How’s Virtual Learning Going?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 21, 2020

    We just finished Week #2!

    I feel just as busy as I am during a regular school year—just a different kind of busy.

    What keeps me busiest is kids bringing in Chromebooks and iPads that are not working (camera function is not cooperating, keyboard completely shot, programs not downloading, internet not working, etc). The I.T. Dept comes to every school 3 times a day to trade out the wonky devices for better ones.

    We also have students coming to the office who simply can’t navigate Google Classroom or Seesaw. They need help finding the link for Zoom or Google Meet. I sit with them and help them out.

    On the teacher end, things have been frustrating because they’re facing issues such as bad WiFi connections, certain apps not working, students not logging in during the live sessions, and parents not using office hours appropriately (making drop in visits).

    I must admit that it was surreal to drop off goody bags to classrooms the other day and see both teachers and instructional assistants teaching via Google Meets and Zoom. Who would’ve ever thought this would be our reality???
     
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  3. Matthew P

    Matthew P New Member

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    Aug 22, 2020

    We had a couple of weeks online at our end, moving out of this phase at the moment... but I found providing students with learning contracts (to be completed over the course of the day) and implementing "Priority Tasks" and trying to vary the range of activities between online and individual based projects really helpful. Like yourself, we struggled with Wifi connections and various LogIn issues. Setting the work up on Google Classroom, using SeeSaw as a basis for work uploads were also beneficial. Did you have any tips for those students who were not able to log in during the live sessions/students who had difficulties completing the online platform work?
     
  4. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    Aug 22, 2020

    Teachers here are stressed. Central fraught with unveiled distrust that teachers will actually work. (Should I keep a timesheet?) This has turned into major micromanaging. It causes the best to consider other careers. I'm constantly putting out fires with colleagues. Tempted to just let them burn. Sigh....
     
  5. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2020

    It's gone OK so far. We've only had two days with students at this point. Overwhelming, lots of new things to learn, and more work than a traditional start to the school year for sure! I think I only had a total of four absent kids (I teach HS so I have over 100 students). It is kind of lonely and isolating to sit in an empty classroom talking to a bunch of squares on a computer (we aren't requiring kids to turn on cameras, so most don't). I think I'm going to structure it as welcome and attendance on Google Meet, instructions for the day, then independent work time where I am chatting with them via GoGuardian as they work, and then come back together to wrap things up on Meet.
     
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  6. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Aug 22, 2020

    Week one is over and it was such a LONG week. There were so so so many emails. It was so crazy. But overall, the actual teaching part wasn't so bad. We have specials at 9:00 and for the first week they decided to not have specials to give kids a break. While I was working one on one with a student, he had headphones on. I could hear his mom in the backgrounding complaining that I have from 9:00 to 10:10 free. Hello, I was working with your child! There is a lot of work involved to be "on" so much.
     
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  7. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    Aug 22, 2020

    Sad
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 22, 2020

    On a lighthearted note:

    I work at a school where 9/10 students come from a Spanish speaking home. A lot of our kindergarten moms seem to be taking distance learning very seriously and are learning right along with their child (teachers can hear the parents in the background saying the letter sounds themselves). For example, during the morning break, one mom called and said the teacher did not review yesterday’s letter and sound and she is waiting! Haha!
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 22, 2020

    My current problem is the sheer percentage of students who simply refuse to complete work online. We have paper packets we can hand out and collect one day a week, but so many kiddos are refusing our offers of loaner Chromebooks. It doesn't matter that they are doing the exact work on either platform, and it doesn't matter that I am much more able to help students real-time. SIGH.
     
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  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Aug 22, 2020

    We start Monday. *fingers crossed*
     
  11. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    That is awesome! Very good news to hear! I spent many years at a 99.9 % Spanish speaking school, and parents were so much more supportive of academics, behavior, and decency compared to where I moved. I spent years here too with so many parents who did not value education, and their only goal was to keep their child happy despite the cost to the child. I know at times I have been jaded by it all. Parents believing they are their child's best friend ( never leading them) or letting them grow freely ( without direction) and blossoming like wild flowers are 2 sayings I have become disgusted with here. I like kids to be happy and have fun, but somethings in life are not always fun. Kids need to be raised. It is cool to hear moms so happily engaged. It gives me hope for our future! :)
     
  12. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Teachers on our end, are dealing with much more than that. They are expected to teach butts in seats along with those who Zoom in and changes are so frequent that if you blink, the rule has changed. 1 of our older teachers quit last week. People call me a lot b/c they know I'll keep my mouth shut. My best advice is to not worry about any program that is not working right now. Let someone more qualified work the glitches out. Our teachers have pretty much been thrown to the wolves here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
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  13. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Aug 23, 2020

    I love that!!
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 23, 2020

    I had a parent doing the same thing when I was zoom tutoring last spring. She would sit next to the child and write everything we did down. One day she informed me she was ready for a new sight word. Well, that was great, but her kid wasn't ready ;).
     
