We’re doing this . . . launching distance learning!

Well . . . yes, life has been CRAZY  BUSY!!!  Now that we are beginning distance learning . . . officially for a few weeks . . . we need to revamp our lessons and engage students.  I spent some time researching for the best lesson plan organizer for students and parents to view, prepared a weekly schedule, organized a lesson calendar, and am learning more about videotaping my lessons.  Yes . . . it’s been a whirlwind.

Not only am I preparing lessons, but I need to make certain the information I share is VERY clear for parents and students have everything they need to be successful.  I am not there to guide learning, adjust the pace, provide another direction, or ask a question to promote learning.   My parents are now taking on the “teacher” role and I am moving into a “facilitator” providing guidance for parents and students.  I wonder if my videos and instructions are clear, do I have enough examples for practice, do the students have any questions, are my students being successful, if they struggle, are they able to persevere and work through the challenge?  When will we return to school?  How long will this pandemic last?  SOOO many questions!

Our first week learning brought LOTS of questions about learning and how to do this or that questions.  Parents wanted to know what the learning expectations were during this time period and many looking forward to school resuming.  Students wanted to know if the work would be graded and when they would return to school.  It was such a scary time for all of us, not knowing what is going on with this disease and the rapid spread across the country.

It was nice to get students connected on ZOOM.  Here students were able to see each other, engage in conversations, know that their friends were alright, and just stay connected.  Our first meeting was an opportunity to touch base, ask questions, and become familiar with the learning platform.  When we finished our second ZOOM session, the students felt more comfortable with our learning session as many of the distance learning kinks were beginning to get worked out.

Fortunately, my students were already accustomed to online learning.  The were very familiar with many of the resources that I used as supplemental learning opportunities.  Now the challenge was for students to rely on themselves and parents for his/her learning.  Knowing that math was going to be the most challenging subject for students, I utilized the Screencast resource to record instructional videos for students.  These videos were helpful for parents and students to better understand the concepts.  I really appreciated the opportunity to use this resource, currently free during the pandemic, because it gave me an opportunity to still be present in the “distance learning” home environment.

At the end of the day, it is my goal to continue providing a high quality learning program for my students by assisting parents in this common goal while we engage in distance learning.  No one could have predicted this health pandemic and the impact it would have on education.  Hopefully, with the support I can provide remotely, my students will continue to learn and be successful with limited additional stress and anxiety.

. . . onward we go!

Check out this and other prior posts to learn more about using technology to provide additional support and instructional opportunities for students.   Sign up for my newsletter and stay updated with valuable information to support your learners at home and school.

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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for more than 30 years working in the PK-6 elementary classroom, K-12 multi-language learner instructional specialist, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Judean

    I do feel this will become the new normal or at least half the time. After talking with so many different teachers and watching my nephews during this period, they all do online differently – some good, some not so good. It looks like you started off in an awesome way –

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      I think distance learning will be better, now that people have had time to experiment with the process. When we started, it was a SUDDEN shift for everyone – students, parents, teachers. Some were successful and others not as much. Like you said, I think distrance learning will have some ongoing impact on education in the future.

  2. Jennifer

    My daughter was a first-year 3rd-grade teacher this year (2019-2020)! What a first year! Our county has not figured out what next year will look like yet and these ideas and tools will certainly help, regardless. I will forward this to her!

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      WOW!!! First year memories for your daughter!! My daughter also teaches. Her first year was last year – we had a 7.2 earthquake November 30. This year . . . COVID-19. I told her these events typically don’t happen. Honestly, I’ve taught for 28 years and these last 2 years have certainly been a disruption. Perhaps your daughter should journal about her experiences – perhaps turning it all into a book.

  3. Barbara

    Good luck with this transition!

  4. Beth

    After 22 years teaching science and now being retired, I can’t imagine doing it in distance learning – my hat’s off to you for these resources!

  5. Eva

    My dad was teaching 8th graders and had already had his whole class set up for Google classroom so he really didn’t have to do much when they switched to distance learning. If anything he was just having to deal with parent emails. My stepmom on the other hand was teaching 1st or 2nd graders and had to basically restructure her entire curriculum. It was interesting to see it all unfold.

  6. Sabrina DeWalt

    If I had it to do all over again, with the new technology in place, I could see myself home-schooling. Of course, I am a much calmer, more patient person now that the boys are all grown. 🙂

  7. Angella

    This has been a challenging transition for a lot of people. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a great resource for people navigating this change.

  8. Heather

    This is a really great resource for teachers as the future of education is changing.

  9. Sarah

    Wow! This must’ve been quite an adjustment – but it seems like you’ve navigated these changes quite well! I wonder if this will be the new normal?

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      Thanks! I bet we will see a “new normal” over the next few years that involve more technology and learning at home at the K-12 level. My district has done a 1/2 day at school and 1/2 day at home four days a week (blended learning/project based learning) for three years now. It’s been successful.

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