Distance Learning Week 2 (mostly in videos)

As we wrap up another week of 'distance learning', here's how it's going:

  • I'm loving getting to give more, and more focused feedback to the students doing work
  • I'm sad about the students not participating (this work cannot negatively affect their grades for the semester)- I hope they are all doing okay (physically and emotionally)
  • I am not okay with all the talk about if we go back to school in the fall- it's scary to think about, so I'm irrationally practicing avoidance.
Here's what I've been doing:
Download Link
Did a Zoom call with some of the staff to talk about Kami (and made a video walkthrough per request). I will be 100% honest here and say that I did not really think of Kami being a 'game-changer', as it was described to me- but it really caused me to stop and think about how different teachers and staff are all in such different places as it relates to technology use in the classroom. Would really love a position where I could help bring everyone on one campus closer together on a technology level!

Most stressful part of all this is trying to prepare my AP CSA students for a modified AP Exam (taken from home!) that everyone's still so unsure about. Here's what I've been trying on that front:


Doodle Notes for FRQ's along with accompanying video walkthroughs. They seemed to go over pretty well, so I'm working on making more of them this week.  And that's about all I've got for this week in distance learning adventures, see you again next week!

Distance Learning: Week One, Update and Thoughts (in mostly pictures)

I snapped this picture before I left my classroom last week. As we're moving this summer, and I won't be at the same school in the fall, it's really sinking in that, after five years, I taught my last day here without ever knowing it.

I'm still going to paint that mural on the wall before I leave!
Here's what the week looked like for my own children:

Minus the high schooler, who works out in the morning
I've tried very hard to keep this front of mind:

"Distance Learning" will look differently for individual students, families, teachers and districts.
I've also collected some thoughts (and opinions), mostly from Instagram:

We were required to make paper versions of 5 weeks of lessons, and have them available as a single packet, that students without internet could pick up at the school. We're supposed to be getting a list of which students got packets, but we don't have that yet. It was hard for me to re-plan 5 weeks of un-plugged content for the 4 classes I teach. (That's 20 weeks of curriculum I would normally teach in a computer lab, and I had 8 days to do it.) Oh, and two of those classes are AP, but each is ending the semester differently (portfolio submission vs. shortened FRQ exam). 

I used Canva to make each class a single cover page for their packets, with each assignment, sorted by week. Here's what that looked like for one of my classes, Computer Science I:

Originally we weren't told a number of assignments per week (I started with 3), then we were told 2 (so I adjusted), then that was changed and we were told one grade per week (so now the two assignments will each make up just a single grade)
For the first week, I really focused on trying to set the students up for success for this modified learning process. I recorded video lessons for them on time management and creating a schedule. I made and shared a schedule of my own, too:
This printable is from daydesigner.com
For their assignments, they each made their own daily/weekly schedules and also created a To Do/Bucket List for their extended spring/summer break (which will end up being 153 days long). I should also note that the guidance from our State Department of Education was that:

"the extenuating circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may inhibit access to appropriate remediation resources and to new distance learning instructional methods. Therefore, student grades prior to the beginning of required distance instruction must not be negatively impacted."  

In effect, everyone's grades are frozen as of Spring Break, and they may use this work to raise their grade, but not doing the work cannot lower their grade. Currently my freshman Computer Applications class (who had this same first week assignment) is participating at 85%, and my sophomore Computer Science I classes are participating at 34%.

AP is an entirely different story. I did separate live Google Meet calls with both my CSP and CSA classes, and of course I made presentations with memes!

Who doesn't?
For CSA, we're mainly stuck in a holding pattern, waiting on revised practice FRQ questions which College Board says are coming this next week. I'm working on creating review videos for these students this weekend, too.

For CSP, I held two days of office hours and tried to individually conference with all 40 of my students, giving them feedback on their practice Create Tasks and getting them all to commit to dates for their final portfolio submissions (more specifically, a date that was not the actual due date, May 26th, but sometime sooner). I still have 12 to connect with next week.

Here's what went well this week:
  • Getting to see student faces and hear them on Google Meet calls
  • Seeing the time they put into crafting their schedules and getting to give them immediate, individualized feedback via Google Classroom
  • Getting some better clarification on AP exam changes
  • Being able to help teachers and students with technical issues pretty quickly and efficiently

Here's what could be better:
  • I still have AP students that should be participating and aren't, so I have to get in touch with them ASAP or try and contact their parents
  • I wish more of my non-AP sophomores were participating
  • Still having unanswered questions about AP changes (there's another webinar next Tuesday, so hopefully that clears everything up)
  • Wishing that calls for IT help were more specific/included more details/screenshots are even better to more easily help people with issues as they arise
That about sums up my first week of distance learning! Hope it's helpful to someone out there.

