Well, one of my first take aways from this whole distant learning “thing” that I have found myself in the center of is that kids really just want to be kids! Hahaha. Their personalities and wish to just be together and chat doesn’t change at all just because they are far away. The initial start to our virtual day begins the same as the start to our regular day. Some of the class is quiet and does what they should be doing, some of them are scooting around “entertaining” others, and some of them are avoiding what they should be doing.
My colleagues and I have set up a document intended for questions and comments each day. We attach it to a new Assignment in Google Classroom. This way we can greet the children and give them an outline for the day and provide them a place to respond. Today is only the second day we are using it and I’m seeing the places we need to give more attention to. Namely, it’s still my kids out there, the same kids, and they need lots of layers of instruction from me. So I can see that lots of tweaking is needed!
This morning, for example, I was able to watch the class activity on this document. A couple of my more advanced techie types had managed to “write” me a message that also had images. They somehow typed out words and “pictures”, sort of pixelated looking pictures using punctuation. Very cute and clever, but not the venue for it. So I put a message at the top requesting no one change font or colors or anything. They put their boxes back to normal and I thanked them.
A couple of the kids were using the space to chat. I reminded them that they should use the doc for questions and comments. I needed this space used almost like morning meeting, not for private conversations. Then there were the kids who were popping up all over the doc. I could see their cursor going all over the place. Just like those kids in the classroom who pop all over the place instead of doing what they are supposed to do. As a matter of fact, it was exactly these two children! I wrote a message at the top to them, “Stop popping up and down the boxes and go get you classwork started please.” And they did!
So as each day comes and goes, my colleagues and I will get better at this. At addressing the new learnings we need to provide and keeping our children focused on what we deem important. But no one can still their voices, even from a distance they will find each other. They will continue to act according to their personality. They will create community amongst their distant friends. Isn’t it great!