Pandemic preparation for school has been very weird, to say the least. During my teaching career, July/August represents the time to reflect on what I learned from the previous school year and apply this new knowledge to the next 9 months. Goodness, there has been a huge batch of learning since March. Yes, as challenging as the end of the school year was, there were methods, lessons, and procedures that will make future instruction better.
The science side of our pandemic has played out much as I have read about, thus anticipated some of our new reality. In a conversation with my brother, I predicted it would hit hard and we would come together for a rebound late summer or early fall. The public has been “Hit Hard”, socially and economically. The sad surprise is I didn’t see the political divide during a human time of crisis, rather than coming together. I truly don’t understand how a pandemic is a platform for any party or elected person to use for leverage, but I’m a middle school STEM teacher, not a political science major.
I still believe that “Most People” in our country want what is best for themselves, their families, and neighbors. Since Washington is choosing not to lead with that mindset, we “Most People”, have to take ownership of a better today and tomorrow. This view is far from political and meant to be exactly that. It is time for the FISH Philosophy approach!
My first exposure to FISH Philosophy was the spring of 1999. Let me tell you what they are:
We all have been given today. There are challenges on most days, but especially during a pandemic. We will all need a boost at times. Be the person to give a boost via FISH Philosophy or your own giving means. We need to let the good in all of us have a chance to come out, showing respect to others, as we are all in this fishbowl of life.
Digital communication ebbs and flows for most adults. Many people go through waves of efficiencies or their lack of when it comes to their email inbox. We all have had the feeling of being overwhelmed, time to clean it up, inbox zero, and then falling back to where we started. The cycle can be so defeating. Just think about how our students feel.
We must create a new habit for our students when it comes to their email communication practice. This may be one of the most important skills we can teach. Online communication and directions are the means to which they, the students, will get their information for the foreseeable future. It is time to make it better and available for ALL learners, regardless of their reading comprehension level.
Set the FORMAT for your organization for efficiency and consistency. There are many learner management systems that use their tools of communication. Email is the one consistent means that can reach almost everyone. The goal is for students/staff to be more productive and separate important must-read emails from a lot of digital noise.
MY 5 W’s FOR EFFECTIVE EMAILS
These 5 W’s will help everyone to be more effective in their email communications. Seems simple, but young and old craft some horribly confusing emails. The inbox shouldn’t be a burden, but another means to share ideas, ask questions, and give direction. Email is still the most powerful, cross-platform machine in our technology toolbox.
We just finished making history in our classrooms, wherever that learning site is. On March 17th we were all thrust into a distance learning mode. The next 10 weeks were filled with many lessons that went well and those that were horrible. We were all forced to actually look at all learning through the students’ eyes. Educators improved their teaching craft due to more realtime reflections and modifications.
Many students thrived in the academic side of distance learning. I’m not saying those students liked it, just that they found their learning path that was effective on their own. The path was theirs, not the way I feel students should learn or a friend does. That is probably the most powerful learning, in one’s self and style. Here is my list of positives from distance learning.
My blog has been an attempt to "Share the Learning" and give something back to those who the message has value. I have gained much from my favorite blogs, podcasts, and vloggers. The sharing intentions are good, but this educator doesn’t like to write and the process gets pushed to the back burner. The gap between blog entries goes from weeks to months. Then I get frustrated and disappointed in myself. This process shouldn’t be that challenging, but it ends up being that way.
Here comes a new direction in my “Share the Learning” spirit. When reading, listening or watching people I respect and enjoy, they have energy beyond the content. It is clear that these influencers truly enjoy what they are doing. I searched within my head and heart for that passion of what I enjoy sharing. I landed on video, which I use regularly in my classroom and for family life events. So here we go and thanks in advance for watching!
I have created an introduction video. The content is focused on laying the foundation of where I hope to take you and most important, “Share the Learning” along the way. My website and blog will partner with my YouTube channel, for resources. The landing page will house links to the tools, tips, and tricks, I use on a regular basis. I love to “Share the Learning”, for we can all grow together and it is pretty fun.
Rocketbook is so slick and easy to use. The design just makes sense to use and syncs with my Google Drive world seamlessly. Well, I have stumbled onto another great use case in the classroom.
To give some background, I have a few Nexus 7 tablets that I use for student Rocketbook submission. The tablets are connected to our school network, safely linked to my school Google Apps for Education account and still work perfectly. The students think the device is just cool, pretending it is a phablet.
As mentioned in earlier blog entries, I have a library of FREE Rocketbook pages. For our multi-view drawing assignment, I enlarged the Rocketbook A4 Graph blank sheet to 11” x 17”. I like this sheet for a place to write their name on the top and larger format to fit the drawing assignment, with grid lines to reinforce the alignment expectation.
I then create a “Summative Assignment” folder on Google Drive. I share that folder via Google Classroom for all of my classes. The one extra step is that students must add that shared folder to their Google Drive account. However, once there all assignment submission flow to that spot.
After completing the assignment students fill in the appropriate destination charm on the bottom. Then using the tablet, scan the assignment and review for accuracy in the app. If acceptable, change the generic file name to the student and send it.
Google Classroom is the easiest tool for students. Click on the assignment > add > Google Drive> shared assignment folder > student file > turn in.
Schoology adds a few steps. Click on assignment > submit assignment > resources > apps > Google Drive > shared assignment folder > student file > import.
Beyond the authentic means to submit handwritten assignments digitally, a student can view all files in the folder. I love the share the learning approach with peer-to-peer community viewing and conversation. In addition, I really like the clean copy, vs. trying to have the student take a legible image with their device. Rocketbook is such a great tool for my classroom.