Zoom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by NewTeacher12345, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. NewTeacher12345

    NewTeacher12345 Rookie

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    Hi everyone, I have a zoom question for you all. What do you think is the appropriate amount of Zoom calls to have with first graders? I am currently doing it once a week on top of all of the lessons/activities that are posted for them. Our district has no requirements in this area so its up to us. Here are some factors.
    1. I have 17 kids in my class
    2. The area is very low SES
    3. Most kids had to be given devices for remote learning from the school
    4. I have about 8 kids who come on every week to zoom

    I am thinking that If i start adding more zooms, parents will become uninterested/lazy and not want to put their kids on. I definitely can't see the number 8 going up if I add another zoom during the week. Just looking for some opinions based on the factors I have to take into consideration. Thanks!
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    If you're doing everything you're supposed then I wouldn't add to it. Once a week for students who are only sometimes participating seems plenty.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It sounds like you have thought things over and 1 a week sounds appropriate. I think either one or two Zooms a week in general are fine whichever you decide. You know the students and parents the best.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I also teach first grade and have no specific requirements for video conferencing. I'm offering individual sign-ups and asking that parents only sign their child up for one per week, unless determined to be necessary. I only have one parent who signs her child up every week. I may get one other sign up each week, but I usually don't. I am not offering any whole class or small group conferences. It's just not my thing, and it's not required. I did create means for parents to get in touch with each other so that they can connect their children, if they'd like to, but I'm not going to facilitate those meetings.
     
  6. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I am doing zero with my kindergartners.

    We have low SES, many non-English-speaking families, and many other challenges in our large, urban district.

    While I would enjoy seeing their faces and interacting with them, I have issues with lack of equity and privacy concerns involved with live video calls. I also believe that asynchronous learning is more appropriate for this time with this age group. And having to be online at a specific time adds stress to many of our parents' lives.

    Please understand I'm not criticizing those who do it. I have just chosen not to for the reasons I listed above.
     
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  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Any type of video conferencing is no longer allowed in my district.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We are not supposed to be doing any synchronous activities and have been strongly discouraged from posting any video that shows our face.
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    What!:hushed:
     
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  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Again,
    What! :hushed:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    If I was still teaching first grade, I would be trying to Zoom sessions with parents as much, if not more, than kids.
     
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  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I know that, particularly in low SES schools, there are issues with doing video-chats. No matter how you do it, and even if you have provided the technology for all the kids, if you video chat, you will see some of the background -- and there are many kids who attend school who are extremely low income, and they don't want or need others to know what their home-life is like.

    Do they really want the rest of the class to know that they live in a run-down motel room at the edge of town, all 6 kids, Mom and boyfriend, all together in one room, sharing two beds? Even if they do an extreme close-up, and mostly keep the mute on, at some point they are going to speak, and you might hear all the noise, and swearing, and nastiness that may be going on in their life.

    There's a lot people don't want others to see. so maybe they could block the video and just listen to the audio, and mute their mic so no one can hear the background noise -- but are they then receiving the same quality of education as the others?

    I'm not downing anyone who is doing video-chat -- I'm just saying, there are two sides to this. I do understand why many districts are now saying to their teachers, don't hold video classes. It's a shame, for all the kids, but I do understand why.
     
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  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You hit the nail on the head! Thank you, RainStorm!
     
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  14. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Exactly. That's part of what I was alluding to with privacy issues but didn't expound upon.
     
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  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Initially, when I heard about Zoom, I thought it sounded great. However, once I learned about all the privacy and security issues, I thought twice about it. Then, my district put the kibosh on it, so it was no longer an option for us.
     
  16. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    My Zoom classes are pretty locked down. No video from students, and they are mostly muted. I teach high school and I am basically delivering lectures. Also, no one can enter the room unless they are using a district-supplied email address. Attendance has been pretty good, and most students are completing assigned work. I hate teaching this way, but I am trying to make it work.
     
  17. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Our district paid for a more secured version. I am shocked by the responses above because we have to have contact daily almost ( 4 out of 5 days is the least). Maybe that is why my experience w/ this at home learning started out so exhausting.
     
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  18. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm in a low SES district. Every class is required to hold a live 30 minute "community circle" via zoom every morning (and as a specialist, I have to choose a class to attend each morning). We had 1:1 devices, so that's not an issue, and hotspots were provided for those without wifi. Attendance at these is very close to 100%.

    All teachers are also required to have an "office hour" where you're in a zoom and parents/students can come in and ask questions in real time. To date, 0 people have attended my office hour, as is the case with most of my colleagues. I make sure the "play enter/exit chime" is on and I have the waiting room enabled, and every day during my office hour I just log in to zoom and then get other work done on my computer.

