November 13, 2020
Dear Stoddert Families,
It was great seeing you at this week’s PTO meeting. We look forward to seeing you again at our next Roundtable Discussion, which is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2nd at 2:00 p.m.
Our staff members have identified successes and lessons learned from Term 1 of distance learning – and there is absolute agreement that our reliance on our core values of collaboration and continual improvement has helped us thrive as a strong and nimble school.
A frequently identified “lessons learned” has led us to make this request for parents: Please allow your child(ren) to work solely under the guidance of our exceptional faculty and staff during virtual instruction. Although we know that it is natural for parents to want to help their child(ren) get the “right answer” during instructional time, the most effective approach is to allow Productive Struggle.
Productive Struggle is the process of effortful learning that develops grit and creative problem solving. When students face instructional challenges that they don’t immediately know how to solve, teachers skillfully scaffold instruction and encourage them to persevere, and to NOT give up. For example, teachers encourage students to grapple with figuring out how to read unknown words by using decoding and/or comprehension strategies they have learned in class. In math, students are encouraged to represent their mathematical thinking in multiple ways as they attempt to figure out the “right answer”. In both instances, struggles during the teaching and learning process are necessary experiences that deepen knowledge and understanding.
Children intuitively understand the value of productive struggles. A prime example is when children play games. Why don’t children give up when they are losing? Students EXPECT to sometimes fail when playing a game. They know that struggle and failure are part of the process.
Here are some practical ways you can foster the development of independent learning, grit and creative problem-solving within our Term 2 Distance Learning environment:
- Continue to designate a quiet learning area just for your child during school hours. This is your child’s authentic learning space, just like having his/her own desk at school!
- Continue to ensure that your child has eaten a nutritious breakfast before the start of every school day.
- Continue to cultivate the habit of preparing for the school day.
- Are all school materials close by and ready to be used when needed?
- Is your child’s name/nickname on their screen? Anything other than a child’s name on the screen is not helpful to teachers.
- Are virtual apps/backgrounds distracting your child, other students or the teacher? Then these must be reserved for times and lessons deemed appropriate by teachers.
- Reinforce the idea that everyone’s virtual learning space must be respected by staying away from your child’s screen unless otherwise directed by your child’s teacher. Stated differently, your child’s peers also need to be free from the distraction of adult voices and/or faces that are not part of the class.
- Ask your child to tell you about his/her learning experiences after school hours.
- Follow up where needed, by contacting your child’s teacher(s), after school hours.
You can also help by completing this Stoddert distance learning survey.
As always, thanks for your continued support – together, we can do this!
Principal Bryant and Assistant Principal Villegas