( EDIT: THE TERM LEARNING LOSS IS WHAT IS BEING THROWN AROUND. PEOPLE HAVE VERY STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS TERMINOLOGY. MY PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE IS THAT THERE IS NOT LEARNING LOSS, BUT KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCES THAT HAS YET TO BE ACQUIRED. LET US TALK ABOUT HOW TO ADDRESS THIS...WHICH IS THE HEART OF THIS POST IN THE FIRST PLACE. )
Hello Friends! I'm very curious to hear about what you are seeing & what you are doing in light of "learning loss" that has happened during the pandemic/virtual learning. I know that it will be different everywhere because our situations are different. I feel we need to be having these conversations so we can help one another as we navigate these waters!
Some students have not been in the building since the beginning of March 2020, and we had about a third of our population remaining virtual the entire 2020-2021 school year. One of the first things I noticed once students were back in my room was that they have forgotten how to be together & how to work together. This is going to take time. We have to be patient with our students as they reacclimate to school life. Those of us who taught virtually know that not all the students were not always in environments conducive to learning. Plus, they were often without social interaction with peers. A classroom teacher and I were talking about this, and felt that if we could help them get back in the rhythm of school....that the learning would jump by leaps and bounds. I truly believe this.
That being said, we are charged with educating our students. We need to provide activities that meet our students where they are at, and not where they "should" be in a "normal" school year. Now, many would say this should be what we do all the time, and to a point...I agree. However, we all know that there is some expectations that we have of what students can do by certain points based on age/grade. I know that many of my students did not have access to art supplies (even though I made art supplies available at different points while virtual). Lack of exposure/experience does cause us to reevaluate what we are teaching, how we are teaching, and when we are teaching. There may be a project I LOVE doing with third grade. It isn't that I can't do that project with them, but I may need to provide some projects that will lead them into that project so they are better prepared for the media, concept, and/or technique. I want them to be successful & feel confident in their work. It might just take some time to "warm up" to those big heavy hitter projects we love so much!! Also, consider how you can break a project down so the students can be more successful. I usually do a landscape collage with my 1st graders. However, they have had little opportunity to create collage, use scissors, and learn how to successfully apply liquid glue. To throw them into the project like "normal" would not provide the best experience for them to be successful. So I broke it down. On day one I show the students examples of different landscapes, reintroduced the idea of foreground, middle ground, and background, and then had them create the "base" of their landscapes. The base was a blue sky (unless they wanted to do sunset...had a few of those) & a couple different greens to create the ground. They had to completely cover the picture starting with the sky color first. The next class time students will be adding their details (trees, rivers, ponds, buildings, plants, animals, clouds..etc). This will yield a better/successful result. I really want my students to feel confident in what and how they are creating!
Most of all....your students need YOU!!! They need your smile. They need your encouragement. They need to feel safe. They need our boundaries. They need our expectations. We provide so much for our students that is not factored into testing/GPA's & such. They need us to gain back what they have lost.