We've been updating our science process resources. Check out our page on Science Process. We have two great video clips that will make your first science lesson a hit. Walking through a sheet of paper and the story of Alexander Flemming. Click here for Teaching Science Lesson 1
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.
As we journey into 2020, I am reflecting on the HyFlex teaching model. In higher ed, this concept is presented as a choice to a student. In our school district and many in our region, parents and students are choosing face to face or online instruction. With that in mind, here are some advantages of the HyFlex model.
After making it through this spring with COVID-19 many teachers are asking whats next. Unfortunately there is no clear answer other than we know things are changing. Every state, city and municipality has different factors influencing decisions about fall 2020. How do we as educators deal with these changing factors when much of it is out of our hands? Looking at the behaviors of colleges and universities will provide insights into what will happen in schools. After all, when many major universities began shutting down in the spring, this set the bar for everyone else. In light of all this, I would urge you to begin reading about the concept of a "Hy Flex" classroom. This instructional model has many of the elements of flipped and blended learning. The idea is a classroom can quickly convert from face to face to online instruction. In some instances a student would have the option to choose which method they want (Not sure what teacher on the planet Earth has time to plan for this one). This concept makes me wonder if schools will adopt a more proactive shutdown approach to illness. We have all been in classroom when the flu hits and half the kids are gone. Will this model be used as a method of flexible instruction if schools shutdown again? Only time will tell. Here's a few links to better understand this trend and what may be coming to your classroom.
Inside Higher Ed: Hy Flex Courses
Educause: 7 Things you should know about the high flex classroom.
Hybrid Flexible Course Design
Plants are a great topic for middle school. I am always looking or ways to review the various groups of plants after each instruction unit. Check out this 2 minute video doodle. Its perfect to help your students review everything they have learned about this important kingdom of life. If you need more resources, check out ourPlants for Middle School series.
If you are using Canvas, rubrics are a great time saver. The following tech tip explains how to reuse rubrics in Canvas to make grading more efficient.
Recently I have been working on some Doodle Videos to help my students better understand plants. This one is geared for middle school students learning the complex fern life cycle. If you are interested in the accompanying resources, please check out my Seedless Vascular Plant Lesson for Middle School
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