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March 9, 2021

Distance Learning Schedule

We've gotten into a routine with our day.  Our elementary schedule is 8:15-11:45 four days a week. Wednesday is still 120 minutes, at least for right now. 

I had gone back and forth with how to break up the 3.5 hours per day. We had gotten into a routine in the fall when we were at 120 minutes five days a week. I wanted to make sure we covered each subject so we were constantly moving forward. 

8:15-8:30 Morning Question
8:30-9:00 Read Aloud Novel
9:00-9:30 Science
9:30-10:00 Math
10:00-10:15 Recess 
10:15-10:40ish go over Math Independent work and an ELA Mini Lesson
10:40-11:10 SS
11:10-11:30 PE
11:30-11:45 Reminders, Silent Reading for 10 minutes, then class game for the last 3 minutes. 

So how am I doing this for distance learning?

Morning Questions- it’s kind of turned into a set thing.
Monday- something fun you did over the weekend?
Tuesday- a different kind of question each day
Wednesday- I ask the class what do they wonder about their classmates and that becomes our question
Thursday - What are you feeling thankful for?
Friday- Reflection questions - What did you learn this week? What are you proud of? What is a goal for next week? 

Novels- so far this year we have read Frindle, Wonder, Blood on the River, Long Walk to Water, Hatchet, Tuck Everlasting, and Woods Runner. We are starting Holes next. In each novel we do activities each day to review Setting, Character, Action, and Theme. Then we do some comprehension questions. In a normal year I have copies for each student to follow along in the classroom. This year I post a picture of the novel about a week ahead of starting and let the parents know in case they want to order a copy for their student. Quite a few kids always have a book. If not they can just listen and visualize the story. 

Science- Science has been interesting this year. We usually use Mystery Science (district account), Crash Course Kids (youtube), and this year we have added Generation Genius as well. Also a district account. We have district NGSS units that we use. It’s usually a lot of hands on activities, and this year it’s been adding in a lot more website based learning. For our district design challenges so far the kids have created their own pancakes at home for the physical science unit, and used Scratch to create and animate a disruption to an ecosystem for life science. This earth science unit will have them using materials to design and create a water filtration device to show how to protect resources. Last year when the world shut down we weren't able to get to our Space Science unit.  I'm actually excited to be able to work through it with the kids this year.

Math - I think this subject has thrown me for the most loops this year. Learning to teach without all the gadgets and gizmos that I’ve grown accustomed to. We use our math text book. We get through the examples, modeling, guided practice and independent practice as a class. I couldn't get a document camera to work, so I'm doing it old school with one of my whiteboard clipboards.  I write the problem, flip it to the camera and work through it with the kids. It's super simple, but once more it's what I'm used to.  I'm used to writing on the big board. Then I start breakout groups in the minutes before recess so students can work with small groups to compete the “homework” portion of their lesson. Its not their real homework as of this point. If students need more of my help they come back to the main meeting so I can help them. If no one comes back, then I pop through the different breakout rooms to check in. After that we have recess, and when we come back we take a moment to go through the answers together. Once a week I give them a review page of the different lessons that we had covered that week and they do that for a grade. 

Recess- during recess I have my camera and mic turned off, but I allow students to stay online and they can chat with each other about random topics. I have had to pop my camera on a couple of times when certain kids get a little too comfortable and say something inappropriate... then it's a matter of - "So and so, can you please join me in your private channel?" Where I start a meeting and we have a little discussion... But it's mainly a bunch of kids being kids and talking about TV shows and video games and what their cat is doing.  So many pets... :) 

After recess- we go over the independent math work, then we have an ELA mini lesson that usually relates to our main writing or reading standards. We just started our opinion unit... so a lot of learning to write Oreo essays and opinion type stuff. 

SS- this is the first year we’ve had a SS book. So we’ve used it quite a bit. We still use our articles as well for extra information and for group activities. I'm so glad it's still the normal units that I'm used to. Native Americans, Explorers, Colonies, American Revolution, then Government, and Westward Expansion.  I've been trying to incorporate our "normal" projects into a virtual style.  I want them to still have that experience.

Pe- every day my students have Pe. It’s my prep. They leave and then come back panting and out of breath. I hear all about the fun videos that the team has found for them. Dance, yoga, workouts... those kids are moving and grooving! 

Reminders - during Pe I add visual reminders to our class chat. Once our meeting is over the kids can still see the conversation, and I want the reminders to be the last thing they see when our day is over. 

Silent Reading- it’s not very long, maybe 8-10 minutes, but it is so rewarding glancing up from my own book to see them all enjoying their own books. I love having that time together.  Reading really book ends our day.  

Class Game- we tend to go through the same games every week. Sometimes Scavenger Hunts, sometimes True/False, sometimes Would you Rather, but a lot of times it’s I Like my Neighbor Who. I shared about them over here on this post

In the afternoons I meet with my students in private meetings via TEAMS, we talk books, do some math intervention, and just catch up with their lives. I think these private meetings have been the most helpful thing (other than their private channels) to build relationships with the kids.  That was what I was most nervous about this year. How would I get to know them individually? But I think these kids I probably now know better at a personal level than the groups the last 20 years because we have had that alone time without everyone. So that has been a win this year.  

On Wednesday afternoon I also do a Class Chat on our main channel. Kids that want to pop on and talk with their classmates. A lot of silliness happens during that half hour. It started the week before Christmas break, when I took a week off of conferences.  I had a Class Chat every day, kids would pop on and we would do art projects together.  The kids asked for it to continue.  I don't do art projects unless they ask, but we meet once a week.  It's just a matter of me starting a meeting and they do their thing.  Optional.  

Well, that’s my schedule. It'll be similar when the kids head back in a couple of weeks.  How does yours look? 

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