During the COVID-19 pandemic, Landmark Elementary•Middle School developed a comprehensive model of remote learning that includes live Google Meet sessions, asynchronous assignments (online, teacher directed), independent work, check-ins with academic advisors and counselors, and enrichment activities. In this new model, Landmark’s Six Teaching Principles remain the cornerstone of our curriculum. Each student’s schedule is individualized to meet them where they are in the learning process.
Below are details about the Elementary•Middle School remote learning program and a sampling of videos of remote classes from spring 2020, when Landmark shifted to a remote model. Read a general overview of Landmark's remote program that applies to both the High School and the Elementary•Middle School.
Video Clips of Remote Classes
The daily one-to-one tutorial is the cornerstone of a Landmark education, and tutorial continues to be an essential and completely individualized part of our remote learning model. Depending on their needs, students receive instruction in decoding, encoding, reading fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, written expression, and study skills. This sample tutorial highlights a student with a primary focus on phonemic awareness. Integrated activities help connect concepts across reading and spelling tasks. Through a combination of hands-on and digital activities, the remote platform allows for effective, interactive instruction.
Remote Tutorial 2.0
Due to COVID-19 health-and-safety guidelines, for the 2020–2021 academic year, Landmark Elementary•Middle School (EMS) is providing all tutorials remotely—even if both the teacher and the student are on campus. With the spring under our belts and a summer to research and innovate, teachers on both of our campuses have developed even more powerful, interactive content to bring Landmark’s daily tutorial to life.
EMS Reading Supervisor Meghan Sebens said, “We’ve stayed true to our roots but have modified our approach to maximize the online medium.” Using a range of tools in the Google Suite, as well as other platforms, teachers have found ways to adapt and even gamify a lot of the content so that it’s entirely collaborative and impactful—but fun and engaging, too. For instance, as students are practicing their phoneme sequences, they can work with their tutorial teacher to play one of countless games. The example shown above, played with electronic dice, is called Double Vowel Scurry, adapted by faculty member Hazel Crowley. There are original activities to work on everything from vowel combinations and syllabication to cursive, Latin roots, and more. As Meghan attests, by staying true to our roots, pencil and paper are still very much a primary tool in the learning process. And although the tutorial delivery may be online, faculty have an arsenal of lessons that gives students opportunities to take constructive breaks from their screens and engage in physical movements, brainstorming, discussion, and more.
This clip shows a teacher explaining the agenda of a sample tutorial with a focus on time management, phonics, spelling, and reading. Reminders for time on task and position of learning are used throughout a lesson to keep the student fully engaged. The tutorial is broken into manageable periods of time. Virtual game models, interactive platforms, and paper and pencil tasks are used to reinforce concepts and keep the student’s attention.
Teachers of academic classes continue to cover relevant material using Landmark Teaching Principles and methods in a remote setting. In this clip of a remote math class, demonstrations and diagramming activities are used to address grade-level concepts from Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. Students independently attempt problems, and the teacher provides a model via the shared virtual platform. Multi-modal strategies are incorporated and students use gestures for gross motor reinforcement.
In this elementary class, Oral Expression/Literature, students memorized the poem “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost, through a remote learning context. The recitation of poetry supports the development of rhythm and phonemic awareness, as well as refines one’s command of pitch, pacing, volume, and voice inflection. Students develop a deeper knowledge of a poem through visualizing the text, analyzing its meaning and structure, and ultimately reciting the poem from memory. Through the recitation, a poem is brought to life and students gain an opportunity for self-expression, which leads to greater success and confidence in their own public speaking abilities.
“This moment in history has provided an opportunity for students to relate the real-life flow of current events to elements of their curriculum. For our eighth grade classes studying civics and government in particular, it has highlighted the role of citizens and the responsibility of government to respond to ever-changing needs of those citizens. Facing this current pandemic has made more real the plights endured by previous generations, whether the Flu Pandemic of 1918, the Black Death in 1348 or the Plague of ancient Athens in 430 BCE.”—Bruce Miller, head of the Social Studies Department
Home Science Labs
Hands-on, interactive learning is thriving even in the remote setting. Students in Ms. Mulligan’s science class created their own musical instruments with materials they found at home as a culminating project to their unit on sound. They presented and played their instruments in the Live Class Meets. In a series of lively jam sessions, students played a tuna can drum set, Kleenex box bongos, scrap wood guitars, and a bead and paper towel roll rain stick.
Each spring Sophie Wilson, head of the EMS Science Department, works with her teachers and over 100 middle school students to present three-dimensional presentations of the unit they are working on—and this year was no exception. "Our year-end unit was on Marine Science, and I tasked our students with creating models of the ocean floor. This was something that they could work on at home and submit a photo of their project to their science teacher," Ms. Wilson said. "I was so impressed with the high caliber of these projects and the time and attention that our students dedicated to their models."
Here's a taste of the presentation
Here's the full presentation with all student work included.