We know what you're thinking...Another post about COVID-19?! Yup! but this time we want to share some MOTIVATING stories and ideas! We took time to contact teachers in a few different states and throughout different grade levels to see what they are doing to continue educating and encouraging their students through the use of technology.
Leanna Hill, Kindergarten, Brandenburg Primary School (Brandenburg, KY)
"These last few weeks have been a whirlwind! I have been recording video lessons and sending them to my student(s) using ClassDojo. This allows all of my students to continue to learn at a time that is convenient for their family. ClassDojo has been the easiest for me because all of my parents were already connected since I use that app for behavior management in my classroom. I think the familiarity and ease of it has been really helpful for families... And I am using Epic to supply books to families that do not have paper literature at their homes."
Alyssa Crabb, 3rd grade, Vineyard Elementary School (Vineyard, UT)
"A lot of teachers are getting kids together for meetings digitally to keep up a sense of community. They get together through Google Meet. They also are scheduling individual meetings with students! (Students and parents of course... can't be alone digitally with a child either!) Lots of Loom as well... it's great for making videos and sending them out."
Emily Schunn, 9th grade English I teacher, West Mesquite High School (Mesquite, TX)
"I'm utilizing a lot of the digital resources that my students are used to using. In this uncertainty, I wanted to keep it familiar... Instead of trying to develop new knowledge, I'm focusing on reinforcing what they already do know with practice. We're also using digital escape room as a fun activity to supplement some reading. I'm trying to keep the workload fairly light considering the situation most of my students are in. I'm also using Google Meets to have office hours with them. Next week I'm going to be doing a class read aloud over video and recording some mini lessons with screencastify. I'm also emailing out updates to include parents... Most important is I'm trying to contact all my students so they know I care and I miss them."
Tricia Biggs, 5th grade Accelerated Studies, Provo Peaks Elementary School (Provo, UT)
"Each day our class meets at 10 for a Zoom session for a short math lesson, to go over any questions about other assignments, for them to share projects we are doing, and most importantly for the students to connect with each other... I have been trying to provide opportunities for them to be producers and creators of technology rather than just consumers. For example, they are each working on an American Revolutionary War Hero and they are sharing their information on an e-book they created on Bookcreator. One of my goals during this time is to help provide opportunities for deep learning for the students through discovery and application. Most importantly, this is a unique opportunity for educators to improve and develop instructional practices."
Alisa Hunter, 9-12 Elective Courses, Denison High School (Denison, TX)
"[I am] calling homes to determine internet connectivity and needs for free meals, sending encouraging emails, creating online curriculum, creating other ways of communication (google voice), [and] creating videos explaining the online curriculum."
Kristin Buholtz, 6th/7th grade STEAM & 8th grade Biomedical Technology, Reynolds Middle School (Prosper, TX)
"My 7th grade classes are diverting from our regular planned curriculum because last semester they created Google Sites to disseminate info about a community's strategic plan in regards to a pandemic for their performance task. So, we couldn't let the opportunity for such a relevant real world connection pass by... [they] are posting their created sites to a common pallet wall to do a peer review and choosing their overall favorite to compare that site with the official COVID-19 site released by the city of Dallas. [This will help them] to reflect on how important getting that type of info to the community is."
Cassidy Hitchcock, BYU Swim Instructor (Provo, UT)
"What I have done is gone back to the core purpose that I hope students gain in my class. Mine being stress relief and finding an exercise that they enjoy to promote life-long wellness. I have given my students options on different ways to keep learning that purpose. They can learn from others and do written assignments based off instructional videos, or from Olympic swimmers. Or they can do an alternative form of exercise and then tell me how it can cross over to help with their swimming."
Times are hard right now, but teachers keep on teaching! We have a unique responsibility as educators to help students and parents through this sticky situation.
Some additional resources that some of the teachers recommended for the parents to use are Lexia, GoNoodle, Khan Academy, MysteryScience, Storyline Online, Starfall, and STmath!
Stay up to date on BYU's decisions regarding COVID-19 here and the McKay School of Education here.