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.

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