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.
As we navigate these uncharted waters of school closures due to COVID-19, communication is one of the most important things we can do to help students work through remote learning and all the stress that entails. Not every district has the luxury of placing all students online for the remainder of time that the schools are closed, so communication can become tricky. However, utilizing the school email is always a good idea which can be followed by other means of contact for students who are unable to respond.
On Wednesday of remote learning week two, I notice my son has hair growing on his upper lip. When did that happen? I vaguely remember him saying he was shaving, but I clearly didn't believe him. My post isn't really about mustaches and eighth graders. Like many parents world-wide, this shift has been stressful for me. I wear many hats in my district, and this time of school closure has increased my workload. I feel the anxiety and stress creeping in the minute I wake up and ponder my "to do" list. Sound familiar?
So while I am always on the lookout for ways to bring the latest technology into my classroom, my goal is not to just bring tech to my students. My pedagogy guides my use of tech, and recently, my use of spoons. Helping students practice mastery in an engaging way is always my goal. One morning in my first hour Spanish class, I contemplated student interests and how I might leverage that for our Friday Fun day.
My top performing post by far debuted in January, 2018, and deals with how to use the new Google Sites for blogging while combining it with Google Classroom to provide our students with the authentic audience they need and the feedback via comments that are still safe. Since then, I've opened up the platforms to include Adobe Spark Page and Wakelet, giving my high school students control over which platform they prefer, but I still sitesmash (like an app smash...but with websites) with Google Classroom to give me the control over the comments that I prefer.
It’s that time of year when the winter blues hit, sunlight is not always a constant presence, and the days seem longer and drearier. Coming back from the winter break can be tough for some students, and keeping their momentum going for attending school and keeping up with their classwork can be a challenge.
As a high school English and Spanish teacher, I am always on the lookout for tools that will help my students be creative, demonstrate knowledge and learning, and then also result in products that can be shared. The latest tool like this that I have explored for students is Buncee. Like any tool I explore with students, I am always looking for versatility.
We preach growth mindset to students and colleagues, but we frequently think we know what the future holds for others. Girls should grow up to be this. Boys grow up to be that. I want us to intentionally stop. A student can graduate from high school and make a living playing the banjo. A student can create fabric patterns and sell them to the world via website marketplaces. Any of us can publish a book, retire early to backpack all over Europe, or play for the Harlem Globetrotters (my son's first stated career goal). How do we know the full potential of those around us if we continue to plant the seeds of doubt, can't, and impossible?
Whether you are in the #OneWord movement, make your own New Year's resolution, or not doing either of those, there is usually some moment of reflection and, maybe, dreaming as the new year approaches. I like the choosing one word that can guide me through the year, so I give it quite a bit of thought, attention, and I never refuse a bit of luck along the way. As I pondered this one, I was a bit stumped. I was uninspired. I was stymied, and then Christmas was right around the corner. What to do. What to do.
We teachers are often reminded by parents, students, colleagues, and administrators of all the things we're not. And if we somehow skate by with feelings of competence locally, then there's the visions of teaching and classroom perfection all over the internet, in our beloved PLNs (Professional Learning Networks). It's easy to forget that the perfection we see posted is but a moment of that educator's day. We have those moments too, though maybe we forget that in the hustle and bustle of our day.