Fostering Community During a Pandemic
This fall, second graders took to the fresh air on the front lawn in front of Danforth Hall to practice their interview skills and get to know a friend at the same time. Since Lower School cohorts were kept small and separate, students hadn’t had the chance to get to know students in other cohorts on campus. Second Grade Homeroom Teachers Kristen Witzman and Maggie Kraushaar saw an opportunity to enable interaction between the cohorts in a safe, socially-distant way as part of their project-based learning social studies curriculum.
Students, masked and at a safe social distance, interviewed friends from the other cohort. They asked each other questions such as, “What holidays do you celebrate?” They took notes during the interview and then drafted a paragraph summarizing what they learned about their friend. Students in the distance learning program also participated virtually. They provided written answers to an interview questionnaire, and a fellow virtual student read through their answers and wrote a paragraph about them.
Project-based learning is an important theme throughout second grade and throughout the Lower School. Witzman said, “Interview skills are a foundational part of the project-based learning curriculum, so we thought this activity would be a great, safe way for students to practice those skills and also get to know a friend at the same time!” This was the first interaction between the two second grade cohorts, and for some students, this may have been their first time meeting a new friend.