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Distance Learning–The Tools That We Use.

April 7, 2020 | Melissa McCallihan

When we switched to distance learning, students and teachers had to use apps and platforms that we had not used before, or to use existing apps in new ways. We had to figure out how to share like we would in class while being away from the building. Here are some examples of how technology has allowed the students and I to connect as well as how they show their learning.

Zoom became valuable for me to see my students faces and to hear their words in a whole community setting.

Google Hangout chat and video is instrumental for students to have a quick response to their questions. Students share needs, answer each others questions, and sometimes just say “hi,” or share an emoji.

The Flipgrid app allows students to share their thinking verbally, some using the fun stickers and emoji’s to add their own flair and humor. Victoria and Caden share about topic sentences for their work on a cause and effect expository essay.


In Google Classroom students have had to navigate their daily school work independently, and learn to upload images, videos and documents. Here James explains his 3D construction plan for the STEAM study on Wars.

Brave students share a Worship slideshow where students upload their reflections from the Worship video teaching.

These tools have stretched our world just a bit and increased our ability to communicate with one another in new ways.

Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 29 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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