A bit disappointing, but not really surprising, we are finding ourselves looking at some more online learning. As a result I am looking into platforms I haven’t used much in the past, like Popplet and Parlay. I used these a bit last year, but as an LS aid I did not necessarily use them from the teacher side of things. While I am grateful I was working in instruction last year during online learning, and feel like I settled into a productive routine, I do recognize I will be adjusting a bit as a classroom teacher this year. I believe planning will take quite a bit longer as we plan for our classroom students and our students still abroad. I want to make sure the students abroad feel like an important part of the class and that their voices are heard. I do think balancing the two groups of students will be a challenge, but I am grateful that my science team is in the same living situation as me and we can attack this challenge collaboratively.
One goal I will be focusing on is confer. I’d really like harness the students’ thoughts and ideas on our anchoring phenomenon and use that to drive the lesson. My hope is that this can also give the class a sense of unity, both those present and abroad. I want them to feel like they are actively participating in lesson flow. Giving the students agency in their learning will hopefully invest them in the lesson and aid in building their understanding of the science concepts.
I will be using a Driving Question Board to display students’ observations, ideas, and questions and we will revisit it throughout the unit as we complete investigations and build a bank of evidence to explain our anchoring phenomenon. This will hopefully give them many opportunities to ensure their voice is heard on what is being discovered and what is yet needed.
I want to make sure I help students see the big picture. From helping them remember where we are in the course of a unit, and how it relates back to the anchor phenomenon, to where we are in the semester, and how it ties into Life Science, I want to make sure students know where we are and where we are going. Revisiting what we have covered and identifying how it informs what we are learning now is what I hope to do somewhat regularly. It is almost as if we start a unit zoomed out, with the topic for the unit. We then zoom in and dig into investigations of various concepts. I think we need to zoom back out to periodically to regain our bearings and understand how things connect to the big picture. I’d like to find a way to have them do this in their NB so I can formatively assess it and it gives them opportunity to explain their understanding in a variety of ways (through text, images, diagrams, charts, etc.) in how they make the connections.
I am grateful to my science team to lean on while I strive to achieve these goals. Again, the fact that we are both in Beijing both trying to create inclusive and thriving classrooms both in person and online is a blessing. We can help each other troubleshoot the myriad challenges we might come up against.