It is almost here, FINALLY! I am so tired of professional development and agonizing over every last assignment and detail of class. I have never been more ready to get started. The 2020 school year starts here fully virtual on MONDAY! So here are some last minute tips that are helping me:
1. Have a daily check in form. - I will not be able to judge students moods when they walk into the room, which I think is a crucial part of how class goes for the day. I created a quick Google Form. The one for the first day includes some questions about their background in Spanish as well. When creating a Google Form, don't forget a question for their name.
2. Print those rosters. Print them in a spreadsheet format (it is a report choice in Infinite Campus) so you can quickly note nicknames, attendance, grades. Also do a run through of names so you don´t butcher them too badly on the first day. If it is a tough name make sure to ask how the student pronounces it....and try to say something positive!
3. Set those alarms! - The alarm to wake up is important, but I have set alarms on my phone for 5 minutes before each class starts so I can remember to get logged into the class meeting so students can get in. Did you know that if you use the class meeting code through Google Classroom, students can´t enter before you do? Works for nicknamed meetings too.
4. Post ¨Getting Started¨ items - There are many students and parents with questions and having a few things posted they can do right away not only makes me look organized, but makes them a little more relaxed as well. I posted the syllabus with a Google Form to indicate acceptance, the code to join Remind, and the code to join the Flipgrid class.
5. Reread all the directions - I know, I know. Students are not famous for their direction reading ability. However, it is our job to OVEREXPLAIN. Try not to give any excuses to a student for not doing the work. If possible, even have someone else read them to try to make them as clear as possible, especially in these first days.
6. Host a live Q&A - I sent a message to all parents and students with a meeting code (nicknamed of course) and a time so that they could come a a Google Meet and have the chance to ask questions. I did it on our Open House day. I had a meet from 3-4 and from 7:30-*=8. I had about twenty parents/students show up and they got the chance to ask some questions, and I had the chance for some one-on-one interaction with a few of my students.
7. Have a mantra - Mine is positive change. All of these changes in the world are happening because we needed to make positive changes. I am going to try to project this idea (especially the positive part) as much as humanly possible. I know virtual wasn't the start most wanted, but there are some great things about it. (How am I doing?) This also helps when there is one more meeting, one more PD, etc. Just keep saying it to yourself and try to project it.
I hope this helps. Wishing everyone a great start to the year. I know many have directives that are challenging to implement, but just focus on those relationships with the students. It will be a year of changes, but we've got this!