By Summer Spiller, Third Grade Teacher
Today was the most fun day of digital teaching thus far. I logged onto the computer with my Abraham Lincoln top hat and beard and was greeted by famous baseball player Jackie Robinson, scientist Albert Einstein, and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. As the rest of my Wheeler 3rd graders logged onto our virtual meeting in costume, they greeted each other in character and showed off their props.
Each year the 3rd grade reads a series of biographies about Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai. Then our wonderful librarian Brooke Strachan guides each student in selecting a biography about someone with whom they share a passion. Students then take weeks to research their person, write a script, make costumes and props and memorize their lines.
In the past, the 3rd-grade performers have lined the Kindergarten room frozen in place as if they were wax figures in Madame Tussaud’s famous museum. The younger students would flow into the “museum” and bring the performers to life with a touch of the hand. The students would delight in their peers’ and sibling’s performances and leave with a little more knowledge of these famous change-makers.
Our recent transition to the digital platform brought with it some challenges since we began this project while we were in the school building together. We still wanted to provide students with an opportunity to share their research and perform for our intended audience. We were grateful that Brooke was already teaching them to use Flipgrid to share their US geography research.
After weeks of preparation, all 33 third graders of Wheeler and Hamilton, from my homeroom, Amber Bennett’s and Maura Healey’s, performed on video and shared it in our class Flipgrid. They then watched each other’s work and recorded video compliments and questions. We then created a Flipgrid Mixtape of all their videos that we shared with families and the rest of the Lower School and Hamilton.