On Saturday morning, a group of us from the Membership Portal met via Zoom. I was so excited to see people! The group of us, from various parts of the country, first just took some time to check in and see how everyone is doing after the first week of distance teaching for most of us. Three themes arose from that conversation.
1. We are all still trying to track down all of our students and figure out what distance learning means for students without internet and with a very different kind of ESL support.
2. We are all valuing relationships and communication with students, families, and each other over everything else.
3. We are proud of our schools and how quickly everyone came together to make the most of a very difficult situation. Forced innovation is HARD and our schools are rising to the occasion.
With that being said, we then shared ideas for how we are trying to engage our beginning English learners in this process. While some of the online teaching best practices are really in line with what our students need (more visuals, smaller groups, less is more mentality, ...), many teachers are still struggling with how to engage students both online and in the dreaded "packet" approach. (I know, with no notice and no time to plan, the packet is a necessity. I just won't ever love mass produced work, but I am embracing it for the moment as an OPTION.)
Here is our summarized list of ideas with and without tech:
Today, I am sitting at my computer with Google Meet open all day. My high schoolers are a mix of internet access and not. I put the message out in email, text, word of mouth, that I will be here. Meet me, call me, text me, whatever. I keep reminding them. I'm hopeful they will get the message and get to work. :)
The same is true for you! Please reach out if you need to brainstorm! We are here for you. [email protected]
Special thanks to Jamie Lewinski who joined in on our call Saturday and gave me permission to share the website she is creating to support educators during this crazy time. THANK YOU JAMIE!!!
For other strategies that may lend themselves to online learning, please visit our FREE Training page.