Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Teaching During a Pandemic Part 1

Five weeks into the new school year and we are still in person. Fingers’s going well. The kids are adjusting amazingly to all the new procedures and rules. Teaching with these new protocols is challenging to say the least. However, I’d like to focus on the positives I’ve experienced the last five weeks. 

1. Class Environment- My class and I are together literally all day long. To avoid exposure, the children eat breakfast and lunch in the room. We have specials in our room and are outside for one twenty minute recess in which our class is the only class on the playground at that time. All these factors have resulted in a close feeling of classroom community. I’ve seen the children develop sense of belonging a lot sooner than in previous years. There is a heart warming feeling of a classroom family. 

2. Quiet Hallways-This may seem like a little thing, but it has made a difference. Since traveling through the building is limited, the hallways are so quiet. I can leave my door open without the learning being disrupted. The children can hear me teaching even behind my mask. My microphone helps too. ☺

3. Morning Welcome Slides-My children used to choose lunch on our Clever Touch Screen. I would have my morning work listed on the white board. Since I couldn’t have the children all crowd to the screen and touch it, I flipped my routine. I made welcome slides for the morning work with my word of the day and joke of the day to display. Each child has an emoji with their name and magnet on the back to put on the white board under their lunch choice. I like it this way so much that I’ll keep doing my morning slides from here on out.                

4. Small Class Size-With Social distancing I can fit 18 desks in my classroom and as a result I have a smaller class than normal. One of our team members volunteered to move into our Art Room since it is bigger and take more students. She is an ultimate team player. I can’t thank her enough. With my smaller class size, I can give feedback faster to my students and do more quick checks on skills.

5. Creative Teaching-Best practices of education emphasis collaboration among students and interaction during lessons. This is a challenge with the restrictions of not sharing materials and social distancing. I’ve really had to think outside the box on how to structure my lessons so the children are engaged in the lessons in addition to the normal asking and answering questions. In Part 2 of my series Teaching During a Pandemic, I will share some of things I’ve done to keep my students engaged. 

Editable versions of my morning welcome slides are available in my TPT store if you want to check out the preview.  


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

5 Things I Have Learned Teaching From Home

 Hello everyone! This is the second post of my Teaching From Home Series. Wow. What a journey this has been. My philosophy of being a life long learner has never rang so true. My reflection of this process has lead me to list 5 things things I’ve learned about myself and others. 

1. Beyond the Comfort Zone-I cringe listening to my voice on audio much less view myself on video. I pushed passed those uncomfortable situations in order to deliver content to my students. It wasn't easy. My first audio lesson using Screencast-O-Matic took me 7 tries before I was comfortable publishing my lesson. Now I record without the nerves and barely have to redo my lessons. I took my newfound confidence even further and recorded myself on video reading aloud a book that we started before school was cancelled. I recorded myself reading 11 chapters and published them to my Google Classroom.  If it weren't for the distance learning, I would've never tried to push myself out of my comfort zone. 

2. Everything Google Slides-  I have learned to do so much with slides during this time. Using slides as interactive tool for lessons with Pear Deck is the latest thing I've discovered. I took a webinar about it and was amazed. Besides that, slides can be used as an assignment tracker, interactive assessment tool, student paced lessons, etc. I've even stretched myself and made my first digital product. Something I never thought I'd be able to do before. 

3.  Google Meet- Before the distance learning was forced upon me, I didn't know anything about Google Meet. This became my relied upon communication each day in Google Classroom. With my set office hours each day, students could "pop" into the meet link to ask questions, show me work, or just say hi. It was so nice to be able to see them. Last week, we had fun on Google Meet with a scavenger hunt. It was a blast. I displayed 3 items at a time for the kiddos to find and show.  There are many scavenger hunts for video calls on Pinterest. This is the one that I made.

4. Teamwork- I already knew I teamed with an awesome group of teachers, however this situation proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. We had to work together so closely to get things planned and implemented. We all shared our Google Classrooms and divided up the lessons. During distance learning we all got to know each other's kiddos since we were teaching them all. Another positive to come out of this.
5. A Little Kindness Can Go a Long Way-  Kind words and understanding can produce better results than taking out frustrations on others due to a situation beyond our control. Unfortunately, I was on the receiving end of  the frustrations felt at having to educate my students in an new way. For the most part, kindness and understanding helped to ease fears. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Teaching from Home Series Post 1

Hello! Long time no blogging. I have to say adjusting to the new normal for teaching motivated me to get my blog on again. After all, going digital is necessary for our new teach from home routines. We are all in this together is our new motto. With that spirit in mind, I want to share my new top 5 must haves for teaching at home.

1. Google Classroom-I have used this resource for the past 3 years, however it’s become essential for my new normal. Thank goodness my kiddos are familiar with it because now it is my main platform for teaching.

2. Screencast-O-Matic-This resource has been a lifesaver. It is a Chrome Extension that allows you to narrate while you video your screen. The free account allows you to record 15 minutes a day. This was plenty of time for me to demonstrate how to fill in a digital summary organizer, model thinking aloud as I did it, and also show how to turn in the assignment in Google Classroom. This is why it made #2 on my 5 must haves.

3. Pinterest Digital Teaching Board-I wonder what I did before having Pinterest as a resource. I can’t even remember. Cruising through all the pins on distance learning can be overwhelming, however. I created a board and narrowed down resources that pertain to my current needs. Some are “look at later” pins, but most are helpful to my current planning.

4. Google Meet-With all the Zoom Bombing, I’ve relied on Google Meet to collaborate with my team members. It’s connected to everything Google and easy to create meetings through my calendar and send out invites. My teaching partner and I are going to try it with our students next week.

5. PDF Merger-Thank goodness for my team. One of my team members told me about online PDF mergers. Our district had to create At Home Learning Packets for the students who don't have technology resources at home. I needed to upload the packet into one PDF. I found a Chrome extension called Small PDF. You can gain access for 14 days free. Another I found online is called Combine PDF. This worked great and is free, however you are limited to the amount you can convert each day.

These are my first 5 must haves for Teaching from Home. What are your must haves? Leave a comment to let me know. We are in this together. 😊

 My children's story "The Time Travel Storm" is free for the next 5 days if you'd like to grab it for distance learning or just for your digital library. Click on the Picture. 


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