Slice of Life Day 13

Today was bizarre. Last night we got the call that our last-minute half day for students/PD day for staff had turned into a day off for students and a five hour PD day for staff. We w pulled bed focusing on planning for remote education. In other words, we would be planning for virtual school.

I’m grateful that my district gave us the time to plan. I’m glad that we’ve been talking about this possibility for a few days, too. But let me tell you- delivering instruction in-person is completely different from delivering instruction online. In addition, online courses are usually designed as such from the beginning. Shifting online in the middle of a marking period without any time train students is chaos.

Like I said, we had started thinking about this possibility a few days ago. But today I spent hours trying to figure out what to teach online and to do it during the 5-period day students will be responsible for attending from home. I’m keeping it simple, sticking to the tech tools we use on a daily basis. And we are using books! I made sure every student left school with books from my classroom library and our next lit circle book. It’s not ideal, but we can shift reading workshop online. And reading, which requires tech tools, can be done without internet access. I’ve already messaged the library in town to see if they will issue digital cards, even temporarily, to students stuck at home. That way they can access e-books and audiobooks.

This afternoon we got the official word that we will begin remote learning on Monday for at least two weeks. We had a pretty good idea that the announcement was coming, so leaving the building today was bizarre. It was like the last day of school, but instead of excitement we mostly felt somber. We have no idea when we will see our students again. No idea when we will teach in person again. No idea when our school community will be together again. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’m not excited about teaching online; if I wanted to do that there are plenty of virtual schools hiring every year. I love my students and the community we have built together. I love watching them work together. I even love their silly TikTok dances. Now we are losing that for a minimum of two weeks