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.

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