Teachers Help Students

Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten teacher, Karen Sykes, gives a thumbs up to her students during a distance learning class.

“This is the word right here. Did you say ‘tot?'” asked Lincoln Elementary School teacher Karen Sykes as she pointed to the word on her sound mat while Zooming with her kindergartners. “I heard you Jamie, I see it Aviana. Did anyone push in the sounds and then write them? Did you use the sound mat? Oh my goodness Samantha, I see your sound mat! And I see your letters. Great job! It’s fascinating that you can do such great work and we are not even in the same room!”

Mrs. Sykes taught her distance-learning students an ELA lesson using sound mats, which is a printed collection of phonemes (sounds) that the students use in phonics. Each sound is accompanied by a related image to help the students quickly recognize the sound that the letter makes. Sound mats are just one of many ways Mrs. Sykes uses different teaching methods to keep her kindergartners engaged and learning through distance learning.

“You have to remember that I have never met some of these fully remote kindergartners in person,” said Mrs. Sykes. “It has all been by Zoom. Our kindergarten team has worked extremely hard to think of ways to engage our kids, and build a community, through distance learning. We have also worked together as a team to create targets that we all need to reach with our students so we are all on the same page and each child is getting the same instruction, whether they are in-person or remote learning.”

Mrs. Sykes has done all sorts of activities with her kids including scavenger hunts where students are learning about how to notice things and need to find six things in their house or using a choice board for home learning where families chose three activities to complete for the week such as using a fly swatter to “swat the words” or building words with cereal or macaroni.

“At this age, we are really looking to get the kids moving around, five-year-olds need that to learn, so we are constantly as a team trying to think of creative ways to do this in both ELA and math,” said Mrs. Sykes.

Much of the work in kindergarten is learning sounds. An example of how Mrs. Sykes might do a lesson is to send home a paper packet of work but then create a video of the lesson giving information to parents on what to do with the packet – a parent tutorial. Often, parents will send a video back showing the students doing the work and Mrs. Sykes can see how the child is doing and give feedback.

“It is important at any age to get parents involved but so important in kindergarten. Often I will model the lesson to the children and give families tips on how to help their children succeed with learning. We are here and want to help our families in any way we can so that their child can succeed in these challenging times.”

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