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Digital Group Work

April 8, 2020 | Ms. Jonker

I have found my new favorite thing.

When distance learning began, I was worried I would not be able to facilitate any kind of small group work. This came up in a conversation with Ms. Wu and she had a proposition immediately: Zoom breakout rooms!

The breakout rooms feature allows you to create smaller zoom sessions within your meeting. You can create as many “rooms” as you need, and you can assign participants to these rooms either manually or randomly. As the leader of the meeting, I can hop between these meetings one at a time. The students can also request my presence in their zoom room at any time.

Read on to hear about three ways we’ve been using this function.


We use it in fourth grade math to check our answers from the previous day’s work. This is both a partner-accountability meeting and a time to problem solve together.



We use it in morning meetings to share prayer requests. Students have been recording their prayer requests with their small groups and recording these requests in a doc.


Community Building

We have used breakout rooms to share about our weekends, play games, and even serve the community. This morning after morning meeting, students had the opportunity to write encouraging notes to staff members. Some students did this, either as teams or by themselves, and got replies from the staff they emailed immediately. Even the smallest connections matter!

Fourth and fifth graders care deeply about connecting with peers. I am so grateful we don’t have to “throw in the towel” on group work!

Kat Jonker

Teacher, Grades 4

Kat Jonker is energized by how passionately Mustard Seed School nurtures each student to blossom into the person God has made them to be. She’s honored to teach and learn beside the fourth and fifth grade students here.

Ms. Jonker’s always been surrounded and inspired by dedicated teachers--including her mother! When she began teaching private violin lessons as a high school student, Ms. Jonker began to think about teaching as a career. Soon she realized her passion for teaching and learning as an Elementary Education with an integrated science major at Calvin College. There she flourished as an assistant teacher at Calvin’s middle school chemistry camp. She also led elementary nature programs at Calvin’s ecosystem preserve.

Music remains one of Ms. Jonkers passions and you’ll sometimes get to hear her playing in worship. She’s an avid violin player and spent a disproportionately large amount of her college life in string quartet rehearsals. She listens to music constantly and likes to keep it eclectic, so if you have any music recommendations, send them her way.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Ms. Jonker’s home town. Through God-gifted communities of faith there, she found her roots in grace and a life of service.

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