With the end of the year rapidly approaching and the updated guidelines from the state about grading and instruction for K-12 students, you may find yourself asking: If I can’t hold my kids accountable with grades and attendance, will they even come to class and do their work? It’s a fair question, and one we’re hearing a lot. To that end, we have two mindsets right now: what do we do for the remainder of this school year, and what will we do in the fall?
A Project Challenge You Can Use Right Now
We want to help you make the most of the time you have left with your students. So, we are putting out mini-challenges for you to share with your students.
The first challenge is for students to design a home learning space.
When you click the Begin Now button below, you’ll be prompted to make a copy of our mini-challenge document. Then you’ll be off and running!
Here’s another simple, relevant activity
We wanted to showcase an activity from Marlowe Weingart, an English teacher at Madison High School. Check out her COVID-19 information literacy activity here.
How can we be relevant in the future?
You may have seen this tongue-in-cheek Tweet before, but it bears even more weight now that we’re dealing with virtual learning and the pandemic.
One word that the pandemic has brought into our daily conversations is: essential. Essential workers, essential services, essential etc. As we think about education, we’re asking ourselves What is essential in the classroom? Or, more specifically, What is essential for students to learn so that they can be prepared for life?
Stewart King, English teacher in Alleghany County, has been asking his students about what they find most relevant and engaging with the philosophy that “the value in moving forward is the potential for creating meaningful distance assignments that we could float out now, maybe get some feedback, and recycle for 2020-2021.” We would be remiss if we didn’t use this time to engage with our most important stakeholders: students.
Survey Your Students About Their Experience
If you’re interested in surveying your students about their education, feel free to modify and use this Google Form as a starting point. Click over to the link, then click the “make a copy” button.
When we’ve asked students what their thoughts are about virtual learning, sometimes they give typical teenager answers (“I like being in pajamas,” “I get to play video games all day,” “I don’t go to bed until 3 am”), but for the most part, they have some fascinating insights.
Insightful survey answers we’ve heard from students
The most prevalent answer has been with regard to the speed of virtual learning. One student said, “I’m learning more than I did when I was in school because I’m not waiting all day in a classroom to get things done.” Another said, “I don’t have to sit there and wait and drag it out.” What does this tell us about our classrooms?
When we asked some high school students the following question: What do you think you need to learn that you don’t already know?, their answers were thoughtful, and they frequently referenced the fact that the pandemic has redefined what “normal” might look like for the foreseeable future.
Several students wanted to know more about how to budget, or how to create solid financial plans, especially given the uncertainty of the economy.
Others were interested in becoming more DIY-savvy, with a focus on creative cooking with limited food access or handling minor home repairs on their own.
Regardless of their answers, it was clear that these students know what they’re lacking and are extremely interested in learning how to bridge those gaps.
Let us hear from you!
The pandemic has put us in a unique position to be rethinking everything we know about education, and to include everyone in that conversation. So, we want to hear from you. What are you scrapping? What are you keeping? What is essential?