So … I’m officially on Spring Break! I chose to staycation this time around. Well not really, more like on lockdown for the next little while (until March 31st officially) but … the situation is fluid. All that to say I have a lot of time on my hands to rest, read, and reflect.
Just finished the first three days of virtual learning and here are my reflections in random order:
- Don’t expect the virtual classroom to be a replica of the “real” classroom. It just isn’t. At this point less is more. Establishing that virtual online community is everything – especially if this drags out more than we expect it to.
- Some tools work better than others. Zoom for example, I find much more useful than any Google product for the time being anyway in terms of videoconferencing.
- Seesaw Activities are super useful to organize assignments and keep a pulse on the classroom. Send back and comment features great for feedback.
- Screencastify in conjunction with Google Slides has been effective as a “morning message & daily heads up announcement.”
- There is resource overload in terms of what is available. Curate and find what works best … but I need to remember: purpose, purpose, purpose. Otherwise even online an activity with no purpose is just an activity.
- Set a schedule for what will happen when and respect those boundaries. Otherwise I easily stay connected to my screen way too long.
- Make sure everyone in the family has “a spot” for virtual working/learning and hopefully a good pair of headphones with a microphone so as to not distract the rest of the household.
- Exercise! More for the mind than the body. I know it’s not easy but get creative. Bodyweight workouts are great and don’t require equipment nor much space. Plus, you can never do too many push-ups!
- Remember that this is new for everyone. Try. Some things will work the way you expect them to. Others won’t. Take it easy on yourself. Reflect, refine, and move-on.
Will keep you posted on my reflections after starting to teach new content after break!
March 21, 2020 at 5:29 pm
Resource Overload — good band name, and an apt description of the times, particularly for those who are new to so much of what is being shared. Focusing on “purpose” is key. Interestingly, I’ve pulled back from much of the technology I would normally use, worried that putting too much in front of any students who are coming into our online spaces (our school has not made anything mandatory and all work must be enrichment or review).
March 21, 2020 at 7:06 pm
I like that band name suggestion. Got time to start a band so might run with it 🙂
March 21, 2020 at 6:25 pm
This is really great advice as I head into my first week next week. Love all the tips and thoughts about resources, boundaries, and self-care. Thanks for this! I think everyone needs to read it!
March 21, 2020 at 7:08 pm
Definitely a new experience for sure. Good luck! Post your thoughts next week!
March 21, 2020 at 6:44 pm
Your writing resonates with me. Especially the need to exercise. Enjoy your spring break.
March 21, 2020 at 6:49 pm
We’re not having to prepare for virtual learning in my district – it’s providing a digital resource page for families – but I appreciate numerous tips here. “Less is more.” Zoom being better than anything Google in this regard (our staff Google Hangout yesterday was … well, you know. A bit of an exercise in patience). And exercise – needed now more than ever, for body, mind, and spirit …
March 21, 2020 at 10:57 pm
Thanks for your tips! My district is moving into this, and it’s really helpful to hear from people who have already started working on distance learning.
March 22, 2020 at 3:12 am
Amen to “less is more.” We’ve also just completed our first days of distance learning and while the feedback from kids, parents and teachers is mostly positive, I do think it will take a special fortitude to get past 2-3 weeks. Focusing on the essential is key. Lots of great points here.
March 22, 2020 at 7:53 am
#6 totally true, trying to curate resources as a coach and learning when they say they are “free” they aren’t often free or you have to jump through 10 hoops to get them to be free and right now, ain’t nobody got time for that. #9 also totally true, am glad we are on quarantine in that regard because my office is not comfortable but at home I can find comfortable spaces and go upstairs to exercise too.
March 22, 2020 at 8:34 am
Thanks for your insights. I am one week into the process. Last week was a bit overwhelming, but I think I will have a better handle on next week.
March 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm
I found myself nodding along with your reflections. I feel much the same way after having taught 13 days online. I’m on spring break now, too, and am relishing the break to rest, read, and reflect (as you said!). Thanks for sharing.