Inside the New Classroom: Jerri Graham, Roper Elementary

This is part of an occasional series highlighting teachers who are adapting and finding innovative ways to teach through remote learning.

Teaching kindergarten remotely poses unique challenges. Kindergarteners crave socialization, movement and hands-on activities with their teachers.

Still, said Roper Elementary School kindergarten teacher Jerri Graham, the process of transitioning to remote learning to finish the year has mostly been positive for her and her students.

“The process has been unique and challenging but also smooth,” she said. “Unique because this is obviously not something we were taught when becoming teachers, but also so amazing that we have the technology to be able to do this from home.”

She credits Lincoln Public Schools for providing so many valuable instructional resources. Graham points specifically to Lexia, an online resource for literacy instruction, and Dreambox, an online resource for teaching math.

“Lexia and Dreambox have been lifesavers for some of our students, I personally believe, because it has kept them learning to some extent,” she said. “I think those two resources are huge for our students compared to older students, who can kind of be more independent and pace themselves.” 

Graham has learned lessons along the way. The first week, she and her colleagues sent parents a daily email with links to resources. They found that could be overwhelming for some parents, so they shifted to a weekly “planner.” The planner lays out the lessons for the week, along with the necessary resources.

“Then we would also have families wanting more, so we were able to add a few extra things in our planner, as well,” she said. “It was a one-stop shop and we got nothing but positive feedback from parents.”

Graham described not being able to see her students in person as “probably the worst feeling ever...It was hard. I had this sad feeling for several days that I couldn’t explain.”

But again, she is thankful for technology such as Zoom that allowed her to remain connected with students. 

“We were able to do read-alouds, scavenger hunts, show and tell, and just chat about life,” she said. “Sometimes in the classroom, those things can get cut a little short, so it was kind of nice to be able to connect with them on a more personal level. That was truly a blessing and I don’t know how many emails I got from parents just thanking me for that time.”

Published: May 14, 2020, Updated: May 14, 2020