Last week was our second week of eLearning! During the first week (linked blog), I assigned my students the option of completing some assignments that were check-ins, which are linked on my previous blog post. Please remember that all assignments in my district are optional with a capital OPTIONAL!
Over the second week working from home, I wanted to continue to ease into learning virtually. I chose a topic that was review for my 7th grade students, operations with rational numbers. (To be completely transparent, the assessment I gave before school closed surprisingly didn’t yield pretty results and we needed the practice!)
Choice Board Assignment
I created a choice board of learning opportunities, heavily inspired by one of my favorite follows on Twitter, @carterodactyl.
I chose to give my students 6 opportunities for practice (all sites are currently free), noting that choosing 4 options would be a good goal. Here’s what I came up with for the assignment (link) [feel free to take and customize], and this is what the assignment looked like on Google Classroom:
The image below shows how I organized it on our Google Classroom. I have an assignment at the top with the choice board, where I attached the Google Doc for students to view. Then I made additional assignments for the Pi Day Breakout, Jeopardy, and game. On Khan Academy I made assignments for the quizzes, and on IXL I looked for progress on the learning.
It can also be noted that I created a Google Meet video chat with my students. I invited all grade-level Core teachers and all 7th grade students for one session. A handful of students came to the meeting, along with one other teacher. I put out a feedback Google Form at the end of the week to get some input from students. It was very much inspired by @MrsStevensonSS! I plan to send one out weekly, just to keep tabs on what’s going on, and some students have only engaged in this Form so far. (I don’t know…)
I think I had sky-high hopes for engagement during this week of learning, and I got a little down on myself after I didn’t see the participation I had eagerly anticipated.
But then, I reflected a lot. With my family of educators, with parents, with my colleagues, and on the feedback I received.
These students are busy at home! Lots are doing extra chores or helping with younger siblings, etc., etc., etc. Some are trying to get outside and ride bikes or get fresh air if they can. Others don’t have a lot of support or supervision to guide them toward academics. And to be truthful, this new normal hasn’t really sunk in yet. Not even for me, as the teacher with a super-informed husband working at the hospital in town, let alone a group of nearly teenagers who have been separated from friends and their own definition of normal. I think things will get better, and I need to accept my own advice and give lots of GRACE to them and myself, especially as we begin. (Plus, can you imagine how many emails parents of secondary students are getting?!)
I feel like the Google Classroom assignments with the choice board were a lot to push out at once, though it looks organized (to me). And I want to include more content from Open Up Resources 6-8 Math, so we can continue in our learning together, even if we’re isolated physically.
I have another game plan for next week that I can’t wait to blog and share about! And I have some plans to keep data along the way about teacher moves from afar and engagement along the way. Wish me luck!
How are you handling the explicit optional work at your schools if you’re in a similar scenario? Are you seeing student engagement?
If not, how is it going with eLearning? I can’t wait to see what you share in the comments of this post!