A school dream marked the move from a week of vacation to back to virtual school. It is surprising to notice what features of school as we've known it transfer to virtual school and school dreams is one of those features.
Almost all teachers have school dreams--dreams that expose our worries, hopes, and experiences before, during, and after the school year. Last night's dream dealt with the issues of equity and discretion. In the dream, children who distanced from the mainstream in a number of ways demonstrated those needs and also during the dream I noticed the level of discretion that's critical to the virtual sphere. When you are working in the virtual school, your words are the key communication tool whereas in real school, even though your words count, communication involves a lot more action, not just words--at school, you're constantly reading a person's actions and body gestures as well as words. We have to be even more careful about discretion with what we say in virtual school.
Also, in virtual school, we have to have new organization systems. I can't just reach for a teaching tool in a cabinet or find a file in the draw, instead, almost every item we use in virtual school is either online or close at hand--we don't have an entire classroom to rely on.
Next week is the start of the final leg of the school year, and this year, it will be a virtual period of teaching and learning. Online we'll lead essential standards-based lessons that promote hands-on and online offline practice, exploration, and investigation. For example, during the next two weeks students will be asked to explore the standards-based science topic of composting. There are a number of articles and videos students will be asked to read, and then there's the hands-on part of the project which is to build and use your own composter.
I always cull some wisdom and truths from my dreams. Last night's dream demonstrated the need for good discretion as well as working for greater equity with regard to student services. Good lessons for any teacher. Onward.