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As I wrote in my tentative plans for my fall online classes (HERE ARE DETAILED – & TENTATIVE – DISTANCE LEARNING PLANS FOR ALL MY FALL CLASSES), I reserved the right to make constant changes as I learned new things and my thinking evolved.

Much, if not most, of what wrote there is still holding solid, but I am beginning to make some changes.  I’ll write a post next week detailing all of them.

One of the changes I plan to make in at least one of my classes (my English Language Learner History course) is to have part of the time we’re in live Zoom classes devoted to breakout rooms where groups of two-to-three students each are taking turns reading aloud to each other from our History textbooks (America’s Story for U.S. History and Access World History).

In the physical classroom, students do this and write a summary and question for each page, along with highlighting words that are new to them, and then we share.  The U.S. History book is a consumable, so they can write on the pages.

In our virtual classrooms, I’m thinking that students would do all that, and then transfer their annotations on to a class Padlet, where they could also record themselves saying what they wrote.  I’m thinking that asking students to annotate first would reduce the odds of their just copying what other students would write (though I’m fine with all the students in each small group writing the same thing).  Recording what they wrote would provide some speaking practice and opportunities for self-assessment, and having a class Padlet where we could see what everyone wrote would give me a way to quickly see everyone’s annotations (which I don’t have in the physical classroom).  I could identify the new words that needed clarification, and call out students to share particularly good work.

A key part of this is having students be doing some non-screen work where they are reading off a paper book and annotating it with pen or pencil.

It seems to me that it makes sense to create opportunities for students to not just have their eyes glued to the screen every minute.

But I’d love to hear if readers know of research that would support doing this in an online environment.

Do you know if any?