ROCKLAND — Rockland elementary schools students took their Valentine’s Day celebration online this year, creating digital cards for their classmates.
Students at R. Stewart Esten Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School and Memorial Park Elementary School used Google Slides to help celebrate the holiday, which were compiled into a class book for each class for students to view.
The project allowed them to share kind messages with their classmates while working on computer skills such as clicking and dragging, taking and editing photos with Chromebooks, and building slides. Third and fourth grade students were able to design their own slides as well, and include messages for their classmates and other images of their choosing.
“The students have said how excited they are to be part of a class book because it includes every child in their class, even the ones they don’t get to see in person,” said STEAM specialist Debbie Hogan. “The messages they are writing to each other are so authentic and heartfelt, especially given the unique nature of this school year.”
The digital learning project was developed by the district’s STEAM specialists as a way to allow students to show their love and friendship to their classmates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital project was the best solution for all students to participate.
“Given the unique nature of this school year and the safety precautions in place in order to maintain social distancing, we find ourselves revamping up the delivery of our STEAM curriculum,” said STEAM specialist Rachel Mack. “In years’ past, small groups would work together in close proximity to each other to design, build, test and modify candy heart catapults, sturdy candy boxes made from paper, tape and craft sticks. This year, like so many other STEAM activities, we’ve moved to a more digital format. The tech skills students are gaining through these new digital activities are limitless.”
Rockland Public Schools purchased Chromebooks last summer so that every student in kindergarten through 12th grade could have access to all the materials and tools needed to be successful during this year of hybrid and remote learning. Every teacher uses Google Classroom to post assignments and links to online materials such as videos, reading selections and interactive resources.
“Our teachers have done an incredible job adapting their lessons in creative ways so that students can continue to learn and take part in activities safely during the pandemic,” Superintendent Dr. Alan Cron said. “It’s great to see students connecting with each other even if they aren’t physically learning in the same space.”