In this blog post I list four more takeaways of teaching online. See yesterday for part #1.
(1) Continue to use Padlet for well, just about anything you can think of! In addition to using Google Docs, Slides, Forms and other Google products, I’ve created Padlets for a variety of tasks and purposes. The most appealing characteristic of Padlet is that it is incredibly versatile. Students can drop a link, upload a video or audio, add images as well as text.
This year I used Padlets for students to post about read alouds, to share their writing and more. Padlet is easy to use and everything is saved forever, even with the free version. Next year, I plan to use Padlet in similar ways.
(2) Continue to provide monthly writing and reading challenges for students. Monthly writing challenges are an important aspect of my #Time2Write teacher-writer group and so I was motivated to try them in my own classroom.
In January I created a choice board with writing prompts. In February, I challenged the kids to #28daysofnotebooking and this month they’ve been blogging every day.
For April I will be offering students a daily poetry challenge (reading & writing) and a genre reading challenge that will extend until the end of the year.
(3) Use Readers Theatre to help students develop fluency, confidence and comprehension in Spanish. Although I am no stranger to Reader’s Theatre, I had not thought to use them in Spanish and much less online…until now. After reading the script silently and out loud and discussing vocabulary and plot, I put the kids into breakout rooms to perform their stories. Despite the usual tech issues, the groups worked well together to perform their play.
(4) Have a clear writing and reading focus for each month with lots of opportunities for individual choice and overlap between writing and reading lessons.
The ideas on this list may seem obvious or old hat to some, but adjusting to an online environment is a game changer. There are things I love about teaching online, such as the challenge of making connections, addressing essential concepts and skills, engaging students, and assessment. And, there are things I still struggle with such as, the challenge of making connections, addressing essential concepts and skills, engaging students, and assessment.
In some areas, I’ve had successes and in other areas I have completely and royally bombed.
And even though, in a normal year, I would not have voluntarily applied to teach online, this is not a normal year.
For every new challenge I have faced, I had to research, guess, invent and, sometimes, just wing it.
If I were to do this again, there are many things I would do better, and many things I would keep the same.
This year I am a brand new teacher all over again. But I am planning to use what I’m learning to create a different and better “normal”, whether I’m online or in person in the fall.
More on this in part #3 of this series.
Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge.