Today’s post shares my current plan for virtual and hybrid math class with you. In it I will also share a bit about the journey to the plan. Please note that attendance to virtual classes is not mandatory but totally optional for students. If a student wishes to attend they may. If they are unable or not interested it is not an expectation. All necessary instruction is available in Brightspace.
Awaiting a hurricane
Labor day weekend spun slowly for me. I felt like I was awaiting a very slow moving hurricane. How would we fare starting our first 3 weeks virtually? On one hand I was excited. Other grade levels could figure out the kinks before we came back after construction in the school reached a point where our classrooms were ready. On the other hand I was worried. How would we all manage starting the year virtually?
My parent hat
My son elected the all virtual choice for high school. His first 3 weeks have been … a learning curve. The first week was overwhelming. We had waffled all summer about what to do and that first week was chaotic. He kept getting kicked off meets due to the wifi and he felt a bit overwhelmed with it all. The second week he started to feel the fatigue of being in his chair at home all the time but by week 3 things started to settle. He’s thriving. It’s all good.
Now it is finally our turn
As we wrapped online learning I wrote to several friends who teach at the high school. “What are you doing? I know some of Xander’s classes but I want more details. Anything you can do to make this learning curve less steep would be amazing!”
They came through for me super fast. One teacher is also an 8th grade parent. He ran test classes with his older daughter before he started. I just got into my classroom for the first time Thursday and got my tech sorted Friday (it’s all new). When he told me about the test classes I thought, “YES this is what I’ll do.” I asked my husband and Xander if they could do a test class with me on Saturday.
So what’s the plan?
I know you want to know what will class look like on days my child is virtual? How will it feel in class? Here is the quick story after 2 trial classes.
I’ll be joining a Google Meet 3 times! One device will face the classroom and our virtual kids will see their fellow classmates this way. One device will be our audio and can present when needed. One screen (my iPad) will be our writing and primary presentation mode using my favorite go to program, Explain Everything. Trust me we need all 3 for this to work this way.
But what will class look like?
Virtual kids will join the meet in their regularly scheduled class time. We’ll all kick off together. Then, the kids in class will watch my pre-recorded lesson on the SMART Board. The virtual kids will hop off the meet and watch the pre-recorded lesson while we watch it in the room.
Then we will come back together (I’ll do my level best to keep our videos to 10 minutes or fewer) and we’ll go through examples TOGETHER. Following examples we’ll have work time. That can be so many things that I won’t get into it here, but the virtual kids would have the opportunity to stay on the line for work time or hop off and work on their own and pop back in when they have questions.
Whew that’s a lot to digest
Yes it is. And it is gonna be AWESOME. Why? Because it HAS to be. We need this to work. And did I mention I bought an amplification system for my voice. My voice doesn’t project well already so covering my mouth with a mask makes it worse. I tried that out today and it worked GREAT.
I’m really not exaggerating when I say I’m truly thrilled.
Assume Positive Intent
One last thought. This is HARD. It has been a long run already for ALL of us. I don’t know a single teacher who isn’t working harder than they’ve ever had to work. I have entirely new tech that is going to be relying on the internet working. It may not work sometimes. I know it won’t. In the past when we had tech glitches I could pivot to the whiteboard and everyone was with me. It won’t be as easy with this hybrid model. We’re still getting used to Brightspace (our new learning management system). Students are still learning how to upload work, take good pictures of work and they’ll be learning to breath and talk with a mask on all day.
I hope when things go wrong you’ll take a deep breath and remember I’m giving this my best go. Reach out when you are concerned and maybe even when you’re happy and know we’re all in this together!
Thanks for reading. Welcome to week 1 of hybrid learning!