Virtual Villa "Goes the Distance" for Learning

Virtual Villa "Goes the Distance" for Learning

By early March, Villa Academy was already preparing for remote learning. Each day at "Virtual Villa," we've offered the majority of our curriculum online, including art, music, technology, and P.E. Teachers continue to creatively engage their students through a variety of video and online platforms and tools that enable class meetings and group learning, as well as lesson assignments and sharing work. Some examples follow:

•In preschool, circle and sharing time continues as an online activity. Regular assignments are emailed to parents with clear instructions, images, along with the developmental intention behind the lesson. Recently, 3- year-olds completed a dinosaur puzzle activity designed to prompt preplanning and problem-solving strategies.

•Learning about the principles of lift, thrust, gravity and drag, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were challenged to build a flying vehicle using recycled materials, measure how far it flew, and photo-document their work.

•Middle Schoolers, already experienced with online education tools, leveraged them further for all-virtual learning. 6th graders, assuming the role of students in Ancient Greece, wrote first person narratives focusing on the rivalry between Athens and Sparta. They were shared online with their teacher commenting, "I loved how you used your imaginations to add details to the history of Greece. Some of your characters experienced amazing adventures!"

•Our music specialist recently held a live Instagram sing-along event for families, and regular P.E. challenges are delivered through fun videos, like a fast-forward version of How many jumping jacks can you do in a minute?

Led by Middle School Director, James Joseph; Lower School Director, Julie Grasseschi; and Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Teri Rutledge, Villa is committed to continually improving and refining the remote learning process. One example concerns the ratio of synchronous to asychronous learning, that is, lessons done in real time with teachers and students interacting as a group, versus assignments given online but that are worked on individually. Without children in a physical classroom, our teachers are continually assessing what works best for individual students—and their families—in a virtual learning environment.