Welcome to #RockNTheBoat! This blog is not about boating, though I’m not against boating. Boating is fun. It’s not about rockin’ either, though I am partial to the rock music genre, Christian and secular. No, this blog is about changing the status quo in our classrooms and engaging and empowering students through the use of creativity and technology. Unleash your own creativity, passion for your subject, and your love of learning to inspire your students to do the same. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and don’t worry, I’m right here to guide you and hold your hand, figuratively speaking, of course. I’m not likely to actually hold your hand, since I don’t really know you. I will, however, encourage you to hang on to your hat and maybe grab a life jacket until you are ready to rock your very own boat.
As educators, we know how important family is to student success, and having been remote learning at home for three months, a summer at home feels the same as school — the role of parents as teachers may have even strained the family dynamic a bit. Even if you can’t go on a big vacation, we know students and families need renewal, change, and to just recharge after a tough end to the school year. Now that thoughts of vacation for many of us have bubbled to the surface, we face another challenge.
As our 2020 second semester turned into distance learning during the Covid19 pandemic, many of us found ourselves overturned in the middle of the creek, clinging to a paddle with one arm slung across the canoe to keep our heads above the water. But now that summer is upon us, we have been able to upright our canoe, toss in both paddles, and climb back into it. While the direction we will be taking this fall is still unclear, we can look back at what worked and what didn’t during the school closures. There were definitely many things we did not do well, but we did shine in one particular area: connecting guardians and our school remotely.
Your lesson has gone really well, but you want to make that new learning sticky before students leave for the day or head to their next class, or before you move on to the next subject if you are teaching elementary. There are a lot of strategies that you can go to here, but which one? That, friends, is at the sole discretion of the teacher, and there is no one right answer. While exit tickets, after action reports, think-pair-share, brain dumps, and sketchnotes are just some of the many options to choose from for ending a lesson, I may have one more cognitive tool you can add to your educational tool chest.
During the challenging time of remote learning and teaching due to COVID19, the wide disparity of equity across the nation when it comes to internet accessibility came to the forefront for educators and institutions. I’ve watched the conversation and even joined in at times, and I’ve even felt those pesky pangs of envy when I see fellow teachers having awesome online success with students. I’ll also admit to having my own moment of two of online student success to celebrate and share, but those moments were spread out among the six weeks my district was open for business but closed to onsite customers. It was tough six weeks.