  15. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2020

    Things are going okay so far. We are 100% distance learning for now, and my attendance has been > 90%. The first HW assignment was running at about 85%, but the same class that made it so I had to turn off annotations on Zoom, also only had 65% HW completion.

    I thought drawing body parts was a middle school thing, but some 10th graders still think it is extremely funny. Wish me luck with my 5th period, we are off to a rocky start.
     
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  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2020

    We haven’t started yet, but we did just get our schedule last week. Although kids will have far less screen time, teachers will be stuck at a computer for 7.25 hours with only one 35 minute break every day. I just don’t feel like that’s healthy. I’ve ordered blue light glasses and an adjustable height table to improve what I can. Fingers crossed that other short breaks are able to naturally occur between lessons.
     
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  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 23, 2020

    Oh, no. That is not okay. Teachers here are only doing a total 4 hours of live teaching per day. The rest of the time includes office hours, lunch, and breaks.

    We have found that office hours are VERY necessary!
     
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  18. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    We have 35 min for lunch, which is duty free and, therefore, screen free. We also get one hour for collaborative planning and two 15 min sessions for checking in with other staff. But since we can’t meet with other staff in person, even the planning and checkins will require us to be on a screen. Aside from that, we’re on screen with students the rest of the time.

    I had hoped our admin would see the need to make an exception to our usual work hours, possibly giving us a full hour for lunch so that we could step away from the screen and move (go for a walk or something). But we would told that we have to stick to our contracted times and be teaching live as much as we would be in an in-person setting. So my hopes now are that my team won’t want to plan collaboratively every day and also that student lessons will end a little earlier than they’re scheduled to end so that I will get a few short breaks here and there.
     
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  19. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Woah! That is totally uncool!
     
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  20. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2020

    I am on week 3.

    I have 100% participation in Zoom calls (individual, small group, and full class). Around 80% completion of online classwork (I have to stay on certain students to get the work done... but we can do some of it during our one-on-one calls).

    I have found a ton of PD on Google Classroom which I am exploring on my own time. I am actually enjoying coming up with Google Slide assignments that students can manipulate based on the material I already have been using.... it takes a bit more work than just printing copies, but I have found some ways to cheat the system here and there.

    I still prefer in person learning, but I can work with this for now.
     
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  21. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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  22. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    What type of school do you work in?
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I started today. I did three Meet groups and a lot of emailing parents and kids. It wasn’t bad, just different. The hardest part was teaching technology to kids who haven’t used it. Last year we had plenty of time to train the kids with the technology before we left in March. This time, not so much.

    It was also weird because everyone (teachers) were working from the building, but I’m working from the hospice center. I felt kind of out of the loop although they did FaceTime me when needed.
     
  24. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    Charter School for Students with IEPS
     
  25. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    This is unbelievably awesome! I love it.
     
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  26. renrupa2u

    renrupa2u Rookie

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    Aug 29, 2020

    I moved across the country and got a job in California, where my husband was accepted to get his phd. So I started this new year teaching art online, at a brand new school with brand new students......weirdness aside from it being so different than teaching in person, I LOVE my school and my students. I was so worried about meeting my students online only for the first time..how awkward that would be, how I'm not very techy so I would mess up a lot, etc. But the students are so understanding, as are the administrators and my new coworkers. And tech issues have definitely happened on the teacher side and the student side. I'm very stressed each day about making sure my students get a good art experience while online with my lack of technology knowledge/skills. But the students themselves are just the sweetest!
    ..This is a place that has a very bad reputation so I'm not sure if they will always be like this when we go back to in person or not. But they have made this weird situation so much better by just being amazing.
     
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  27. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Sep 2, 2020

    Well, I teach kindergarten. In a nutshelll...it sucks. We are doing such a huge disservice to younger elementary kids. I know that opinion is not popular on this forum, but that's how I see it. Kindergarteners cannot learn through a computer screen. It is unhealthy. It changes their brains during this crucial developmental time, especially when little Johnny is probably watching kids youtube or playing Roblox for the majority of the day anyway. At least they got away from that when they went to school.

