Having the ability to see smiling faces every day and greet students as they walk through the classroom doors are just two things that Brianne Fenrich misses about her Grade 5/6 class at L’Ecole Bilingue Elementary. These particular moments outside of teaching, the ones that build the sense of community in her classroom, are the moments she is most looking forward to with the resumption of voluntary in-class instruction set for June 1.
But, before those moments happen for Ms. Fenrich and her colleagues across the Vancouver School District, staff are hard at work to prepare classrooms and schools. There’s a lot of work ahead of welcoming back students whose families decided to have them attend school part-time for the remainder of the school year.
In Fenrich’s classroom, all the desks are placed 6-feet apart. And like there will be in all schools, there are health and safety signs reminding students to keep their distance, to frequently wash or sanitize their hands. In hallways of schools, there will be directional arrows on the floors that will be used as guides to maintain traffic flow in hallways and in classrooms. All these visuals will aid in reminding students how to stay healthy and safe while at school.
When it comes to teaching, teachers are looking to their lesson plans for June to support all students in their learning through the end of the school year. Ms. Fenrich plans to keep her in-classroom instruction streamlined with the lesson plans for students learning from home. She sends weekly work plans to her students every Friday. The children planning to continue their learning from home will complete their tasks as they have been since April. For those students who will be in attendance, Fenrich says the work will be the same as students learning remotely.
“I think that keeping their learning streamlined will make it easier for me, but also for the students who are at home so that they don’t feel like they’re missing out on something,” she explains.
Teaching plans will vary grade by grade and school by school when the in-class instruction resumes on a part-time basis. Yet, all students – whether they continue to learn at home or in-class, will be supported in their learning journeys.
Despite challenges faced with learning from – home, Fenrich says that she encountered many successes in her virtual classrooms.
“I’ve realized that sometimes when you do the smallest thing to try and connect with a student, it can have a huge impact – especially in times like these.”
To maintain a positive and engaging experience with her students online, Fenrich uses Microsoft TEAMS to run daily conferences, communicates with parents everyday via email and does individual check-ins with each student. In terms of her online curriculum, Fenrich utilizes a platform called Flip Grid to get students to connect with their peers with video messages.
Fenrich is looking forward to getting back to in-person conversations and interactions with her class. With nice weather around the corner, she plans on taking her students’ learning outside. This too will be a big part of the experience for those students who will attend in-class instruction throughout June.
District and school-based staff look forward to welcoming students back to their schools and classrooms! For more information on the preparation for the voluntary, part-time return to in-class instruction, check out the continuity of learning hub.