Thirty Minutes in the Life of… Connected Learning Literacy Coaching
May 19, 2020
My downstairs office desk is cluttered with anchor charts, colored post-its, pencils, markers, and three electronic devices. A post sits on the corner of my laptop with a red heart scribbled in marker as a reminder. I have a makeshift document camera made from my phone perched on a ancient clock radio and cantilevered my something I ordered on Amazon. Next to me is a rolling cart with books I haven’t read yet, pads of paper, units, notes, and folders from classes I am currently working with. I check my notes to see what meetings I have with which students and colleagues today and off we go.
Today’s sessions include lots of face time with students working through the American Revolutions antecedents while working on research and information paragraph writing in third grade, finding the life lesson in biographies and writing a literary essay in fourth grade, and making a plan with many for how to continue this work on their own. It’s not yet 12 and I’ve met with more than half a dozen students around many different topics and writing plans. The students are all in. Their own teachers are working with others throughout the day today, our office/small group day. Our offices are open and the students are streaming in. They are still eager to learn, eager to challenge themselves, and struggling to make it work… at home.
The work… in so many ways the same as IRL, but in others so different. We’ve adapted to teaching into the time crunch. Adapting our anchor charts, our explanations, our conversations to the give and take of screens. In some ways, I can show students things and switch things quickly now. Find resources in moments, draw a quick sketch in jamboard or on a pad and display on camera, and continue with one student many times as long as they need to. Our students in our district have teachers and technology at their fingertips. Everyday, teachers are teaching synchronous lessons and posting asynchronous lessons to their google classrooms, meeting with students online, sharing feedback, answering questions. It isn’t the full experience we had, but it is school… It is school.
Our district’s plan is humming along. Students got technology in their hands early when needed, hotspots were created, teachers were trained in new technologies, and we trained each other. A robust plan was made for each closure and closure extension. We will be teaching and learning until June 17. This is phase three of our plan and we are still hitting the gas.
Someone teased me yesterday when I told her I couldn’t meet with her until 4 pm because I was booked solid. Remember when you were worried you wouldn’t have anything to do? It occurs to me now that it’s like when I began being a literacy specialist, when I began at my current school, at the beginning of a school year, when I wonder, how will I know what to do? What work will there be? In this environment as the brick and mortar environment, I observe, I inquire, I offer, I create. Then they share… they share so much. They are amazing, each teacher and each student. We talk and talk… more than we did at school. We work together and we share. The celebrations are quite as bright as before, but we’re working on them.
It a crazy, crazy way, this is working and I’m contributing. As it should be.