    Kindergartners do not understand the difference between school and home right now because it is all intertwined together. They don't understand that they have to listen to a teacher on a computer screen. I have students this year that would do great in the classroom, but not at home because they won't listen to mom, or dad, or whoever is with them. Yes, I know, that's not my problem, but they are not getting getting even half of what they would get in a classroom.

    There is no sharing, there is no socializing. Sure, they can talk on Zoom, but seriously, that's a horrible comparison. They have to be on mute so I don't hear their family members or tv in the background. I am teaching them to unmute themselves when it is their turn to talk, but even that takes forever because they often forget how to unmute themselves. We have chrome books for our students. Chrome books suck with Zoom, so they're always glitchy or they freeze. I have students that live in rural areas and I had one students were I was frozen the whole time. He couldn't see a single thing I was doing. Even with a hotspot.
    These young ones need to learn through playing with manipulatives, through socializing, through problem solving, things they probably won't get at home.

    I have a nephew in TK...TK! He looks at a computer screen while his teacher talks to him. His district doesn't allow teachers to send home anything! Not even a pencil. How in the heck is that equitable education? So, the more affluent kids will have those supplies. But, the low socioeconomic families, or the parents who are too busy, I'm not betting that they are getting what they need. They need to draw, paint, color, learn how to hold a pencil, learn how to cut...

    I’m also a mom to an 8 year old and a 10 year old and let me tell ya, this puts working parents in a huge bind. But we can put them in daycare with...kids and an adult. That makes perfect sense.

    Yes, I'm negative right now. But, I am as chipper as can be on my Zooms. I would never let my students see me otherwise.

    I hope we can go back this year.

    Ok. Now you all can reply with how I'm not considering people's lives during these trying times.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  28. deannathomas

    deannathomas Rookie

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    minnie, I agree with you. It all stinks. I don't have a solution that works for everyone, but that doesn't change the fact that what we are doing now is horrible!
     
  29. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    We are approaching the end of our 5th week. I have 5 F2F and 13 online. Out of those 13 online have one who didn't bother to log in until the progress report came in with Big OLD 0's. I have another who says she has no internet but will have to talk to her husband about sending her to school and another who does work when she feels like it. The rest are very good about working. I am starting to encourage a return to school. (yes I know not a popular way of thinking right now) Our county has a low active cases and it's getting smaller. To top all of this online and COVID stuff we have a new principal who is VERY different from the last one. We have some VERY negative Nellie's working on our campus so that makes it not very enjoyable to be at work. I am enjoying the kids I have in class. The workload is very frustrating though. We are fortunate that we have lots of technology but that does work against sometimes. Everyone wants to try everything and they show us how to use it and it all becomes very overwhelming. (bitmoji classrooms) I gave that up almost from the beginning. I lost it in my drive after I had worked on it and I was like forget it. All in all I am feeling ok with virutal learning and teaching just wish it was back to "normal"
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm starting in a new district, so I am feeling especially frazzled. All in all, however, things are going more or less okay, at least from my perspective. Students haven't started yet. My outlook may change once they do, lol.

    Like others, our district has teachers online for most of the day. Students aren't expected to remain in Zoom calls all period, but the teacher is expected to be available during the entire period for all periods. I have downloaded a Chrome extension that reminds me to stand up and take a break every 28 minutes. I'm not a classroom teacher, but I will probably need to be available online for at least the first couple of weeks to assist families who want to drop in for support.

    Our district has purchased a canned curriculum that includes lessons, activities, assessments, etc. It is designed to be asynchronous. The biggest problem is that they are training us about best practices for combo sync/async online learning, like how to create modeling videos, how to design engaging lessons, how to incorporate breaks, etc. But we aren't designing the lessons, so...And some of the directives are that teachers need to fill up the whole 90-minute block with a variety of short activities, which leaves zero time for students to actually work within their online courses. There is a lot of confusion among teachers. I hope that part gets ironed out, otherwise I forsee a lot of checked out students and students who didn't have time to finish their courses by the end of the term.
     
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  31. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Sep 2, 2020

    I don't think ANY grade level can learn through a computer screen as well as they can in the actual classroom.
     
  32. akley

    akley New Member

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    Sep 2, 2020

    I am still trying to figure out deadlines for assignments for students. I teach science to high school students, and I see each class every other day. I'm wondering do I make each classwork assignment due that same day, every other day, or give the students more time to complete work? It would be difficult to check each student's work that same day. I haven't started instruction yet for the 2020-2021 school year.

    I understand it depends on length and ease of assignment too, but with the virtual teaching and students having questions, there could be a lot of back and forth questions and answers. What seems to work best with deadlines for everyone? Or maybe shorten length of a typically longer assignment?

