I’ve been sharing a lot of posts with advice about online learning if schools are closed (see The Best Advice On Teaching K-12 Online (If We Have To Because Of The Coronavirus) – Please Make More Suggestions!)
And since the adjacent school district has just closed down (see THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ADJACENT TO OURS JUST CLOSED DOWN FOR A WEEK – IS THERE ANY EXCUSE FOR SCHOOLS NOT TO HAVE ONLINE CONTINGENCY PLANS AT THIS POINT?), I ramped-up efforts today to prepare my students for online learning.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER CLASSES
UPDATE: Raz-Kids is now making its program available for free to teachers and students at closed schools. I’m also adding Brainpop to this list. They are making their platform available for free, as well, which is great. However, they are not making individual student accounts available. Instead, everyone in the school will just have a common log-in. I am just having students take the quizzes available after each video, click on “Email your results” and send them to me. Unfortunately, there are not tests available for the ELL videos (Update – Brainpop IS allowing student accounts, but they are getting tens of thousands of requests, so it might take awhile to get them).
For my English Language Learner Beginner and Intermediate classes, I first signed-up everyone for Remind as a tool for us to communicate online.
Then, we’ve been practicing using the following sites (all are free apart from Raz-Kids, and I can create virtual classrooms with class codes so I can monitor student progress):
I told students that I expected that they would spend at least one hour each day on them (their choice about which one or ones they use).
Based on my experience with doing similar projects with students over the summer, I’m anticipating one-half or more of them will actually do it – though I’d be pleased as punch if more did!
IB THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE CLASSES
Happily, the remaining three projects in these classes – Oral Presentation, Essay, and final exam of making videos – is already planned week-by-week online at our blog.
Apart from the presentations themselves, we go to the computer lab or get laptop carts each day and follow the schedule that students can access, which includes zillions of examples.
All my TOK students are signed-up for Google Classroom and can submit the regularly scheduled assignments there.
I also told them they would not be penalized if they did not do the work during the school closure, but that working on it during this would make their life much saner when they returned because they would not feel rushed.
I’ve created a “Question” in each of my Google Classrooms which can function as a way that students can communicate with me and with each other if they have questions or concerns.
All my students also have my cellphone number.
By the way, in response to questions I’ve received since I originally published this post, all my students have access to the Internet at home, though some only have cellphones.
What are your plans? How can I make mine better?