After transitioning to online learning, Melanie noticed that her first graders needed a smaller online setting to be able to participate in discussions and retain information. So, she went from having two sessions a day to eight, and it was worth it! Her students began to flourish.
She also worked to find a solution for poor internet connections and sound issues by implementing the use of visuals, so she could continue to teach if a screen froze or sound was distorted. To help her first graders transition to online learning, she brought students and parents in one at a time to teach them basic computer skills and also created create weekly packets to supplement online learning. When students would not participate with online learning or if she had a hard time connecting with parents, she would mail post cards and letters to parents and students, call after hours or on weekends to help accommodate that parent’s working schedule.
Melanie is passionate about giving every student the opportunity to learn by meeting students where they are. She uses many one-on-one zooms and “brain breaks” to get her students moving, and focuses on any necessary social-emotional learning before tackling academic learning. Melanie is not a native Spanish speaker, but reaches out to colleagues who are to make herself a list of key vocabulary words and sayings to help her communicate with her students.
Melanie is the lead teacher for the first grade and in addition to her work in the classroom, Melanie consistently looks for those in her community who have a natural ability to connect with students and encourages them to continue with their education so that they are able to join the teaching profession.
“I take pride in working with my team. I found that not only teaching but helping others find their strengths brings me joy. I am also a mentor for teachers and I enjoy working and sharing ideas with my colleagues.” – Melanie Kjerimi, 2nd Grade Teacher & Campus Instructional Mentor
With the Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant, Melanie would purchase alternative classroom seating and hands-on learning materials to continue to engage her students.
Check out this video from our visit to Melanie’s classroom.