The calendar shows we have about three weeks of school left. At this time during a normal school year I’d be looking at my unit sequence and schedule my final unit assessments. I’d also be organizing how I want to end the school year. I’d usually have a final exam about a week before the end of the year then have a decent amount of time for student reflection and plan a few fun end of the year activities. The last day of the year is always field day and where the school claps out the fifth graders as they prepare for middle school. During that day teachers wave to the busses as students adventure onwards towards their summer. We wish the students well and tell them we look forward to seeing them in the fall.
Obviously this year is different. With three weeks left I’m looking at an unrealistic pacing guide, have decided to consolidate lessons and am making a priority to check in with students more often. I’ve had to change my own expectations in a realization that emergency eLearning isn’t the same as being in school. Not even close. I’ve had to become even more flexible with my own expectations regarding student participation nd missing work. Tracking down missing work digitally isn’t ideal. Students are turning in assignments between 8:30 (when they’re posted) all the way until 9:00 that night or later. Students have been fairly receptive to feedback as around 60% of students need to resubmit an assignment for a second attempt. This doesn’t happen in the regular classroom. Because we have less assignments there’s more of an emphasis on completing quality work. That’s a win in my book. Students have been consistent with attending Zoom meetings during the last few weeks. I’ve added more interactive pieces to these sessions as reading off slides for 10-20 minutes is ineffective. I’ve had more success with using Padlet, Quizziz, interactive sites and question/answer sessions with Zoom. Referencing other assignments and reviewing the work completed during the week in Zoom sessions has been helpful to some students. Keeping with similar school routines with questions via a Google Form have helped keep some of the normalities of my class during the past month. The class then reviews the questions and answers during the Zoom meeting.
I’m in the process of planning out the next three weeks. I want to continue to provide quality experiences for kids, but also realize the limitations of teaching remotely. Those experiences look different depending on the grade level. I’ve been attempting to have a variety of assignments throughout the week. I’ve been picking and/or creating assignments that relate to the lesson from the resources below.
- 3-Act math tasks (just getting started with this)
- Google form quiz
- Phet Simulations
- Digital worksheets from district adopted text
- Mathematics assessment project
- Estimation 180
- Explain Everything videos (1 per week)
- Who Am I / Solve Me Mobiles
Some of these are used more often than others. The adopted text sheets are used more than others. I try to use 1-2 days of the week for a Google From quiz or Desmos activity. Those days are designed to review concepts and provide more direct feedback. When students complete the quiz they receive a score and get to review the results. Same with Desmos as students can self-check. The starter slides are also great to check in with students.
I have a few ideas to think about for the the last few days of school. Last year I used a Desmos polygraph to reflect on our math experiences and am thinking about doing something similar. I want to close out the year with students feeling like they belong and have made positive progress during their elearning math adventure.
Didn’t think I’d say this last year, but I’m now off to plan digital math experiences for my students.