Individualized learning can take many forms, and for second graders growing into distance learning, small groups offer an ideal time to reinforce skillsets with the support of friends. “Small groups offer a way to connect, do small check-ins, and present short lessons,” said Lower School faculty member Elizabeth Flowers, who uses Zoom and shares her screen with students to complete activities. “I can give them examples and practice opportunities, especially in math.” During a recent small group session, Flowers worked with students individually to complete a numbers frame activity. While waiting for their turns, the girls helped each other as well. “This type of learning is important because it mirrors what we do at school,” said faculty member Lee Tamblyn. “Small groups have specific instruction to meet each girl’s needs, both academically and socially. They give each girl an opportunity to voice her opinions and concerns in a smaller environment and allow her to ask questions without judgement from her peers who may already know the answer.”

In addition to math, small groups are also used for reading and writing assignments. Teachers analyze weekly quiz results to determine the upcoming week’s focus for small groups. That ability to adapt quickly to students’ needs is also seen on the individual level, such as with language arts. “Each girl reads aloud and shares her writing on personal videos, and her teacher can give specific feedback and guidance that only she will hear and that is specific to her,” said Flowers. Students complete a number of assignments using Flipgrid, which offers both individual and group interactions. “Each teacher responds to each girl’s video with a video in return, and we have heard from parents that this is often a highlight of the day at home!” said Tamblyn. There is also a grade-wide grid that allows the girls to work together as a class and share encouraging video messages. “We can’t say enough about the positive effect this is having on our distance learning,” emphasized Tamblyn. “We are very proud of our girls and their work, and we are happy to be constantly encouraging and empowering them.”