In my last post, I talked about my 4th quarter plans for distance learning. Essentially, I’m scaling back to just 2 weekly assignments: 3 journal entries and 1 hour of independent reading each week.
Originally, the plan for 4th quarter looked quite different. You can probably relate. I intended to work with students to produce a large multi-genre project as the culmination of our year together. Obviously, this is not an ideal task to undertake in our current conditions. Still, I wanted a way to build some closure into the year. Today our governor announced that schools in my state will remain closed (distance learning only) for the rest of the school year. I spent most of the day sad and teary, even though I absolutely knew this was coming. It’s just so hard to envision an end of the school year without physically being in the presence of my beloved students for the entire last 3 months.
Over spring break I came up with my plan to greatly reduce the weekly work for my class, and got it approved by my principal and curriculum dean. Around the same time, I came across an awesome idea in a Facebook group for English teachers who use workshop in their classes (side note: if you’re not using Facebook groups and Twitter for professional development, what are you waiting for?). It seemed like a perfect way to create a multi-genre product without overwhelming my students as they try to balance distance learning, added responsibilities at home, jobs, and the stress and trauma of living through a global pandemic.
The project, shared by teacher Alexandria Mooney, is called “A Series Of…” and it’s such a simple but brilliant idea. I have been working on adapting this idea to fit with what I already had (very loosely) planned for the quarter, and also to align to the multi-genre project my students will be completing in their English classes.
My goals for this project are:
- Provide students with an opportunity to showcase their writing and creativity.
- Build in differentiation in both quantity and depth of work, allowing students who are struggling for any reason to experience success, while allowing others the chance to really dig in and excel.
- Keep the workload low for my student and for me.
You can see my work-in-progress project here:
Instructions for students
The journals we are doing as prep for the final project
I usually blog about my experience *after* the fact so I can share what worked and what I will change. This time, as we are all scrambling to find meaningful ways to continue our teaching and wrap up our school year, I thought I would share where I am in the hopes that it will help someone else.
I hope you are handling this situation as well as you can, and I hope that maybe you found something helpful in this post.