    Other than that, "live" teaching via zoom is not required. My sped department kept pushing us to do it for services, but technically they couldn't require it. I felt it was pretty useless because I can't guarantee that everyone in the group I need to see can all log on at 10 AM or whatever time I set. We were also told recording groups was not allowed, so if a kid missed it, they wouldn't get any services that day. I also feel that with having to mute everyone most of the time in order to get anything done, that takes away the benefit of it being "live" and being able to give feedback in real time.

    Some of my teammates felt differently and have been trying to do all of their services that way, and they are having only about 1/3 of the kids actually show up. I guess that's better than 0, but that's also a whole lot of time sitting at your computer waiting for kids to show. My SLP teammate was the smartest about it- she sends out a sign up genius every week for parents to sign their child up for one 15 minute session that week if they want. That way she's not chasing people down to schedule, and if parents really don't want to do it she's not sitting there waiting on people who have no intention of showing. For me, 15 minutes per week wouldn't even put a dent in my service minutes so I don't feel like I can run things that way.

    This week the after school tutoring program I used to work in pre-Covid moved online. We're doing 15 minute 1:1 sessions back to back. I wanted to get as many students as I could because I'm super worried about money next year with budget cuts. I offered it to my entire caseload (25 kids) and only 3 families agreed to do it :(. It's going great for those 3 and it's been a huge mood booster for me to actually get to do some "real" teaching, but with that low of a participation rate that obviously doesn't imply it's a good strategy for the school day moving forward.
     
  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Some good points. The great thing though with Zoom is that there is a solution to that problem. :) There is a feature called Virtual background where the student can replace it with any picture. I have a student who is living extreme poverty and wouldn't want anyone to see her overcrowded apartment (if you can call it that). She shows up in our Zoom chats looking like she is on a beach in Hawaii. Instead of banning things so quickly, I wish districts would look a bit harder for solutions to the problems that they encounter.
     
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  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I take it a step further. Kids do not have to show their faces during my Zoom meetings and they can mute themselves and respond via chat. To make sure that they are all at least somewhat engaged, I will periodically ask them to raise their virtual hand in Zoom so I know they are still present.
     
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  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    You can only use that feature if you have up-to-date tech. Many might have that, but not all will. Neither my own personal computer nor my district-supplied computer have the right tech to be able to use the virtual background, unfortunately.
     
  22. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Thanks for letting me know this. I do know that I had to adjust my display settings to get virtual background to work. Most of my students didn't have to do this on their devices. I didn't realize that some older devices might not be able to do this. I know that the girl who doesn't have access to a computer is using Virtual background using a SMART phone. I am not sure of how new it is. I'll have to look more into this to see how it might effect some students. Thanks for the helpful information.
     
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  23. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Once a week sounds fine to me.
     
  24. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Right. The virtual Zoom backgrounds do not work on my district laptop or the district Chromebooks many of our students use.

    I tried to install Snap Cam to use instead but had forgotten I don't have admin rights to install anything on the computer so that isn't an option, either.
     
  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm doing my first one tomorrow. Not required, but... peer pressure? All the other teachers are doing it? Is that a reason? It's going to be completely for social reasons.

    My own first grader had her first meeting today with her class. Her teacher flat-out warned everyone it was her first time, but I think she handled it quite well. I was just doing dishes, but I heard enough to get some ideas of how to lead. I think her teacher is going to play it by ear and do one a week at a time, and that seems a nice amount.

    I mean, even the most academic of parents are burning out. I barely got my girl to finish her online work today, mostly she and her sister played out in the backyard and my thoughts were "ah, the great classroom of a sunny spring day!" I don't think anyone wants to meet too frequently.
     
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  26. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I can't figure out how to get a virtual background on my phone. It's not too big of a deal because I'm only using it for recreational purposes outside of school but it would be fun to have!
    Some lady at work had a beach background and I was getting annoyed with her and had to remind myself she wasn't actually at the beach so I had no reason to be jealous LOOLOL
     
  27. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I haven’t heard much about burnout from my students. They’re mostly getting the work done and are happy to show up to our meetings. I don’t really do lessons so much as check-ins though. I explain the assignments quickly, ask if there are any questions - there usually aren’t, and then give them a chance to share and tell them to have a great day. It lasts maybe 10 minutes and we do it a few times a week.

    I’d love to have students learn at home in other ways and think the value of a “sunny spring day” is huge! If we could count on kids doing creative things, art, playing outside, reading, learning to cook or do household tasks like laundry (yes, I consider that valuable learning haha), then I’d be all for school letting out. I have doubts that much of that would happen though in many families. When I ask my students how their weekends were, most say they played video games and watched a lot of tv. So I don’t feel bad for them that school is still in session. Truthfully, I think it gives us all some structure to our days.

