"My advice for teachers taking the digital leap is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. The problems we are running into is parents not reading the directions and struggling with too many logins. So, we have uploaded lots of resources and videos and things they can just click and watch without logging in. There are so many free programs right now, but they all require a login that we haven't really taken advantage of them.
The other thing is to BE REALISTIC about the things we can control, we can check in and support our parents, but the reality is we can't make them do it or not do the work for the kids. So we just try to put up a few activities for each day. Keeping in mind that 1) we are half day (Kindergarten) so no more than an hour's worth of stuff total, 2) parents are still working and doing online stuff with multiple kids. We want to be the class that gives them the least amount of stress!!"
-Amy Vodeboncoeuer, Midas Creek Elementary
Nearpod is a district supported resource for online teaching. Every teacher in Jordan School District has a district account, which means they have access to all of the latest features like audio recording and all of the lessons that have already been created by other professionals in the "Nearpod Lesson Library". Check with your digital specialist if you are unable to access your district Nearpod account. In the meantime, look at these examples, made by teachers in our district, of how Nearpod can be used for your literacy instruction.
Ashley Alvey, a first grade teacher, continues to differentiate lessons to her students even outside of the physical classroom. She continues small-group instruction by filming herself teach an appropriate phonics lesson for each group. It just takes a little bit of effort on her end to make sure her students are still getting what they need. Check out her video below:
We know the whole concept of online teaching and learning has been challenging for a lot of teachers, parents, and students. However, this kindergarten teacher at Ridge View Elementary has quite the game plan for a virtual classroom using one of the district supported resources, Canvas. Who would have thought that we could use Canvas in Kindergarten? Devionare Howland has figured it out! Check out her video, A Day in My Virtual Classroom:
This teacher at Jordan Hills Elementary is encouraging her students to "Get Outside and Play" along with participating in LUNCH DOODLES with author/illustrator, Mo Willems. She selects the perfect read-aloud and records herself reading to her students. She then assigns her students to participate in at least one of the LUNCH DOODLES and has them take a picture to show her. What a great way to integrate reading with art and moving our bodies!
Visit The Kennedy Center's webpage where you will find the link to Mo Willems LUNCH DOODLES videos and a downloadable activity page for each day.
1. Stick to a few good tools rather than lots of tools. It makes it easier for the kids and parents to focus on content instead of learning a new medium.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are lots of good resources out there. If something is already done well, use it rather than recreating it.
3. Plan times to meet with students. At my school we post daily office hours so our students know when they can video chat with us. I know my son loves when he gets to see his teacher and peers.
4. Plan times to be unavailable. I love how quickly my son's teacher has been responding — but working from home can turn into working nonstop. There’s at least another month and change of this to go. Teachers will burn out if they don’t set limits on availability.
On Monday, Teammates Angie Drope and Sarah Chugg from Columbia Elementary spent three hours driving around together to their collective 50 students' homes to put signs in their front yards, front steps, on bikes, and on porches. They have been flooded with grateful, teary-eyed parent messages. They tried to be sneaky, but got busted a few times. It was time well spent for them and the kids. They sure miss them terribly. These signs lifted the spirits of the parents and kids at home. What are some ways you're finding to keep your students' spirits high especially with the news of longer dismissal?
Quotes from parents:
"We LOVED the sign in front of our home!!! That was the sweetest thing and really lifted our spirits: Thank you! My daughter is missing you and her classmates and working diligently right now! She wanted to put it next to her desk right away! Your sign made us misty eyed! Thank you again sooo much! That was just above and beyond."
"We appreciate you so much! I swear! We are so blessed to have you in our lives".
"My daughter was so excited! She wished she were home to give you a big hug!!"
"Que hermosa atencion para sus alumnos lo recordaran por siempre"
"As all of you know, I have championed American Teachers as some of the finest people that walk this earth. These individuals care deeply about children that are not their own. While at the same time they are mothers and fathers to their own families and most certainly must be as concerned as all of us, where their next paycheck is coming from, where their next meal is coming from and if they get sick will there be a hospital with space to treat them and all the bills that are piling up when there appears to be no solution as to how we are going to continue to live. In the face of all of this they are offering to their students the greatest gift that God bestows on we humans…the gift of Hope.So, thank you my dears and know this…that you are the stalwart heroes that are standing between us and the collapse of our society. Thank you for your belief in humanity and thank you for being a shining example to your students of what hope and optimism are about". ~ Patricia Pollacco
Check out this 4th grade teacher from Golden Fields Elementary and how she's using online journaling to stay connected to her students. She created an assignment in her Google Classroom where she attached a Google Doc for each student. From there she listed out the days she knew we would be out of school and a prompt for each day. The kids then type in their journal response for each day.
"I have set up an online planner, my students are used to writing in their planners to inform their family what they learned, and how their day was, it is their chance to journal. Instead of writing to their parents online, their job is to write to me. put up some prompts, but mostly, I want them to have a place to ask questions, update me on their progress (accountability) and a reminder that there is someone outside of their home that cares about them. I have been responding throughout each day. I will be contacting parents tonight, for any students that haven't made an entry by the end of the school day today." ~Tammy Schaetz, 4th Grade teacher