Engagement: Students Stay Connected with Math Battles and Building with 3D Shapes

Posted On Tuesday June 16, 2020
Avery enjoys doing her research and reading for school in a comfortable spot outside.

A Whitby Shores PS teacher and student share their experiences with Distance Learning

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) started Distance Learning on April 6th, as a result of schools being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators and students have had to adjust quickly to teaching and learning at home. While it has not been easy, many have found innovative and unique ways to make learning and engagement at home successful. We spoke to a few educators and students who shared their stories and experiences with us.

See below for a Distance Learning success story from Whitby Shores Public School, featuring Teacher Julie Clark and Grade 2 student Avery.

Julie Clark, Teacher

Q: Explain how the transition to Distance Learning has been for you?

A: I don’t think it was something any of us were prepared for and certainly not at the speed at which everything had to be changed over and adapted. However, with the support of our Whitby Shores PS staff and families, we discovered new ways to stay connected.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about this innovative type of teaching?

A: We started off with virtual class meetings where the students were able to see and talk to each other. Some of the at-home assignments so far have been: building rain gauges, 3D robots, and even a 3D tree house. We have also had math battles using the Prodigy Math game. We would meet online as a class to battle math questions with our wizards (characters you control in the game). What I have enjoyed most through this type of teaching and learning is seeing how adaptable the students have become.

Q: What type of reactions have you received? 

A: Our class has had a very high rate of participation from our families. I appreciate all the work and patience parents have put in at home to help make Distance Learning possible for their children.

Q: Anything to add?

A: My students should be very proud of how they have handled all the changes and new expectations. We also have a class Twitter account (@MsClarksUpdates) where I post pictures of student learning. It allows the students to see their work, and the work of their peers, celebrated.

Avery, Grade 2 Student

Q: What’s the biggest difference between learning in a classroom and learning from home, for you?

A: At home, my Mom and I type my questions in Google Classroom and wait to hear back from my teacher, but I don’t get to give my teacher a hug.

Q: Do you have any tips for other students about how to stay focused while learning from home?

I like to find a comfy and quiet place to do some of my reading or research. If you are having a hard time focusing, try taking a break and think about something that makes you happy. Sometimes we listen to soft music when we are working and I like that. It helps me relax.

Q: What has been your favourite assignment from your teacher since Distance Learning began? Can you explain the assignment?

My favourite assignments were building the 3D shape tree house, and 3D shape robot. The 3D robot was cool. We had to cut out 3D shape nets and build them, then we used those shapes to create a robot. I named mine Storm Fly and made a little movie about him.

Q: Anything to add?

A: I really liked doing video calls with my teacher and classmates. Sometimes we would do a dance party together just like we use to do in school.