Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing different versions of my online teaching plans as they evolve based on experience (see HERE’S MY ONLINE TEACHING PLAN IF OUR SCHOOL CLOSES DOWN BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS and then Here’s The Revised Online Teaching Plan I Hope To Implement Next Week). NEW: ENGLISH CENTRAL, WHICH I THINK IS THE MOST ENGAGING ONLINE SITE FOR ELLS, LETS TEACHERS & STUDENTS USE IT FOR FREE DURING CRISIS
Remarkably, the plans I laid-out for my IB Theory of Knowledge classes have gone very well and pretty much just as I had hoped. We hit the ground running the week after closure, and about four-fifths have submitted outlines for their Oral Presentations. Admittedly, it has taken a lot of work on my part to stay in contact with everybody to both make sure they were safe and to answer questions about the academic work, but there has been a lot of student enthusiasm, both in the video conference check-ins we’ve had and in my one-on-one contact with many. You can read about the TOK schedule in my previous posts.
My Newcomer class was an entirely different situation. I was pretty conscientious in touching base with all my students and their parents, and was certainly pleased to see they were all safe and well. But, for all practical purposes, except for one-or-two exceptions, none did any of the online work we had spent a lot of time preparing the week before the school closed.
Then, I organized a video conference call. Much to my surprise, two-thirds of the class showed-up – including a student who hadn’t been in physical school for six weeks prior to the school closure. In fact, he was the first student in the conference call! They were all enthusiastic about doing daily thirty-minute live lessons. On top of that, one of my fabulous peer tutors agreed to co-teach the class with me! Plus, some parents expressed interest in attending the class, too.
So, we’re beginning. It doesn’t help that our district’s distribution of Chromebooks hasn’t been the fastest, so I’m teaching the class through everyone’s cellphones.
Here’s how we’re starting out and, if the last few weeks are any indication, expect a Part Four version of what I’m doing in a few weeks:
1.Beginning the class with students sharing reflective sentence frames (which is how we began most classes when we were in physical school.
2) A lesson with slides on either vocabulary or grammar
3) A game that often, though not always, reviews the topic of our lesson, either through Quizizz where students can see the “leaderboard” on a shared screen, or a game in the video conference room itself where I show slides that have multiple choice answers where students can raise a number of fingers to indicate their choice, or where they write the answers in the chatbox simultaneously, or a Picture Dictation activity (I draw a picture, describe it, and students have to draw it – students will take my place in the future) or where I start a story and students continue it (thanks to folks in the Advocating for ELLs Facebook group for some of these ideas).
There is simple homework each day that is related to the the lesson – a Wizer interactive worksheet and I will be trying out a Flipgrid prompt.
I’m also hoping to schedule one weekly fifteen minute individual conversation with each Newcomer to check in, review their homework, and get their ideas about the class, but that might be, as my students say, “Doin’ too much.” We’ll see. I might try doing that every other week.
As things progress, my peer tutor and I might consider splitting the group into two for a portion of the class – we’ll see.
All of this will obviously be easier if-and-when my students get loaned Chromebooks from the district.
I’m feeling pretty good about things. However, check back with me in a couple of weeks 🙂
I’m adding this post to THE “BEST OF THE BEST” RESOURCES TO SUPPORT TEACHERS DEALING WITH SCHOOL CLOSURES