What is working virtually: November 2020

This year continues to slog on with frequent changes! I continue to push on with teaching virtually and having my son at home with me. While I can try to roll with the punches, I definitely thrive on routine. It has seemed like my schedule changes monthly which can have me all out of sorts. It has been difficult to even plan for my maternity leave though because who knows what will be happening this winter and spring!

Another thing I realized was how much more of inventing the wheel I have to do online. All of those great handouts or manipulatives that I could use in a punch- not happening now! I have to convert that to something that my students can do online. Same with presentations! Many times, I have used presentations and have students use whiteboards to answer the questions. That can’t happen easily now. (Have you tried to read whiteboards through the screen??) Also, I could always rely on asking questions on the fly and having students answer on whiteboards when we were reading some chapters of novels. I had a pretty good routine of whiteboards for whole class reading, Pear Deck for whole class reading and reading guides for small group reading. Now 1/3rd of my routine is gone. If you are here, so am I!

That being said, I have found some bright spots that have made my teaching easier:

  • Earlier in the summer, I talked about Quizizz Lessons. I have relied on these frequently as I have converted worksheets into activities. (Señor Wooly and introductory vocabulary words are great here! I also love to review chapters of books here as well.) While it is a bit more limited than Pear Deck (no option for draggables or drawing pictures!), I can also run through this a bit faster. It is also great for my elementary students. I like the timer that keeps the lesson moving. If you are looking to add some structure and formative assessment to your lessons, check it out!
  • I had been reading about Blooket, but it seemed like one other thing to add. My kids already LOVE GimKit, Quizlet Live and the regular Quizizz games. (Plus GimKit continues to keep the process novel by adding various modes like the Floor is Lava which was amazing!) But then, I saw Carrie’s post and ended up finishing a class a little earlier than planned, so I didn’t have a reason NOT to play. It was amazing! And we had a blast! Plus, with a late night for me (and many of my middle schoolers with the election- I DO teach in DC!) there was no reason not to embrace the craziness of this year and play! I tried Candy Rush which has been expired, but I know that many people like the Café mode. Plus, they plan on rotating out various modes throughout the coming weeks. Check it out! (Allison is also a fan!)
  • I love collaborative ideas for breakout rooms! I have started following Amanda Sandoval on Twitter and she has some amazing ideas! I updated her Frayer Model in Spanish and used this with my 8th graders to reinforce some the vocabulary from our book. I like how she divides the group work evenly.
  • I am teaching Peter va a Colombia by Craig Dexemple in fifth grade. I wanted to use previous articles from El Mundo en Tus Manos about Colombia in a jigsaw manner. However, I didn’t want to come up with activities for each article. I assigned each small group to find 5 key words, 5 key facts and the main idea. In small groups, the students worked on this assignment. Then I reassigned my students where each student was in a new group (in the jigsaw manner). Those students were responsible for sharing their article to the new group. As a wrap up activity, I used Google Jamboard to have students combine both pictures and sentences to communicate their understanding about Colombia so far. (Interested in finding out more about Jamboard? Bertha Delgadillo has some amazing ideas so far that she is sharing!)

I also just participated on a panel for GWATFL about technology tools across the modes. If you want to learn more, we shared our Padlet here. I hope that some of my ideas can help you as you are planning for your upcoming week!

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