I am starting this under the assumption that I will be teaching fully online for the foreseeable future. Cases in San Diego are on the rise and I am leaning into believing in my school district will see this and not open schools.
I want to use this space to think through some ideas I have. To dream big, as Lizzie told me was my job.
Before I do that I want to explain what my situation is: I will teach one 9th and two 11th grade math classes next year (all homogeneous, no tracking). It’s about 100-120 kids. I see them for 75-90 5 days a week usually, although for the purposes of this let’s say 75 minutes a day 5 days a week is my assigned time in the virtual schedule. Also, in both of these classes I work in a team of 3-4 teachers who are pretty much teaching the same thing as me on any given day/week.
Okay, Big ideas. (All of this is open for feedback and questions!)
- I need minimum two weeks to meet with and get to know my kids: I am thinking all class zoom games and activities, small group bonding (think table groups), and individual meetings with every kid.
- I am thinking about the fact that we give kids notebooks every year. So I think I need to drop one off, maybe with an intro letter, and some pencils to all my students in the first week of school. I know this is a lot but then they can see me. This feels important.
- What is content in this world? I am not 100% sure but I also know I work in a district so I have somethings I have to work with in. Maybe all class meets Monday and Friday. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are small group work meetings. Groups of four meet, I listen and chat to gauge competency.
- These midweek meetings come be used to build questions we can answer around the content of the week. (maybe they push us to other content too). Fridays the students report on the questions they’ve developed and we make plans for the next week to answer. Maybe some groups change their questions to other groups. Maybe some discover they want to save their’s for other weeks.
- Monday is for check ins always (some during the week too). We do our circle questions. We build trust. We learn about each other.
- I am also thinking about the fact I teach in a team. Does it need to be just me working with kids or can all three of us push into break out groups and talk to kids? Can we hold classes together? Can our kids present to each other? How do we build trust across a whole grade level?
- Assessments as videos of students explaining their questions and the math they did to solve them?
Will you tell me what innovative things you are thinking about for next year?
Just to be clear I only did about 6 weeks of emergency online pandemic teaching this year and I did a mediocre job. I am trying to think about what better looks like this year.