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Why we should let online elementary students lead

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The role of elementary teachers has never been more important, especially as kindergarten through fifth grade students today are facing more change than ever before–from the effects of the pandemic to social media and stressful current events being right at their fingertips.

According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the annual average learning gain for Kindergarten through second grade students is higher than at any time during a child’s years in school. This is why we both decided to become elementary school teachers–to make a positive impact in children’s lives during such a critical time of development and growth.

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While it is essential for students to understand and master their learning in elementary school, it is also important that students develop confidence, feel ownership over their work, and become passionate about learning. If you can excite elementary students about learning, it can set them up for success not only throughout their entire education, but also their life.

But how can you excite elementary students in an online classroom? Let them lead and choose how they learn!

Here are a few ways we engage and connect with our elementary students teaching online at Florida Virtual School (FLVS):

Let students choose how they take their evaluations (Caroline Tevlin)

Every student learns differently, which is why it’s important to meet them where they are and give them a choice in how they want to learn.

Throughout my elementary Spanish lessons, I noticed that some of my students preferred listening to me speak the words in Spanish, some liked drawing their vocabulary words, and others liked playing games. With this in mind, and knowing that learning Spanish can be intimidating, I decided to create something called the ‘choice board,’ which allows my students to choose between learning styles during their discussion-based assessments, which is a verbal assessment required by Florida Virtual School to ensure students are mastering their courses.

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