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Symbaloo & Flipgrid
Symbaloo & Flipgrid
Brandon Kirchhoff
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear Andrew Families,

By now, you should have received an email from our teachers that shares our plans as we move forward.  All of the work that our teachers are doing to provide students with opportunities for enrichment learning is designed to help students continue their pursuit of knowledge.  

We hope that our efforts will also provide some direction as you also look to support your child in their learning.  Due to the importance of creating equitable educational opportunities for all students, participation in these lessons and activities is not required.  This is a State directive that we will comply to.  Should your child elect to remain absent from our enrichment opportunities, they will not be penalized now or when we do return to school, however, for the sake of learning - I do hope that you will encourage your children to join us in enrichment opportunities, the instruction, and the discussions that will take place over the next couple of weeks... if for no other reason than it will help students maintain connections to peers, our teachers, and our school.

Our teachers are committed to serving our students and our families.  Humans have a deep desire to learn, to be social, and to explore.  Our enrichment activities are designed to help fill the needs of our children.

We have created a "homepage" that contains all the links for every teacher, all in one spot.  We hope this organization allows you to stay more organized, as each teacher is finding a system that works best for them and their students.  Many teachers have chosen to utilize Flipgrid, this platform has been very engaging and something we would really like you to check out!  (Just look for the "flipgrid" tiles on our symbaloo "homepage".)  The time commitment for students will not be extensive.  Like you, we do not want students on their computers all day - screen time (computers, tablets, video games, cell phones, and TV) should be limited for students of all ages and we want to support you in your efforts to do this.  We also know that there will be a lot of opportunities during the day to learn in new ways that students maybe aren't used to.

Just as important as the instruction that we are providing is the need for children to read a book and turn the pages, for parents and children to play together, for time outdoors, for discussion, for family dance parties and making music, for eating meals together, and for life to happen together.  If you are like me, you often wish that you had the time to do these things with our children... now, we have the time.

As parents, about the best thing that you can do right now is to help to create a schedule for your children.  There are lots and lots of examples online - but ultimately, find something that works for you.  Children do best when there is a schedule for activities.  Even for older students, a schedule can help eliminate long periods of time when students are just browsing phones.  I do hope that our efforts will help support you in creating that schedule.  

Also, please continue to practice and enforcing social distancing as much as possible.

We are in this together.  I have been working with teachers closely as we move our classrooms to the digital world.  We also deeply miss our students.  They are the reason we come to school each day.  Please know that we will be checking up with you periodically during our hiatus to see how you are doing and if we may better support you as you work to support your children.

Ultimately, we are all learning too.  You are learning a new role - as are we.  Don't be hard on yourself if things are not going as smoothly as you had hoped these first few days.  If they have gotten more screen time than you hoped, if they didn't have the healthy meals that you wanted them to have, or if they have stayed up too late or if they have slept in.  Our new reality is emerging and we will continue to learn and grow together.

The fact that we, the adults, are learning is a model to students that learning happens outside of school too. I am confident that we will continue to grow and we hope your children will join us for the same purpose. There is enough to worry about right now... stressing about getting a child on-time to an online enrichment opportunity isn't necessary.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for walking with us on this unexpected journey.  

Andrew Symbaloo Homepage Link

Look for this logo for many teachers:
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