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Class During COVID: West Middleton kindergartners return to four days a week

Students in grades K-4 in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District adjust to more in-person learning.
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - “Grab a pump of sanitizer please,” says Mrs. Amy Blake as her students walk back into the classroom after recess, “And then you can do whiteboards until we are ready for reading.”

It’s the first time these students are seeing all of their friends face-to-face instead of on a screen.

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Amy Blake leads her full class in an in-person reading lesson.
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Amy Blake leads her full class in an in-person reading lesson.

“It is amazing. I just love it!” exclaims Blake.

6-year-old Aubree Reneau and her family made a countdown chain to celebrate the return of more in-person learning.

“We would rip the chains off,” explains Reneau from her kindergarten desk, “It was kind of exciting [because it meant] that day we got to go back to school four days a week.”

Kindergartner Aubree Reneau and her older brother, Carter, show off their countdown chain as...
Kindergartner Aubree Reneau and her older brother, Carter, show off their countdown chain as they eagerly await the return to 4 days of in-person learning a week.

“This week we’ve been able to see each other in person and play together and get to share our writing with each other,” adds Blake, “It makes my heart so happy having them all together, but also I think it’s just the greatest thing ever seeing how excited they are to be together as well.”

During their reading lesson they practiced a new skill: reading a book without a pattern.

“Norman likes me, and I like Norman!” says the class in unison as they read the page of a book projected on a screen. “Look at that!” exclaims Blake as they finish the sentence.

Mrs. Blake leads her students in a reading lesson.
Mrs. Blake leads her students in a reading lesson.

“After a few weeks, I think kids have the opportunity to take off even more academically,” says Blake, “But Maybe even more important is that social and emotional community building, and I feel like the kids being in school four days a week over two I think is really going to benefit them in that social emotional way.”

5-year-old Kendall Cocagne says she likes it better, “because there’s more friends to play with than just like... and I get to be with friends four days a week now.”

“I learn better at school and not at home, because I like to color and like to write and like to read,” adds Arrianus Brady.

“It’s just nice to have that full class size so that kids can make connections with multiple kids and not just a smaller cohort,” explains Blake.

And while she says going from 10 to 19 kids also has its challenges during a pandemic, she says it feels good to start getting back to normal.

“I just want kids to leave kindergarten and leave my class and leave West Middleton at the end of this year just loving school,” Blake says with a smile, “Just kind of that feeling of, I love school, I love my teacher, I love learning and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

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