It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Marker Mic Drop (MMD), and now seems no better a moment to do so in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In short, a Marker Mic Drop is an opportunity to recognize others for their amazing talents, thoughts – you name it – that they bring to the table.
I hopped on Twitter this past week for the first time in weeks post-baby number two. I had already received an email from Matt at Ditch That Textbook on an abundance of resources. I considered devoting my MMD post to the amazing amount of resources he and his team had displayed for teachers and parents homeschooling during this remote learning time. However, when I continued to scroll through Twitter, I realized I could no longer choose just one person or group to highlight. I was proud to see the first responder-like reaction from teachers in support of their communities. Teachers to teachers or teachers to parents, the outpouring of resources, the sharing of Flipgrid activities, the building of each other up with powerfully supportive comments…we all share one mutual goal: support our students and each other in this new endeavor.
While there are a number of resources out there, do not overwhelm yourself. Here are a few of the most concise sites that have surfaced in these early days:
- Learning Keeps Going (ISTE)
- Elearning Resources (Ditch That Textbook)
- Online learning tips for teachers (Kasey Bell)
- Lucky Little Learners – Here is a consolidated list of some of the best EdTech tools.
- We are Teachers (Free online learning resources) – Organized by age groups.
- Teaching Remotely (Scholastic Magazine)
- Flipgrid (Here is the link to my overview: Flipgrid (The Curious Creator Blog))
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses. edX offers free, self-paced courses by Harvard, MIT, among other institutions.
- Articles of interest:
Start with a (simple) plan
- Plan learning experiences:
- Project-Based Learning will enrich student learning. Check out PBL Works for an overview.
- Backward Design (UbD): The concept is simple but often overlooked when lesson planning spirals into the minutiae of required content. Identify your end goal and plan learning experiences.
- Challenge your students but let them choose: Give your learners an opportunity to explore a topic that matters to them. Is there a community issue that interests them? Charge them with developing a solution. This is a time of flexibility in education, which also means that you may not be working against the same time constraints. Let them choose. Let them explore. Let them dig deeper and make their own (cross-curricular) connections.
- Ease your load with online assessments: If you aren’t already familiar with EdTech platforms that will grade your assessments for you, it’s time to start exploring. Start with Edpuzzle and Quizizz (Link to my overview: Edpuzzle (The Curious Creator Blog))
- Easily record your lessons: Use a Google Chrome Extension, such as Screencastify, to post video lessons. Take it a step further and create an assessment with Edpuzzle based on your video.
- Schools – consider rolling out in phases: This is an overwhelming experience for all parties involved. In light of the day-to-day unknown and the sudden leap into remote learning, consider gently easing into it with a modified schedule that transitions into your school’s norm.
- Is online learning not an option? Many school districts are in less than ideal situations to ease into a remote learning plan due to lack of resources. While some are handing out curbside lunches every day at schools, they are also loaning devices and coordinating with local internet companies to furnish free internet for the near future. If worksheets and textbooks are your only option, consider Choice Boards and Project-Based Learning to still enrich students with a deeper learning experience.
In short, this is uncharted waters for many. Take a step back to breathe, create, and embrace your inner learner. Whether you are a teacher or a parent-now-educator, just remember: You’ve got this.