Similar to days at school, it takes self coaching, a positive outlook, and clear objectives to teach virtual school well.
This week's virtual school teaching has a clear objective. I'll engage small groups of students in study related to many fifth grade measurement standards. The lessons are scaffolded so that small groups can take it as deep and high as they're able, but I won't rush the groups since the main focus is to get together to talk math and problem solve in meaningful, collaborative ways. In addition to the small group math meetings, students have a menu of math activities to complete. I'll check in on those efforts each day to see who is completing the assignments and who is not. At the end of the week, I'll reach out to families of students who are doing much less of the work than others to see what's going on and how I might help.
The objective of the homeroom meeting this week will be to check in on each other, exchange stories, and exchange titles of favorite movies. And the objective of the grade-level meeting will be to learn about the systemwide fifth grade signature project, the biography project. We've been doing this wonderful project for years, and this year it will go virtual, in part, or in entirety depending on how long we'll be out of school.
Our Professional Learning Community (PLC) will meet to discuss a myriad of issues related to upcoming virtual teaching/learning, student support, and typical school efforts and decisions for this time of the school year. The faculty meeting will likely inform us of upcoming efforts and areas of need or sensitivity. We'll likely discuss shared questions and efforts.
It is going to be a busy week of virtual meetings, and what is most important is that I have a positive outlook. Similar to school, I find that when I greet the children with a big smile and saying their name, their shoulders drop, they become more relaxed, and a positive exchange begins. To be able to exude that positive energy, similar to real-time school, I need to have a healthy routine and best possible energy. Virtual teaching and learning demands exceptional listening skills too, and this takes good energy, wait time, and attention.
My self coaching will focus on staying the course with a positive daily routine that includes a healthy breakfast, attendance at a large group of virtual teaching/learning meetings, time to review students' daily learning efforts, and time to get outside, engage in home projects/chores, and healthy meals with my family. Good coaching for self or others demands best possible energy.
Not unlike the investment it takes to teach well at school each day, virtual school demands the very best of you. I'll give the week the best possible energy, and then the following week is a vacation so that will give me time to reflect on the week's efforts and better those efforts for the week after that. Onward.