A Day in the Life. . .

In the immortal words of The Beatles- “I read the news today, oh boy”.  I feel like those lyrics are incredibly relevant in our current daily life. How every day there is “news” and a new development happens that the world reacts to which sets the next few steps for people.   When I first read the question, the word current stood out to me.  It made me reflect on the world’s current perspective, how the world is currently operating, and how in a few short works our current lexicon has phrases like “plank the curve”, “social distancing” and “contact clusters” being used by all people around the world.  Therefore, when I think of my “day in the life”, I have to remind myself that our current situation has evolved quickly, that the fluidity of this situation highlights that we are adaptable beings who are tremendous at taking situations that are incredibly overwhelming to find a new normal within them.

Through technology, I have maintained some “normalcy” of what life looked like before the pandemic.  I am able to connect with my colleagues via Microsoft teams where Staff Meetings are facilitated.  I have found the meetings to be efficient, for people to be receptive to the procedures and protocols to connect with students during this time.  I have also noticed collegiality and immense support from a far.  Outside of staff meetings, teachers are connecting in teams to ask questions, to seek input, to learn of new platforms that they can use so that their students continue to learn in an effective and engaging way.  This collegiality, creativity and ability to respond to Remote Learning has blown me away.  Technology has given me the opportunity to observe and participate in these interactions in ways that would have been impossible without the use of tech.

Personally, I felt lucky to feel fairly prepared for Remote Learning.  I have been teaching Online Learning for the past 4 years and feel comfortable using an LMS platform (Moodle) to facilitate my courses.  Within that platform, I can upload documents, embed YouTube videos, I can add videos of myself teaching content, and I can add audio of a lecture or explanation of notes.  Furthermore, I can diversify assessment with feedback that incorporates audio, video, built in rubrics and gives immediate feedback on multiple-choice questions.  I have also had the privilege of having 1-1 access for my students through the Connected Educator Program.  This has allowed me to infuse technology in a blended way throughout my courses instruction.  My hope is that because we had been using Moodle for their learning that they felt comfortable with it, and it (hopefully) eased anxiety about what Supplemental learning would entail on their end.  Not only did I integrate Moodle into student learning prior to distance learning, the students had a lot of experience with other tools.  One such tool that I have used often is Flip Grid.  I believe it is a critical skill to not only write about what you think, but also to articulate it.  The more we practice how we say things, to feel comfortable with using our voice I believe we are more apt to use it in all areas of our lives.  To help with uncertainty and nervousness I modelled expectations by recording my own stating the intention of the activity, the questions I would like then to answer and welcoming them to Supplemental learning.  I hope that seeing my face, seeing the questions modelled to them, and providing space to share would create comfort and ease to the new journey we were starting.

I have designed my Supplemental learning into asynchronous modules on Moodle.  I wanted to be cognizant that student’s daily lives are incredibly unique and diverse. I did not want to overwhelm the students with meetings times because they are working, caring for younger siblings, taking care of household chores and many other things (as I learnt via the Flip Grid activity).  However, with that being said I also see the benefit of meeting synchronously.  Therefore, I facilitated a synchronous lesson where my students and I invited a Wisdom Keeper to share his knowledge of the Natural Law within Indigenous Spirituality.  In order to honor their schedules I used Microsoft Forms to conduct a survey of a time that would work best for them. Once the time was decided, the meeting was conducted through Microsoft Teams.   This meeting was not only incredibly informative showing a deeper understanding of and connection to Indigenous Spirituality; it was also AMAZING to see the students!  In their reflection most students spoke about the ability to connect face to face in a responsible manner was the highlight for them.  They not only connected to the content, they also connected with one another.

Education has changed.  The delivery is different than we are accustomed to. There are many opportunities in this new setting as we are on the front lines to define and create effective, engaging, meaningful education that affects students learning in ways we never imagined.  Teachers are showing resilience, creativity, care and concern in Remote Learning.  This comes as no surprise, as that’s what teachers do- we teach!  Teachers are responding to the call to teach students in so many amazing ways and technology has been a critical component to this process.  This situation has not stifled opportunities for learning and connection.  I am so proud to be a teacher.

6 thoughts on “A Day in the Life. . .

  1. Great post. People like you that are well-versed in systems like Moodle definitely had a leg up on this situation. I appreciate that you mention being mindful of the fact that students may have busy lives with things like taking care of siblings. In speaking with colleagues that have school-aged children, the first few weeks of supplemental learning was incredibly overwhelming for students at both the elementary and high school level that were hoping to engage in supplemental learning. I think that a little bit of mindfulness from teachers in a situation like this can go a long way.

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  2. Hi Jacquie,
    Reading your post and the posts of others on the power of communication with voice inspired me to finally create a flipgrid account a few moments ago! I added the link to our Staff Microsoft Team. My plan is put out a task for my staff that will show them the power of this tool and hopefully inspire them to try in their classes as well. Very persuasive blog!

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  3. Great post Jacquie! Our school division is also using Microsoft Teams as our go-to platform. How are you or your colleagues continuing to connect with one another during this time? Our school division has set up professional learning communities (PLCs) that allow teachers to meet an hour a week to discuss what is going well in supplemental learning. I hope the connectedness continues after the pandemic is lifted and we return to the classroom. What are some pieces that you would like to stay the same once we return to the classroom?

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    • Hi Curtis. My colleagues and I have used the Microsoft teams app to stay connected. Often there is a running conversation throughout the day with funny memes, inspirational videos and conversations- basically like the staff room chit chat we would have throughout a day. Beyond the personal connection (which has really helped my morale and feeling connected to my friends and colleagues) the collegiality and support has been amazing in this forum as well. One thing I have noticed several times is people asking questions about tools or asking a “how to” question. Once the question is asked a few teachers will provide an answer or their experience along with screenshots, videos or suggestions. The teacher will then try the suggestions and come back with further insights. In my opinion, this has created a culture of support, of people feeling safe to be vulnerable and ask questions they may not have face to face, and given space and place for learning in real time. Moving forward this is something I would love to implement in my Portfolio. A digital meeting space where we can support, celebrate and connect.
      This has shown my a digital meeting place can foster positive relationship building and thus positively affect our teaching practices. I think we are seeing many opportunities in ways in which we can connect that is aware of time and of people’s schedules but that still fosters relationships, and aren’t we as teachers searching for ways to use our time effectively and efficiently? I think this experience has shone a light on the potential of that.

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  4. Totally agree that we’ve definitely heard a lot of new terms I know I’ve heard unprecedented and uncharted more times than I ever wanted to in my lifetime. Having taught online and using technology before all this has definitely made the transition a little smoother. It’s great to see how teacher have come together through this. Also great point about the different opportunities this has given to observe and engage. That Indigenous Spirituality lesson sounds amazing. Agree with the proud to be a teacher statement.

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    • As you know with your personal and school experiences with Rodger- it was impactful, engaging, interesting and so educational! He did a tremendous job! It was also really cool to learn and implement cultural protocol on a digital level as well. That was something I had not done before and it was a great learning moment for me as well.

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