I write this blog having already had 2 weeks of blended learning and my big take way from it so far is how to care for my students both personally and in an educational sense providing them with rich and engaging experiences. I am finding that it is crucial to take time to get to know each child and their particular experiences. This has meant a great deal of face to face time, both as a class, small group and individually. This certainly takes a great deal of time but I know that investing time now will reap so many rewards as the class grows and slowly meets back on campus at ISB.
As a class, I am finding that 16 of my students are already on campus and I only have 3 Dragon’s Abroad. This does present challenges as they are in Asia, Iowa and Belgium respectively so its hard to get them together and create a group where they have shared experiences and can get to know each other.
I know that I have to work on engagement – online learning, even live, is a challenge for them and I can see that their attentions often dips. Fortunately for me I will be back in class one day after writing this blog and this is one area that I will be working on for many weeks to come – I feel for those teachers that ae stuck overseas for much longer periods of time. Fortunately there is a lot of technology to help me – Flipgrid, Quizlets, Kahoots. I know that last year during online learning providing the students with opportunities to personalize their learning – passion projects and choice boards worked well – I intend to incorporate these as well
Part of my approach to engagement will be SEL and community building and getting the students to interact in these sessions and in small groups. I feel providing opportunities for connections will have a large impact on the class. Connections with each other and with Dragons Abroad and with me and their other teachers.
I know that once I am back in the classroom I will have time restraints and with the current schedule there are few opportunities to ‘break’ unless its Dragon Day. I will need to carve time out to continue to be reflective and change practices as needed. I feel that finding time to chat with my colleagues will support this as collectively we bring a wealth of knowledge/ideas and experiences to each other. Collaboration as always will be the key.