Many teachers are facing a classroom landscape like no other. Hybrid schedules with half of your students one day, half your students another day then a portion of class completely online. This component of the COVID classroom makes planning extremely difficult unless you take a divide and conquer approach. In this post we will look at one some tips to deal with massive amount of plate spinning (multitasking) middle school teachers will need to do this fall.
Assignments, materials and activities must be equivalent in online and classroom use; they must be the same quality and same level of difficulty. Navigating the challenges of teaching to both in-person and online students, while also creating rich interactive learning experiences for students participating in the course asynchronously, is hard.
How do I deal with life and maintain some semblance of a life (Self care, call it what you will!)? The first step is extremely important.
Plan 100% of your course online. Every piece of graded work needs to be digital. This ensures that your online students and face to face students will always get similar materials. It also helps your streamline your workload so you aren't making three different assignments everyday (In class, online and flex students).
Be specific and over explain directions. The biggest challenge to kids working at home on a flex schedule is directions. They don't have extra teacher input, that means assignment prompts need to be well written and clear. Additionally, use video when ever possible. If you want them to describe a tree in the backyard, be sure to include examples and specific details you would expect in their written responses.
Reduce complexity. Build in success to help them gain skills as they begin to work through course materials. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That means if you scare them away on day one, you'll have a hard time connecting through the school year.
Begin to think value added. What extra teacher driven activities, discussions or media will I use for those kids that will be in my class. These activities should support the curriculum you are teaching and easily explained online with a video or brief picture.
Best wishes as we work through the challenges of this ever changing classroom. Wishing you and your students well this fall.
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