    Are high school students getting overwhelmed by the amount of school work and learning remotely from home? I would appreciate any feedback!
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  33. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Sep 2, 2020

    That goes without saying!
     
  34. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Companion

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    Sep 3, 2020

    Certainly for kindergarten, screens are a bad idea. Through most of elementary school, screens are a bad idea. But at some point spending some time on screens is a good idea. Unless there is direct interaction with instructor or other students, screens are better. There should be a good deal of interaction going on through most of elementary school. Sitting silently in a classroom "listening" to a lecture is also a bad idea; almost as bad as screen time.

    I don't know when the transition comes, but as a student I will take a computer screen over a classroom every time. I'm old. My hearing is bad, and my eyes are worse. At times, my thoughts drift. Being up close to the "blackboard", sporting earphones, and replay button at the ready is ideal. Not all of those factors are restricted to us old folk. In comparison, expensive college classes with over a hundred students, few seats available for good viewing and virtually no interaction with the instructor, well, that's just a scam on the part of the college. The scaminess of that will become ever more clear through this crisis as colleges charge the same fees for badly produced online lectures as they have for overpopulated poorly presented live lectures. And in preparation, high school students need to get used to those online lectures on the screen.
     
  35. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2020

    I also see each class every other day. We are limited in that we are only allowed to give 20 min of homework. Now, we have them "in class" for an hour. We have to be immediately available to them during that hour but we don't have to be live on Google Meet that entire time. So we can give an assignment that takes longer than 20 min if we give them some of that hour to work on it also. That is typically what I do. Get on Google Meet for attendance, maybe some class or small group discussion and instructions. That may take let's say 30 min. Then the last 30 are independent work time where I could 1:1 Google Meet with a kid who is behind or even meet with a small group. They message me via Go Guardian or email with questions. Then whatever work isn't finished is homework, which is usually less than the 20 minute limit anyway.

    I make the assignment due the next day we meet. So if I assign it to my Monday classes, it's due on Thurs. when we meet next. So far, the students have said they are not getting too overwhelmed because our school is limiting the amount of HW we assign.
     
  36. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 7, 2020

    My school is (as I mentioned before) independent study already so the transition to distance learning wasn't that severe.
    We are able to Zoom with the kids or use any other video features (some teachers give the kids their cell phone numbers and they Facetime, not me), but we can also just call and talked to them, as long as we make one contact per week at a predetermined time.

    Now, as far as me, I am required to teach 4 Zoom classes a week, since I was teaching ELD before.
    Interestingly I am not very overwhelmed, although here is how the district handled everything:
    - brought in brand new online curriculum for which I had 2 weeks to get familiar with, mostly on my own time. It was really just one week, as they were slow giving me textbooks, etc, finally I gained access to the online platform last week
    - had no idea about anything specifically until I kept pushing and pushing and then we had a Zoom meeting with the ELD director and then I found out a lot of new things. ->Last Monday
    - last Wednesday I finally got some training on the online curriculum ad then they told me classes will star this Tuesday. Up until then I thought I had one more week
    - the kids were to be put in 4 different groups and be scheduled accordingly to their proficiency levels. They office started calling the students last Thursday to let them know about the class (mandatory) and to come pick up their Chromebooks. So they had Thursday ad Friday and possibly Tuesday morning to pick it up. No one thought about the fact that people are working and they can't just get off work before 4 pm.
    - I don't think they called everyone
    - I don't know if they really cared about the proficiency level since they probably didn't have enough time. They also said they would keep the kids appointment times close to their Zoom classes, so far that's not happening (it can't, it's not that easy, so why promise??)
    - they never told anything to any of the teachers. It was me who sent out a mass email about what I knew, and then with all this new information, still was nothing told them, until I brought it up in the meeting. Complete chaos still as it comes to communication and organization.

    Still, I actually feel up to the challenge and I now I will make it work. I still have to learn and navigate all the features of Zoom. I know what can be done and how to do it but also doing I t with students present is a different story. I think this year I have mastered the "don't stress about anything" attitude.
    There is another teacher in the same boat at one of our sister schools. She has very few kids (very small school), and she feels very overwhelmed. She has thought longer than me but I don't think she taught classes for a long time (only independent study). By her words, she's "freaking out" and is looking to me for guidance, which makes me feel like I need to do a good job even more. So I gave her al the codes for my Zoom classes and told her she could sit I n anytime she wants (which is what she asked to do just once)

    I think it will be fine, this week I will teach 3 classes, I'll let you know how it went :)
     
  37. Kalvis

    Kalvis New Member

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    Sep 7, 2020

    How do you review the student's work, any tips?
     

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