“Good morning! Can everyone unmute themselves?” began Class 3 teacher Rachel Prottas with a phrase that is now common for students to hear and signals the official start of Morning Meeting.
“As you wish,” remarked a giggling student. Though only 8:30 a.m., the energy was high, as students chatted and sported big smiles.
A typical Thursday Morning Meeting in Ms. Prottas and Associate teacher Eunice Chung’s class includes a sharing session of each student’s “documentary,” which houses details of their current distance-learning and life experiences. “Kids have not experienced your situation before,” noted Ms. Prottas. “Some day, you may want to tell the world about your 3rd grade journey. If that day comes, you will be ready.”
“Can you share a little bit about what this project is?” Ms. Prottas continued, addressing the class as a whole. “Why is it significant or meaningful?”
A student explained that they’ve been using Book Creator, a digital resource to make books online, to document their endeavors. The project is an independent, on-going work and is unique to each student. This became clear as the students shared, each noting something special about her own work.
One student showcased a few individual pages adorned with photos of her home and pets, while another organized her book by school subjects, and showed her addition of a math packet and books she’s read.
“Since we’re living through history, we’re documenting how we got through it,” remarked a student. “Because we all know we’re going to get through it.”
Another third grader offered, “It’s a very special time, and it’s a great idea to take advantage of staying home.”
Several students opted to share their “Tea Party” page. A few weeks prior, all of Class 3 enjoyed a compelling virtual visitor, who taught them about Chinese tea ceremonies. After their tutorial, many students recorded their own how-to videos for making tea or demonstrating the proper way to hold a tea cup.
Students aren’t limited to sharing schoolwork in their documentary. “It’s a place to keep our feelings and all the things we do,” noted a cheerful student. She explained that she uses this project to create her own comic book and how she’s able to express how she feels in a creative way. “It doesn’t matter if you’re different than other people and how you choose to create,” a classmate piped in.
Ms. Prottas nodded in agreement. “Exactly. Some people may want to get into it every day, while it may not click for others, and that’s fine,” she said. After each student finished sharing, Ms. Prottas offered positive feedback.
This Morning Meeting session exemplified the students’ resilience and optimism. As the shares continued, a student showed a poem she wrote and photos of what she does during her screen breaks. Another includes a photo each day of a plant she’s growing.
The meeting also demonstrated how well Lower School students have grown accustomed to their new environment of remote learning and using Zoom. They seamlessly navigated the digital tool, avoided talking over each other and engaged in spirited participation.
To conclude the meeting, the Class took part in a fun game of “Bridge, School, Gator,” a Lower School favorite. Soon, the clock neared 9 a.m., time to bid farewell. The class let out a hearty goodbye and a chorus of thank you’s, ready to take on their next classes and activities with creativity and enthusiasm.