Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What Am I Doing?

At first, when I was planning this summer for this school year, my focus was on how was I going to deliver content? So I looked through the standards and identified priority standards.  Luckily that part wasn't a lot of work thanks to my mentor Lauren Johnson (@mrsjohnsonCA).  She had already done so much of the work and even created pacing with activities embedded.  All I had to do was to think about how to pare it down some more.  I also attended webinars and looked at different platforms which helped me figure out how to structure my delivery - hypothetically of course.

But then teaching summer school changed that. Although it went better than I expected, there was an area that I regret the most I didn't invest enough time in the first week - building community and relationships.

So not making that mistake twice.

The only challenge is how to do that virtually? So I have been thinking about that a lot in the last few weeks. Here's what my plan (subject to change):

Week 1 & 2: "Getting to Know You" 

My focus is for me to get to know my students, my students to get to know me and to get kids to know each other.  This will be of course something throughout the semester. So here's the how:
  • Sending out Google Forms
  • Using Flipgrid & Kami as introductions
  • Using Desmos AB to check in (@AnkerMath recently posted a great one!)
  • Using Loom to record instructions along with texts/emails.
This is going to be really tough virtually.  My approach is to take things slowly when building relationships and be 100% authentic. I won't do things that are not me.  Kids can see right through that.  So that usually takes a couple of months or more.  I also rely heavily on body language. So I am not going to rush through this.  

Laurie Brewer (@BrewMath) recently gave sage advice:

So I am keeping that in mind.  Talking "at them" will mean I have lost them. And what kid doesn't like doing Desmos!

Week 3: "Communication is Key"

For the 3rd week, I want to help my students & caregivers develop a habit of two-way communication through different modes. 
  • Teaching email etiquette
  • Using Remind appropriately (students only)
  • Using Talking Points (caregivers only)
  • Understanding how to navigate within Google Classroom and use the different tools
I have tried in the past on how to properly write emails in the past, but I know I didn't do it thoroughly.  But after the emails that I received during the spring and summer from students and caregivers, I have to take the time to teach it explicitly.  The same goes for texting through Remind.  I think I may make these assignments. Using Google Classroom should be pretty straightforward since most students are already familiar. Then once we get a bit of a rhythm going, I can then start to transition kids to Canvas. But I don't want to overwhelm myself or my kids on juggling too many things at once.  Slow and steady. 

Week 4: "Practicing Tools"
  • Desmos
  • Flipgrid
  • Edpuzzle
  • Deltamath
So for this week, the goal will be to understand and practice using these particular platforms on a deeper level.  I going to use Flipgrid definitely starting the first two weeks. But now will be a time for me and my students to use it as a way to carry on discussions. (Not sure how, but will figure it out.)  Edpuzzle has certifications for students. One that I would like to assign is the one on "Digital Citizenship."  This week will also be to understand and practice how to learn from videos.  Sara VanDerWerf's (@saravdwerf) blog post on this is exactly how I will be doing this.

There will be some overlap, but want to make each week stand on its own. And again, things are subject to change quite quickly.  And coming from a person who is a planner and doesn't enjoy spontaneity - I am hoping not. 

Look out for the next blog post where I will be providing more detail!  

Lessons Learned

I started this school year with such great hopes.  I know I was ready to take what I learned from a year of distance learning and help my fu...