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  • Writer's pictureFarica Erwin

New Year, New Things

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Summer of 2020, I worked all summer. I was part of a team providing tech training for my school and really planning what the pandemic year would look like. I made lots of things to help facilitate the transition to individual, digital work.

Then the school year started. Our school did great. We were face-to-face, distanced and masked. We only went remote as a school for a week after the winter break. BUT, we still had some students virtual (quarantine and international students). Teaching virtual and in-person at the same time was draining. I had a good workflow, but as the year wore on, I was exhausted. I did not create new things and I avoided social media.

Now, after a June and July where I have done nothing school related, I have slowly started to check Twitter more and more. The #backtoschool posts, both good and bad, have re-ignited my passion (a little) to work on school materials.

I have two new ideas for this year, as we may be in the same boat as last year. One of the most depleting repercussions of last year was the lack of discussion in my classes. Sitting six-feet apart makes it difficult to work collaboratively. This led to me answering the same questions individually for all students. So, my co-worker had an idea to use restaurant style stands to help facilitate guided discussions. Genius! When I answer a question for one student, they get a stand with an index card in it to mark which questions they are now the "expert" for. Students who need help with that problem go see that students rather than me. Hopefully this will help...

I also had this idea to completely revamp how I organize my lessons. Normally, I just keep a running list of the topics I teach each day so I can refer to it each year and adjust as necessary. I keep these in Google and sometimes link to a note page or activity. However, for my students, I post all the details of everyday in the Assignment Center of our LMS. This includes all links and logins necessary. The problem is that our LMS is not very user friendly in accessing previous years posts, and I cannot access them over the summer. So my new plan is to create a Google Sheet that houses all of the information in one place. Each day will be its own sheet and the Table of Contents will link to that page. I can easily edit in Google and just copy~n~paste to the LMS.

If I share this with students, I can work on lessons and just hide the tab until I am ready for students to see it. But most importantly, I have an easy way to access all of my lessons!

Here's to a new school year with even more new things!

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