First-Graders Return to the Classroom
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
NOVEMBER 16, 2020 – On Monday Nov. 16, many Winston-Salem/Forsyth County first-graders came to their school building for the first time this year.
“We are excited to have our first-graders back at Old Town Elementary,” said Principal Debra Gladstone. “We welcome them back to the school.”
Some first-graders at Old Town and other elementary schools were continuing to learn remotely.
So first-grade teachers and teacher assistants would be working with students both in person and via computer.
The world is very different than it was when the students were in kindergarten. Keeping everyone safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic means that student cannot share crayons and other supplies
In teacher Morgan Brim and teacher assistant Judy Howard’s classroom, Brim was talking the students through the steps about how and where to store their supplies when they were not using them.
When she was done with that, Brim turned to the computer and spoke to the students attending school remotely.
“My friends at home, thank you for your patience,” Brim said.
Around the corner teacher in Princess Rankins and teacher assistant Mary Davis’ classroom, Rankins was making sure the students in the classroom understood the rules about wearing masks and social distancing.
Rankins finished up talking about wearing masks by saying, “That is one way we are going to care about each other.”
The students were clearly well-informed. When Rankins asked what’s another way that we show we care, Trinity spoke right up.
“Social distancing,” Trinity said.
She turned to Oliver at the desk to her right and noted that Oliver was six feet away.
Next, it was time for some learning fun.
Rankins had students pull out their individual cans of Play-Doh.
With the Play-Doh, they were going to spell their names while they learned about syllables.
Rankins started a video in which an Emoji talked about how words can be broken into syllables. When a character on the video asked whether a word could have 1 million syllables, the Emoji said that was way too many syllables for a word.
A word could certainly have four, though, the Emoji said.
While students were watching and listening, they were also hard at work creating their names in Play-Doh.
Zoei was zipping right along. As she finished up, she even made sure to include the dot on the “i.”
As such other students as Oliver, Malia, Cristiano, and Antonio were finishing their names, Rankins invited students to pronounce each student’s name and clap for each syllable.
Zoei got two claps. Oliver and Malia got three claps, and Cristiano and Antonio got four claps.
At it happened, the class had no single-clap students.
Along with Gladstone, Assistant Principal Charlie Wall and Instructional Facilitator Mary James were among those dropping by classrooms to check in on students.
Back around the corner in Brim and Howard’s class, students had moved on to showing that they were excellent dancers as they danced to a video.
This is the third week for students to come into the school building at Old Town and other elementary schools. Two weeks ago, Pre-K students and students in Exceptional Children (EC) returned to school buildings. Last Monday, kindergarten students returned.
At its meeting on Tuesday Nov. 17, members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education will discuss the steps to come.
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