Over the last several weeks, many K-12 educators have pivoted, with little warning and minimal training, to teaching in a fully online setting. The challenge of transforming an established face-to-face learning situation into an online one in the midst of a global crisis is new, even for teachers who have planned and delivered digital curricula in the past.
On Friday, March 13th, I told my eighth- and ninth-grade students that school would likely be suspended for a couple of weeks. On Wednesday, March 18th, I convened online classes which, though I didn’t know it then, would stretch at least until the end of April. Between then and now, I have developed a rapidly-evolving repertoire of practices, guided by Jay Wiggins’ and Grant McTighe’s classic dictum of curriculum planning: begin with the end in mind, only with a twist.
Continue reading “Digital Classroom Routines: or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Teaching Online”
To be honest, I was apprehensive about transitioning from classroom teaching to delivering instruction entirely online. How would I connect with my kids? How would I accurately assess their learning? How would I deliver the content and still make meaningful connections with them? These questions and others plagued me as COVID-19 threatened to take more and more time away from the classroom.
So, where to begin? Fortunately, I’ve had some experience with teaching digitally, so when COVID-19 forced the closure of my district, I was already familiar with some technology that could deliver instruction to my students remotely. The following are some practical tips I have used in my transition.
Continue reading “Tech Tips for a Smoother Telecommuting School Day”
By Laura Alvarez, author, teacher, researcher, and professional development provider
As educators, we currently face an unprecedented challenge: continuing to provide rich learning opportunities when our physical school sites are closed. While most schools are going online, many students do not have internet access or computers at home. These inequities threaten to further exacerbate equity gaps for our students who have historically not been well-served by U.S. schools and who must rely on our educational institutions, including recently arrived immigrant students, or newcomers.
Continue reading “Teaching in the Time of Corona: Supporting Newcomer Students During School Closures”
As we enter a new age of education in the world of COVID 19, I am thinking about how to help my students not only continue with their English literature education, but also to process what they, and we as a nation and a world, are going through right now. Isn’t that why we teach literature and history? To make sense of ourselves and our world? To that end, I assigned a time capsule project. (Thanks here to Karli Hart who generously shared her project worksheet with me and many others through an English teachers Facebook page. I made some changes to her original document to suit my particular students, but it is largely hers.) My students will now write three times per week either about the virus, what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in their homes, how they feel, or what they do to escape thinking about the virus.
Continue reading “Do Your Homework: Write Alongside your Students”
As I write this*, thousands of educators and administrators — as well as students and their caregivers — are all settling into a new reality. It is a reality that means they will likely not be back in physical classrooms in the foreseeable future. It is a reality in which they do not know for sure whether any kind of online learning will be able to replace mandated hours of classroom time.
That said, some practices for teaching writing can be of help to writers at any time, and especially now, in these uncertain times. I offer these suggestions, knowing that my K-12 colleagues are facing a different reality than my colleagues at community colleges and universities, and that issues of equity and access are still pressing across many educational contexts. Not all students have access to technology, and others face different challenges.
Continue reading “In the Time of Corona: Teaching Writers in Uncertain Times”
When John F. Kennedy was on the campaign trail, he was fond of pointing out that the Chinese symbol for crisis is a combination of the words for danger and opportunity. In reflecting on the coronavirus crisis and its impact of American public education, let’s first honor the flood of complicated feelings that educators themselves are experiencing and perhaps feeling overwhelmed by: fear, sadness, anger, helplessness, distractibility, and most of all, uncertainty.
In juggling family needs and work expectations, everyone is feeling the anxiety that comes from a most unusual emergency. Nothing is the same as it was. Our relationships with family, friends, co-workers and students have all been disrupted by the self-isolation that is occurring around the country and around the world. The climbing infection and death rates can’t help but make everyone more than a little edgy, depressed, and fearful. As many states move public education online, there’s never been a greater learning curve for educators and school leaders who now must embrace a full-fledged focus on online learning.
Continue reading “Teaching Online During a Crisis: Danger and Opportunity Ahead”