LAKEWOOD, Ohio — For the better part of the last year, the perils of remote learning have become abundantly clear to both students and staff.
However, nowhere have the pitfalls of providing a virtual education been more evident than with kindergarten teachers, who have been tasked with not only teaching, but introducing the Class of 2033 to elementary school life.
“The beginning was definitely hard for a lot of kids, but we’ve done porch visits,” said Grant Elementary School kindergarten teacher Caroline Kennedy, who has 19 students. “That allowed us to try to have that more of a connection with them. We were able to meet the kids in person from a safe distance away.
“Also, early on there was a lot of just explaining the different rules and expectations for each kid.”
Lakewood City Schools kindergarteners have a full-day of instruction that includes a group Zoom class followed by small workgroups and finishing assignments on classroom app Seesaw.
Despite being remote, teachers are continuing previous lessons the best they can. When it came time for a recent science project, the Grant Elementary teachers included something extra in a packet that goes home to the students.
“As kindergarten teachers, we like to take every opportunity to let kiddos learn in creative ways, even when they are learning from home,” teacher Tessa Lynch said.
“We’ve been studying changes in the night sky, and decided to incorporate a quick STEM activity to review the phases of the moon that we have learned. Each student was given two Oreo cookies — just in case one broke — and a popsicle stick.”
The teachers instructed the students to use the stick to remove the side of the Oreo with the cream remaining to make a half and crescent moon. The lesson ended with all of the cream removed from the cookie, revealing a new moon.
Kennedy’s kindergarten student Arya Kerney said, “My favorite part was learning the phases of the moon and eating the Oreo.”
Lynch’s kindergartener Erin Hay enjoyed being able to touch and see up close the phases of the moon in her hand.
“The Oreo was delicious,” Erin added.
Parents also enjoyed the Oreo activity.
“We enjoyed having a fun, hands-on activity with the whole class,” kindergarten parent Amanda Miller said. “I think it’s fun for them to work on stuff like that together, yet apart.”
With so many young kids around tasty cookies, obviously the kindergarten teachers ran the risk of one student doing their best Cookie Monster impression.
“Ah, yes, one kid in Ms. Lynch’s class was starting to bite into the cookie instead of making a half-moon,” Kennedy said. “That was pretty funny.”