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A glimpse into distance learning at Gibbons
Rachelle Garbarine
Distance  learning infographic

Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks, we will post stories that provide a glimpse into the innovative online classes our educators are teaching to keep learning moving forward for students.

This week, Gibbons closed the school building to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In turn, getting ready for classes for students has meant turning on their laptops from the comfort of their homes.

Meanwhile, our educators were more than ready to transition to distance learning since they were armed with creative and effective ways to teach their classes online. Gibbons also had in place its time tested 1:1 program, providing every student and educator with a laptop to work efficiently within a virtual environment.

And work they have. Educators continue to move learning forward and, whenever possible, maintain the daily life of the school.

For instance, Assistant Principal of Student Engagement Mike Rogosich '90 continues to meet with student council members via Zoom, an online video conferencing tool. He also posts the daily prayer on Twitter, helping to retain that morning tradition.

Another tradition that has been replicated online is hearing the song “Wagon Wheel” on Fridays. Earlier today, Gibbons Coffee House and other members of the Gibbons community entertained us with a video in which each person sings a portion of the song. The video was posted on Twitter, offering a #ConcertAtHome.

Classroom educators are also using Zoom and other digital tools to conduct classes as they navigate the new reality of extended online learning. Other tools include Google Classroom, a web service that streamlines the sharing of files; Remind, a mobile messaging platform; FlipGrid, a platform that allows educators to pose questions and students to post video responses; and GimKit, a group quiz-based assessment tool.

Here’s a peek into some of the online classes taking place at Gibbons:

Student working on dance routine at home as part of distance learning assignment.

Dance educator Erica Seninsky is engaging her students in multiple tasks, “to keep them moving, creating, reflecting, and even performing during our time out of the studio,” she said. How?

According to Seninsky, her students are creating dance phrases, recording their work, and posting it on Google Classroom and FlipGrid “for their classmates to learn and combine into a larger class dance.” In addition to taking a virtual techniques class taught by Seninsky, students also are taking online courses taught by dance artists offering free classes to the dance community. 

Social Studies educator Treve Lumsden is engaging his students, many of whom will be first-time voters in the November election, with assignments intended to connect them directly with the parties and the process. They will, he added, evaluate several political parties through their websites and social media platforms, as well as their plans dealing with COVID-19 and the rhetoric surrounding those plans.

While students are in their homes he noted, “they have time for self-reflection, and my course provides a great opportunity to enhance that.”

Latin educator Whitney Crabbe is using educational technology in her virtual classroom to do many of the activities she has done with students in her classes at Gibbons. “We still get to study classical mythology together, and I still get to teach them about ancient history as well as help them learn and translate Latin,” Crabbe said. “I even ran a GimKit vocabulary game from home."

Crabbe said moving classes online “in some ways, is business as usual,” for her. But to be honest, she added, “I have to say that I miss being in the classroom with my students.”

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