    I’d hate having long, drawn out lessons on video though, both from a teacher perspective and a student perspective. Our hour long online staff meetings are hard.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  28. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I think it depends on the age of the students and demographics of an area. Students in K-2 (and their families) are probably less likely to be interested in the online video conferences. It's just not something that the parents can have them do independently in the same way that a third grader and up can likely do. The same is true for the lessons and work that they are doing. Although we have lessons and work posted for all grades, our K-2 students are not expected to turn much in, whereas third and up are expected to complete their assignments and submit them on a regular basis. Of course, demographics matter, too. I'm in a diverse area where we have a lot of involved families that are surely making good use of this time together. We also have a few families where the children are probably doing nothing more than tv and video games.
     
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  29. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I’m sure that’s very true. My upper elementary students needed help at first but hopefully most are fairly self sufficient now. It would be challenging to help a first grader learn to complete and submit google classroom assignments. Plus, young students may not be able to independently track due dates, meeting times, and read directions on their own. That would be hard! I feel for those parents of young kids.
     
  30. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Our K-1 teachers don’t use Google Classroom. They use an app called Seesaw (our lower grade students are 1:1 iPads). From what I’ve seen, it’s great.

    As of today, all K-1 student have an iPad in their hands. Only 4 parents hadn’t picked up their child’s device (we gave them countless opportunities), so I delivered those last 4 to the homes this AM).
     
  31. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    We aren't allowed to use Seesaw in my district, unfortunately. We don't even use Google Classroom. We use a different learning management system that no one has ever heard of, and we use it K-12. I'm sure it works fine for middle and high school, but it's a huge challenge for elementary. We have repeatedly asked for permission to use Seesaw (even in normal times), but we have been denied every time. The people in charge have a background in secondary, so they don't why we can't just go along with what they want us to do.
     
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  32. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    It’s hard when administrators/higher ups have only HS experience but make decisions for all. As an elementary teacher, I’ve worked under a number of administrators who were HS teachers and have absolutely no idea what little kids can/should/like to do. Most of our district higher ups only have HS experience too. I wonder if that’s normal elsewhere.

    Is there a certain reason your district is against Seesaw?
     
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  33. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    The reason is that "[the learning management system we chose and spent a lot of money on :roll:] can do all those things!" True, sort of... but it's way more complicated than Seesaw, and it isn't at all intuitive or user-friendly for little kids.
     
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  34. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    When one of my teachers walked me through Seesaw, it was love at first sight. It's amazing. One thing I'm thankful for is that our Director of Curriculum is a former elementary teacher and principal, so she "gets" it.
    I really like Google Classroom for our upper grades. Seems to be working well.
    We're a K-8 district, so I have no clue what the high schools are doing.
     
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  35. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Here's something that goes along with what we are talking about. The district I left in NC, they are using zoom, and one of the parents took a screen shot of all the students in the zoom classroom, (you know, it looks like a Brady Bunch picture) and put posted it to the school's facebook page. I realize she was just proud and wanted to share what they are doing. But here's what I noticed - half the kids used their real first and LAST names on zoom, and they were printed right below the their picture! Two of those kids have really unique last names, and it would take about 5 seconds to find their parent's Facebook page, their home addresses, and all kinds of person information --- so anybody seeing that now knows the child's full name, the name of the school he attends and the grade he's in, and with a little bit of effort, his complete home address and where his parents work.

    It's all "harmless" -- until it isn't...
     
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  36. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I noticed a Facebook friend and former teacher do the same thing with her own child’s class. She posted a screenshot of it to her feed. I just kept on scrolling, but instantly thought, what a privacy violation!
     
  37. RaiderFan87

    RaiderFan87 Rookie

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    My district says no synchronous video communication is allowed.

    As much as I’d like to see my kids, I understand why they don’t want us to “go there”.
     
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  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is the strong recommendation from my union as well. My school board started with saying only asynchronous, but is now offering us the choice. I'm sticking with my union's thinking on this one, as least for now.
     
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  39. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    My students have been surprisingly responsible with our video chats. The worst I’ve had happen is funny face or two and a as stuffed animal being put in front of the screen, and that was in the first couple weeks. It is weird, though, knowing that anyone can be listening in or recording in the household. There have been as few times when I’ve heard parents yelling in the background, but thankfully nothing major, more like “I’ve told you three times to do X, how many more times...” I can easily see how mistakes could happen with someone walking in not fully clothed or just out of the shower, or swear words being yelled, by family members unaware that video chat is happening.
     
  40. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    My cousin just sent me a ton of pics of her kid on Zoom! Oh, I hope my pics aren't flying all over the US! I do remember to brush my hair before zooming, but not much else! :)
     
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  41. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    My sister sent me a pic of my nephew and his classmates on Zoom. I was amazed at the number of students who participated. It’s a really high performing district, though.

    I told her to not post that pic on social media, though. Lots of parents are doing that.
     
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