This summer has been a daily educational workout for me.
Every summer, I find a few ways to improve my teaching skills, but this summer it has been a total transformation! I am spending my summer learning how to teach remotely. The change started in March when school doors closed because of the COVID 19 Pandemic and I started teaching on Google Classroom for the first time. From there, I have found help in many places. I turned my dining room and kitchen into my classroom, and every day I'd set up and tear down my whiteboard, writing pads, props and calendar. The set up for teaching at home often took as long as my 40-minute commute to work when I taught in classroom.
Scholastic offered a great free month of online literature. I found ReadWorks was very helpful too. During March, April, May and June, I would still drop off materials on a weekly basis and stop in at the school to make copies, but I felt isolated from normal teaching, and it took me a while to get used to that feeling. I was looking forward to being back in a classroom again!
In late June, one parent told me that her student would not be returning to school for medical reasons. That is when I realized that I needed to make some changes in my approach. I ordered Matt Miller's book Tech Like a Pirate, and read it from cover to cover. This book taught me how to use classroom technology to create an experience and make learning memorable. I found tools, ideas and inspiration to use technology as a treasure map to new learning. He made sense of Seesaw, Flipgrid, Screencastify and Edpuzzle, Nearpad, Slidemania. clipchang, educreations, ExplainEverything, SparkAdobe, Voicethread, Dlink, Periscope, Anchor.fm, Podbean, and Breakout. I had no idea what any of these were before July. It looked so overwhelming, but I just keep working at it. every day I learn a little bit more.
I took online workshops through our school's SAUniversity on Flipgrid, Screencastify and Edpuzzle. I took another workshop through ReadWorks as well. With three more weeks until school starts, I will be a tech-savvy teacher by September 9th with an exciting, engaging and empowering classroom. Some of what I'm adding is just plain fun instructional strategies.
This summer was more of a make-over than a vacation. I'm being transformed into an online, remote technical teacher!