With school closing, we had to suddenly jump into online learning with just a few days’ notice. Like many of you, this is not familiar territory for me, but I wanted to share a few ideas I’ve learned/been thinking about in the past week.
Mainly, I keep hearing over and over again from those who have more experience with this that we need to take things slower and more relaxed. In a transitional time like this, we need to take it easy on ourselves and our students. We need to model calm. We need to be ok teaching a little less and giving students more time to complete less work. As I expressed to my department colleagues in our switch to online learning, my two goals for our math classes online are:
- To have students flex their math muscles – This can take many forms–maybe we pause the curriculum for the first few days and play with Desmos Marbleslides (check out the Marbleslides Challenge!) or check out What’s Going On in This Graph? I do want students to do some mathematical thinking each day (or even every other day) to provide some routine, some academic struggle, and some focus.
- To give students a sense of community – I’m guessing many of our students are feeling bored and/or isolated. I imagine they will be excited to see smiling faces (ours and their classmates) as well as just to hear from us. So having ways to meet over video, or have groups work on a project, or just check in over email, can help keep students connected to the community of their school.
If we meet these two goals in each of our math “lessons,” then we will have done our job for the day.
Additionally, this could be the time to try to change a few things, get creative. My middle school colleague Jill created a multiple choice check in/math scavenger hunt with slides (like the two below). Students will work out the question, go around their house to find the object that matches the answer they chose, and hold it up to the camera on Zoom.
I love that Jill has included an element of #MathMovement!
The number one question I keep hearing is: how do we do a major assessment? This I’m still pondering. I’m hoping to give some “quizzes” in the coming days and come back to share out how/what worked/didn’t work…
Stay safe, calm and connected everyone.