Elementary Day in the Life

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

The 2020-21 school year’s instructional format will remain flexible to ensure student and staff safety. WDMCS may adjust processes and learning environments at any given point throughout the school year. Depending on community health conditions, a temporary transition to online learning could take place at a classroom, school, or district level.

Information for Jan. 15 Online Learning Day

Due to severe weather conditions, all on-site West Des Moines Community Schools classes will transition to online learning Friday, Jan. 15. Elementary students will use the schedules similar to their regular Friday routines. The only difference to schedules is with related-arts classes.

Example Daily Schedules

For related arts:

  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with online students for whole-class learning, as scheduled.
  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with on-site students for whole-class learning as scheduled by building administrators.
  • Teacher librarians will continue to provide independent learning opportunities to online students through Canvas.
  • Teacher librarians will connect with on-site students for whole-class learning scheduled by building administrators.

Online Continuous Learning

If WDMCS were to shift to Online Continuous Learning at any point during the 2020-21 year, elementary students would follow a similar schedule to what is listed under the Hybrid Option 2 Online Learning Environment. The only difference to schedules is with related-arts classes.

Related-arts classes: Art, music, Physical Education (P.E.), guidance, library, and Spanish

Students will not have a scheduled time for related-arts classes. Teachers will provide learning opportunities for students to complete independently. Students can access resources through their teacher’s Canvas class or the teacher will provide information electronically through email.

Hybrid Option 2 Online Learning Environment

We plan for elementary students learning online to follow a schedule with some whole class virtual meetings and built-in breaks. No matter what, WDMCS will ensure teachers have appropriate time to engage with and provide feedback to all students. We will share more information as it becomes available.

Elementary Learning

Elementary students will experience learning and connect with each other through a daily schedule that provides flexibility and creativity. 

Example Daily Schedules

Virtual Learning

Virtual learning times will include:

  • Whole Class Check-In (Virtual):  Starting the day off right is important. At the beginning of each day, teachers and students will connect using Google Meets or Zoom. Teachers will engage students in a collaborative activity, share the goals for the day, take attendance, and answer questions.
  • Whole Class Learning (Virtual): Teachers may provide direct instruction, review independent work learning activities, engage students in class discussions, and oversee collaborative group work.
  • Art, Music, PE, Guidance, Media (Virtual): Students will connect online with each teacher ONE TIME PER WEEK. Independent activities will be shared through Canvas.
  • Whole Class Closing (Virtual): It’s important to provide an end to the school day. Teachers will engage students in a collaborative activity, review learning from the day, and preview content for the following day.

Independent Learning

Times where students will learn offline include:

  • Independent Learning/Break (Not Virtual): Students will engage in independent learning through the weekly independent work learning plans that will be posted to Canvas. Teachers will provide students with additional lessons, independent activities like journaling, and opportunities to collaborate with their peers.  Breaks and additional extension activities are an important part of the day to keep students engaged.
  • Independent Learning/Small Group Instruction/Break (Possible Virtual Learning): Teachers will schedule individual and/or small group virtual meetings with students throughout the week. Teachers may provide support, work on goals, and talk about progress and group work. Students may also receive additional support related to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) needs.

Keep in mind, offline learning can be managed in a way that works best for your family.  Students have different attention spans, and teachers have planned activities that will be valuable and doable for students by grade.

Grade Level Recommended amount of time students should take part in independent learning Recommended length of sustained attention
Kindergarten 30 minutes/day 3-5 minutes
First Grade 30 minutes/day 5-10 minutes
Second Grade 45 minutes/day  5-10 minutes
Third Grade 45 minutes/day 10-15 minutes
Fourth Grade 60 minutes/day 10-15 minutes
Fifth Grade 60 minutes/day 10-15 minutes
Sixth Grade 60 minutes/day 20-30 minutes

Related Arts Support

In light of increasing positivity rates and absenteeism coupled with the need for clarity during changing times, we would like to share updated guidance regarding related arts instruction across a variety of learning environments.  After reading through this guidance, we encourage you to connect with your building administrators with additional questions and information.

Whole-Class Learning (ie. snow days, districtwide closure, individual school closings due to COVID)

  • All students, both online and on-site will follow the online learning schedule.
  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with online students for whole-class learning, as scheduled.
  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with on-site students for whole-class learning as scheduled by building administrators.
  • Teacher librarians will continue to provide independent learning opportunities to online students through Canvas.
  • Teacher librarians will connect with on-site students for whole-class learning scheduled by building administrators.

Singular Independent Learning Days (ie. conference days for on-site learners)

  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with online students for whole-class learning, as scheduled.
  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with on-site students for independent learning by adding content to Canvas courses. 
  • Teacher librarians will continue to provide independent learning opportunities to all students through Canvas.

Singular Independent Learning Days (ie. conference days for online learners)

  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will not connect with online students for whole-class learning. Independent learning opportunities will be provided through Canvas.
  • Art, music, P.E., Spanish teachers, band/orchestra directors, and guidance counselors will connect with on-site students as scheduled. 
  • Teacher librarians will continue to provide independent learning opportunities to online students through Canvas.
  • Teacher librarians will continue to connect with on-site students as scheduled.