Face to Face #sol20
April 21, 2020
As a literacy specialist, I have been mostly working in the background of the virtual learning, providing content, practicing online lessons with teachers, creating videos. Today I had my first opportunity to have some live small groups. As I met with a teacher on Friday, we were thinking about making our workshop teaching more closely match our IRL experiences. IRL, we would have split up some small groups and co-taught during the independent portion of the workshop. So when the teacher said she was having difficulty seeing all the students during small group, I offered to have small groups as well.
I am a partner in her google classroom, so I knew the expectations she had for the students. Teaching into the research reading unit and working on informational writing, the team has paired this unit with a science unit to continue with that content knowledge. I have to give both the teacher and the team credit for using many different online platforms to deliver information to the students. That variety would have been present in their classroom settings and they are exposing students to it here as well. Brainpop Jr. , Readworks, Epic book sets are some of the ways that she has been creating text sets for readers and writers in her class.
Trouble is, not all the students are accessing the text set or completing the independent work… Establishing a routine seems tough in this virtual/home world. Even I am constantly inventing new ways to keep myself on track and my reading has been pretty abysmal in terms of consistency and routine.
In my reading small group, I started with their reading plan. What were they reading? That was a struggle. One student doesn’t want to read anything online. I got out my iPad and talked him through the features, he still wasn’t having it. He’s rereading a series he’s read before. I did talk him into making a plan for this week’s reading and writing it down. In new learning, I used the teacher’s google classroom assignment reading to work through taking notes and main idea/details. Their reading was fluent, but their understanding of what they read wasn’t. We talked about rereading for meaning and created some notes for teaching others. Again, it was interesting how they didn’t talk as much as IRL.
Here’s my summary for their classroom teacher of our work today. (Names redacted)
Tools for reading small group, Epic book Life Cycle of a Honeybee. Anchor chart based on Reading to Learn, TCRWP Third Grade UOS Reading, Google Slide, Handwritten note displayed with Quicktime Movie. ( I fixed mandibles after this screenshot)
I show all these tools because… ALL THESE TOOLS! In order to keep everything going, sometimes you have to use a lot of tools or hold up things. Also, giving kiddos some wait time and writing time… and redirection time. (Those spinning office chairs are super distracting)
Then on to writing. None of the kiddos was doing any independent writing, that will definitely be a goal for a next session if I am afforded on.
For writing independent work, the teacher had assigned a BrainPop Jr. on the life cycle of a plant and asked the students to draw a diagram of the plant life cycle. My plan was to show the BrainPop video and then go through the planning with the students… However, BrainPop’s log in wasn’t working this morning. Even though I had set up all the tabs last night, this morning there was a glitch. (Sigh and Bummer). This is the one place were much like in IRL, the students are very flexible. They understand that sometimes things don’t work and we have to make do. We brainstormed the life cycle of a plant starting at one student’s idea of an entry point, pollinators. Smart girl, knew we were studying pollinators and so she made them front and center.
Several things I reminded students of during our ‘marker talk’.
- we need a heading for our diagram
- we should label as many things as we can to make our meaning clear… hence my deer (LOL)
- explaining each step is also good
- planning (better than I did) your spacing helps your audience.
- Can you teach from this tool?
Too quickly, it was time to say goodbye to the students. Was it this hard to leave them IRL?
I share these adventures in virtual learning through my Slice of Life community sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. We write together each Tuesday here.