Life changed for all of us in so many ways at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but what didn't change was the commitment of the entire staff of Madeira City Schools to provide learning opportunities for our students. Our Remote Learning Program enabled all student services, including mental health & counseling services, and lunch delivery to remain in place. Madeira City Schools weren't closed, only our buildings were, and here are some of the ways that happened:
• Our third-grade teachers used some great technology with their students. All classes had Zoom meetings on Tuesdays and multiple team Zoom meetings each week. Using Screencastify, teachers were able to read chapter books aloud to their classes and used the productivity software Padlet for enrichment and extension activities. In their weekly newsletter, links were included for the Zoom meetings, teacher read alouds, and Padlet. The newsletter also had the downloadable PDF for their weekly learning packet.
• MHS French students submitted their interpretations of French Art, which staff member Nichole Gergen used in a live Kahoot class.
• Madeira Middle School’s LIGHT program continued to promote Leadership, Integrity, Generosity, Honesty, and Teamwork. The school held Virtual Spirit Week to give students an opportunity to earn points for Teamwork with a different spirit challenge every day. Students dressed up and emailed a picture or video to their homeroom teacher and were encouraged to wear their outfits to their zoom meetings that day. MMS students' lights shined from home!
• Madeira 4th grade students worked on the song Best Day of My Life by American Authors before our Remote Learning Program began. They independently recorded themselves singing the song and sent them to MES music teacher Tina Gutierrez who created this group song: Best Day of My Life
• Local author Loren Long joined Jonelle Bell's Kindergarten class in their Zoom meeting!
• MMS 5th & 6th Grade Choirs held a live virtual concert.
• MES fourth-graders took a virtual tour of the Ohio Statehouse to close up our study of government, made Ohio flags to hang in windows at home to support our great state, used "snail mail" to stay "care and connect" with each other and their teachers to keep writing skills sharp, completed a survey to "own" their learning and help their teachers plan for future weeks. They used Flipgrid to share their class read alouds and what they’ve been up to with fun videos.
(screenshots - links were live for students)
Creating and exploring Earth Day from home:
• MMS band classes were held through Zoom with grade-level bands in ‘family’ groups of like instruments such as flutes and trumpets. Each instrument is its own family group or homogeneous group which is part of a larger group like woodwind, brass, or percussion. Private Zoom sessions were offered for any student that felt they needed more time with their instructors Lori Adams and Wes Woolard.
• For every student in Grades 5-12, our district provides Chromebooks - an internet-connected device capable of accessing digital learning materials. These devices are an academic lifeline for students/parents, especially during remote learning circumstances. The technology department is continuing to support student devices, even during closures, to ensure all students have the access they need to connect with teachers, view/complete assignments, and keep in touch with district news/updates. If students don't have internet/WIFI access at home, building administrators and counselors are working with those families to find low or no-cost solutions to support all in the district.
• Schoology is a K-12 Learning Management System that had already been in place at Madeira City Schools for several years. As we moved to a distance learning plan, all our teachers were already trained, skilled, and experienced with the platform. Schoology allows teachers to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. Teachers were already using Schoology to post updates and announcements, digital assignments, tests and assessments, and discussion boards to provide anywhere/anytime access to all of their learning content whenever it's needed. Teachers create student groups, assign work, link academic standards, and more. Students could view and complete work, check their grades, message their teachers, and track their progress over their entire academic career. Parents monitored their child's progress, communicated with teachers/administrators, viewed district/school announcements, and accessed the course calendar at any time. This comprehensive learning platform boosted district-wide collaboration and supported remote learning.
• The district used the video conferencing tool Zoom to host staff meetings, remote learning classes, and open office hours. Zoom supports up to 100 participants, a shared group chat, moderator functions, screen sharing, annotation and more. Zoom is a comprehensive video conferencing tool that allows people to connect, share, and discuss over the internet regardless of physical distance, and for teachers to connect with students. As of April 2 all sessions defaulted to a virtual waiting room where the host must admit each participant to keep sessions private and safe.
• At Madeira Elementary School, grade level learning packets were distributed and upcoming assignments were shared on Sundays via email to parents. Teachers used apps such as Seesaw, a platform for student engagement which allows teachers to collect work and give direct private feedback to students. For students in grades 5-12, assignments were posted on Schoology. Learning activities and assignments were developmentally appropriate in length and breadth; what students would typically be asked to complete in their classroom as a review, reinforcement, or extension of information already instructed by their teacher in a prior classroom experience.
As always, be sure to check the Madeira City Schools Coronavirus Updates on the district website for the latest information. You will find each of our district updates as well as a FAQ document with helpful links and resources.
A big thank you to our faculty and staff, students, and parents for helping us navigate this new normal!
Pictured: Madeira classes connect for lessons via Zoom video conferencing