We are back in school this week. Distance learning style. This is a whole new ball game for so many of us and all I can do is hang on for the ride. Since I don’t know how long this on-line learning will last, I am taking it a week at a time.
Right now, this online model is supposed to end April 28th, so that is as long as I can think ahead. If I figure students will spend about 30 minutes on English work daily, then what sort of assignments can I create that gives both my students and myself breathing room? Assignments where they are still learning and I am able to check in on their progress and answer questions? I thought of project-based assignments rather than daily-type assignments. The learning that students are doing is enrichment (optional, not required), so you will notice that there are different standards presented and different ideas. Also, because it is enrichment, there is no scoring rubric, but I will be giving feedback to students who choose to do the work. The main thing I want students to do is to keep reading. The rest is secondary.
A couple of things about the school in which I teach. One, each of my 8th graders has a Chromebook. Our school has given them to students since they were in 6th grade and they are not only familiar with Google Classroom, but many other education-related apps. Two, I have a wonderful teaching partner to bounce off ideas and make our assignments that much better. Three, independent reading is at the core of my teaching curriculum. About 75% of the reading that is done is student choice. With all those factors, here is what my students will be doing the next four weeks. (When you click the link it will prompt you to make a copy. Click “make a copy” and then you can edit the document.)
Project-Based Assignments with Independent Reading
One Pager (With the One Pager, you can choose templates and then have students either create on paper or create it in PowerPoint, Google Docs, or Google Slides.)
Flipgrid or Adobe Spark mini-book report
Each week will be a different option for students to do. My hope is that they are continuing to read, so some of the projects should be with different novels (assuming it takes a few weeks to read a book). Students have books through the school library on their Chromebook (audiobooks and e-books) if they they don’t have physical ones. Tuesdays I will post the assignment and create a time that I’ll be online every day to answer questions and check in with students through Google Hangout. Crossing fingers this all goes well, but I’ll let you know what worked and what I tweaked.
What plans do you have for your students? What concerns do you have? How can I help? Let me know either in the comment box or email and I’ll do what I can to help you. In the meantime, know that you are enough. Happy teaching.