Why It's Important To Confirm Things Before You Post Them

Seen this?
Here's the original source, labeled as parody
During this period of 'social distancing' where many people are spending (even more) time online, it's more important than ever that we not intentionally spread things that are not true online. I saw this 'letter' posted at least a dozen times this week. Reassuringly, most times that it was posted, someone else also posted the fact that it's not real. Un-reassuringly, I've also seen people comment that it didn't really matter that it wasn't true, because it was funny.

This is very frustrating for a number of reasons:

1. First, it's not even that funny. Alcoholism isn't funny.

2. (the nerd in me wants to say) This is nothing like Fitzgerald, this is a stereotypically bad representation of the lost generation authors.

3. Most importantly, everyone has an obligation NOT to repost and spread things during these crazy and uncertain times, even seemingly unimportant things. We should be modeling for our students being good digital citizens.

[Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk]

And then I made an app...

Download link (works best on your phone)

I turned my bingo game from yesterday into an app today. It makes suggestions for things you can do while quarantined:

I'd say it's because I'm bored, but that's not entirely true, mainly I want to 'encourage' my CS students at home to spend some of their time off coding (especially my AP CSP kiddos, who still have College Board portfolios to finish!).  I saw a toilet paper calculator website, so I think JD and I are going to sit down and make an app version of that tonight... stay tuned!

Online Resources (Not Curriculum) During Quarantine

I am not going to post a list of learning resources meant to any way substitute for classroom instruction, because honestly, it's just not that simple. But here are some things that I have seen shared over the past 48 hours or so that honestly, just look really cool and seem like they would be really interesting to explore. I think that in the absence of direct instruction from a teacher, you should let children  follow paths that interest them, not force them to follow a prescribed curriculum!

Social Distancing Bingo

I saw someone doing this on Instagram, so I felt compelled to make my own (my husband would phrase that as 'I felt compelled to make my own less fun version', but whatever...) You can get your own copy by clicking below (it's a PDF, and each square has a clickable link). 
Download Link
We are not allowed to assign work to our students during this "break", so I am sharing this with them merely as a suggestion for things that they can do while we're not having class. 

COVID-19, Google Classroom & Distance Learning

It is officially Spring Break here, so planned time off from school. There has been no announcement that the break will be extended, but that's certainly what many are anticipating may happen. Before the break began, I spent Friday teaching crash course style Google Classroom workshops to teachers at both the high school and middle school. 

I've taught workshops on Google Classroom before, but those were more along the lines of "this is a fantastic tool you should consider intergrating into your classroom." Here is my presentation, if it's helpful. This was more "checking the box" to the highlighted statement:

Now that I'm home (maybe for just a week, maybe for much longer), I am happy to see a few things happening:

1. There's lots of pushback against simply "putting school online." It's not that easy. Our students don't all have computers, or access to reliable internet (and our public library system just closed hours ago). Learning online is different than in-person instruction, and it can't simply be converted over with a day's notice. I'm grateful for the conversations going on around distance learning and what can and (more importantly) cannot be expected.

2. There are so many educational providers stepping up and providing services free of charge (at least temporarily). There are also individual teachers putting resources they've created themselves online for others to use. This brings to light the need to have a robust and varied online PLN, to be made aware of some of these offers.

3. Administrators, educators, parents and students working together in an hour by hour changing landscape.

I have no idea what the coming weeks will bring, but I am choosing to focus here on what positive things I can:

-every teacher I trained Friday was open, receptive and excited about learning new technologies

-nobody seems rushed to insist we "switch" to online learning without careful considerations

-as educators, we're getting access to many online providers tools and resources that we might not have otherwise been exposed to

Besides that, there's not much else to do, but stay put and ride out this storm as best we can- see you on the other side.

Happy 2020! Last year's blog count was a pitiful six :( The goal for this year is 2 blog posts per month, so 24 for the year. It's already been a busy start to the year. Last week, we had a visit from Department of Education Secretary Frank Brogan, and this week we received a 2019 AP CSP Female Diversity Award: 

We were one of only 4 schools in Oklahoma to be recognized for AP CSP. The criteria are as follows:

Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either 50% or higher female representation in either or both of the AP computer science courses, or the percentage of female computer science examinees meets or exceeds that of the school’s female population. Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 achieved this important result during the 2018-2019 school year--nearly 20% more than the 685 schools recognized last year. In 2019, Blanchard High School was one of 639 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles. An additional 36 schools received the award for both CSP and CSA.

This award is for last year's class- this year I have both CSP and CSA, and by this criteria, we'll receive this again next year for both (something only 36 high schools in the country did this year)- that is just wild. Last year 81% of my CSP class were girls. This year, it's 60%. My CSA class this year is 68% girls. By comparison, by Computer Science I classes are only 35% girls.

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