It’s been about a month since I closed my distance learning space here at my house and I’ve been wanting to write down a list of things I learned and just haven’t really wanted to revisit those moments. They were hard moments. Reflecting and finding those learning moments helps me find growth and positives in journeys I didn’t plan.
#10 – After two to three weeks I discovered the Chrome browser was friendlier/quicker for uploading videos than using Safari.
#9 – Seesaw was my favorite tool for delivering activities. I was able to provide written directions with visual icons, auditory directions, and a video to help students see my ideas for us to try. I loved the three modalities I could create to help us.
#8 – Flipgrid was my favorite tool to help students connect, see, and hear each other. I used it for interactive read alouds.
#7 – I had to pull away from all the goodness being shared via social media. I got overwhelmed with all the help from authors, fellow teachers, publishers. It was information overload for me.
#6 – I learned to google almost any how to question I had related to technology and found several answers.
#5 – I gave myself permission to lean on someone else to help deliver instruction. I found using Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s Keep a Notebook video lessons so helpful and guided our writing work. I found after a bit of time I could launch our work with her ideas and then I would model my own writing in another video and address things I was seeing from the writing the students shared with me.
# 4 – Students had choice and voice while using Seesaw. They had an interactive white board with various tools to share their thinking with me. They could make a video of themselves talking, draw and record their voice, type, insert photos – it was fascinating to watch what they did each day.
#3 – For some students I heard more from them in this format than in the classroom.
#2 – Connections were needed and wanted for our community. There were many days hearing and seeing their responses to my activities helped with my own social emotional well being. Many parents reported the same for the videos I made for them and the work they chose to share with each other in our Seesaw blog.
#1 – Routines brought comfort. This was an emergency situation and so unfamiliar. None of us wanted to be doing distance learning and having a rhythm a flow felt good. I started each day with a morning meeting followed by some reading work, writing work, and then we finished up with math. I let go of content, it couldn’t all be done and our standards are such that our ideas in second are revisited in later grades.
We are still waiting for guidance for what 20-21 can look like here in Ohio for classrooms. I can take things from this list and move forward. The biggest take away (so maybe this list is ten plus one) was to have grace. There was frustration, sadness, mistakes, work not completed, and through it all stepping back and recognizing we were all trying out best brought peace. As we move forward, I will keep grace at the forefront of the journey.