Reflections from Online Teaching: aka Keep, Throw, Bring BackJun 15, 2021
Have you ever heard of the game F*%@, Marry, Kill? Basically, you are given the name of 3 people like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Hugh Jackman. Then you need to choose which one you would F*%@, which one you would marry, and which one you would kill.
(This example is hard, I know, but for me, it would be F*@% Ryan Reynolds, Marry The Rock, and then sadly Kill Hugh Jackman.)
Today, we are playing a similar game, but we are doing it distance learning style so we are doing Keep, Throw, Bring Back!
- Zoom Parent-Teacher Conferences
- These were so, so successful and I was able to see more families than ever! It just creates more convenience for everyone so that should definitely stay
- Daily/Weekly Check-Ins
- I started doing daily check-ins with my Advisory students, just to keep tabs on their mental health (you can see more about how I did this in this blog post) because when we are online it is much harder to tell how they are doing, but I also discovered that they were helping me get to know my students better and I think they will be helpful next year too. (I think I'll tone it down to once a week though)
- Frequent communication with students, families, and caregivers
- Not only did I email families more frequently, but I asked more questions about what was going on at home and how everyone was doing. That is totally something we should be doing all of the time. Things can be hard at home even without a pandemic! (I used a lot of templates for this and you can grab the same ones for free over here!)
- Options for participation
- This is something I did before Covid, but it got even more varied during the pandemic. Students could respond out loud or in the chat. They could do Flipgrids, essays, online drawings, or puzzles. There were just so many options and so many opportunities for flexibility!
- Wish I could Keep: The Mute All Button!
- I will miss thee, Mute All Button! More than you may know!
- Not seeing kids in person
- Yeah, so over that! I have already started seeing more of them in person and it just makes so much of a difference for them and me, so I can't wait to see them all in my room in the fall!
- Spending ALL day working from my couch
- (I do kind of love it though, hence it being my business name :-) I have realized though how unhealthy it is and when I am in the building I am up and moving so much more and I FEEL GOOD! Yes, I am exhausted at the end of the day, but my mental health totally appreciates the movement and the endorphins!
- Wish I could Throw: The disrespectful emails.
- No matter how hard I try to teach my students about email etiquette, I still wind up getting those emails that are just rude every year. "When are you going to grade this?" "Why is my student failing? It must be your fault!" "You should be teaching ..." UGH! So over it!
- Agenda Slides
- I have done these for years and I don't know why but I didn't do them in my online classroom. It just didn't fit my flow, I guess. But they have been so impactful in the in-person classroom that I can't wait to bring them back!
- Walking around the classroom
- Again, teaching from my couch is amazing, but unhealthy, so I am excited to get back in the routine of moving around more!
- Current Events
- Each quarter I require students to do 5 current event activities and these can be completed any time during the quarter (most forget until the last week) but I didn't do them this past year because I didn't want to add more pressure to the kiddos. But, I have seen how great they are for students' understanding of non-fiction and the larger world, so I am excited to bring them back!
- My Couch!
- It may come as no surprise, but I have a couch in my classroom. It is cloth, so we haven't been able to use it all year, but it is coming back next year! We do so many fun things from that couch like we do storytime when we read short stories or novels, students love doing their independent work from that couch, and it's always a good place to have a chat with a student when needed.
- Wish I didn’t have to Bring Back:
- Lunch and Recess duty. My assistant director sent out an early draft of the master schedule for next year and guess who has middle school lunch duty for the 4th school year in a row?
Basically, this whole past year wasn't all bad. There was a lot that we learned and a bunch of good things that I am going to continue doing. But there are some things that just aren't the same when you are teaching in person. And I am excited to bring those things back!