Though this is the year of the unknown, I knew for sure that I had to approach education and instruction differently. But I was determined not to let this have an impact on the welcoming and engaging environment I am used to providing for my young scholars. I challenged myself to create a literacy-rich environment that’s equally safe and conducive to the guidelines set in place for blended learning. My classroom has empowered my small group of students to take ownership of their materials and learning by being held accountable for becoming more independent. Each desk is labeled with the assigned cohort, Group A or Group B. My students are fully aware of the procedures set in place to practice good hygienic habits. They use the signs on the floor to socially distance themselves. Each board in my room is interactive, which still allows the students an opportunity to engage with each other and provide actionable feedback. I am still able to have an ‘intimate’ feeling in my classroom while reading aloud to them.
—Jamala Roper, 5th-grade literacy teacher, PS 179, the Bronx
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