With the 2021-2022 school year coming to an end, it is now time for teachers to reflect and relax over the summer break. It’s hard to believe that this was the first full educational year back after the Covid pandemic, and schools knew that going from full-time remote learning back to full-time traditional was going to be a challenge. So many uncertainties arose, and one of many were: how do we optimize student engagement and increase social and emotional management? One of many solutions is to create positive energy through collaborative learning.
I had the pleasure of teaching at a local high school and I did not waste anytime on slowly making the young scholars comfortable with team collaboration. This was important to allow the students to: 1. Become comfortable speaking to their peers again. 2. Understand that consistent team work would elevate some of the stress of being back in an unfamiliar traditional learning environment that they had been removed from for over 18 months. What I discovered quickly, with the resources from the National Education Association, is when students are working on a project together, the ability to see their outline written can be helpful to visual learners.
While paper is an option, whiteboards gives the opportunity to erase and rewrite what they are working on and give them a larger mobile space to work out ideas. It’s now proven that peer-to-peer collaboration can turn a small idea into the seeds for something fabulous.
Danielle Mitchell, a fifth year 1st grade teacher, knows that teaching is her true calling. “The past 3 years have been the most difficult for me and most teachers. This was the first “normal” year in 2 years.” Ms. Mitchell described this past year. For her first graders this was the first “normal” year of school ever for them. She refused to let these obstacles prevent her from preparing her scholars for 2nd grade. “Most scholars did not know more than 5 sight words. They could not count past 10, but now, my students can sit in their chairs, many know at least 100 sight words, they can write (is it perfect, no), but they are trying! Will they go into second grade with all the skills they need, no, but they have gained so much. They have gained confidence and the skills to help better themselves throughout their education.” Teaching in the “New Normal” is about watching your scholars grow and become successful!
To show our appreciation for teachers, we did a random give-a-way to a nominated teacher for a brand new Edify Mobile Markerboard to use in an educator’s classroom. Our winner, Danielle Mitchell, stated, “I plan to use this board to help with phonics, sight words, math, and even implement it into center rotations. When students have the opportunity to “be the teacher” they are often more successful and their behavior improves.