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Holy Spirit School Division adjusts to and embraces at-home learning

Click to play video: 'Holy Spirit School Division sees success with at-home learning' Holy Spirit School Division sees success with at-home learning
Students and teachers in Alberta have had to make major adjustments to learning through the pandemic. As Quinn Campbell reports, the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division is witnessing how those involved can actually thrive in the new environment – Feb 4, 2021

A morning dance party is one of Mrs. Mabin’s favorite “movement breaks” for her at-home learning students. The students love it too. It’s been a journey to find a routine for at-home learning for teachers, parents and students.

“I had to basically come and teach them and their parents how to use Google Classroom, how to find where their emails were,” said Mabin.

Read more: Homeschooling, online classes: Alternatives to in-class learning for Alberta families

Verna Mabin is a Grade 3 at-home learning teacher with Alberta’s Holy Spirt Catholic School Division.

She said for her, the most important part of teaching is connecting with students.

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Alberta students return to school with online learning – Jan 4, 2021

She was worried how that would work through virtual learning, but she’s found a way.

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“Every week I stop by their houses for a window wave, and I bring them little treats every week and we do movie dates.

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“It’s amazing the connection I have with them without being here every day.”

Jace Meyer’s family chose to do at-home learning. He now gets help from his teacher and his grandma, Brigitte Meyer.

“I do miss having recess with my friends but having walks here is fun too and I get to spend more time with oma and opa and my sister, my little sister,” said Jace.

Read more: Alberta students with disabilities exempt from online learning

When the province made the decision to halt in-classroom teaching in March, teachers had to navigate an unknown path.

Mabin said now everyone is finding a rhythm, like student Delilah Bruised Head.

“It’s good, actually. It’s because I get to learn different things about math.”

Click to play video: '‘It’s very stressful’: Calgary parents struggle with teaching children at home' ‘It’s very stressful’: Calgary parents struggle with teaching children at home
‘It’s very stressful’: Calgary parents struggle with teaching children at home – Apr 22, 2020

Despite the successes, Mabin said there are certain lessons at-home learning just can’t cover.

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“There is just something about being in a room all day with that authentic learning and in-the-moment learning and having lunch with your peers and those recess conflicts and those social skills that you learn throughout a day.”

The students and Mabin say they look forward to a time when they can incorporate some at-home learning lessons with a more traditional classroom setting.

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