Into A Vacuum! Help!

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12 thoughts on “Into A Vacuum! Help!”

  1. However, I talked to Alisa today and she reminded me that much of what I say above is not going to work with the younger kids. Just to point that out. Somewhere below 7th or 8th or even 9th grade, what I say above won’t work.

  2. I appreciate the very practical advice for using Zoom.

    I think I’m still going to have to do record Zoom lessons in my classroom. I’m going to have to stand up and move around to help me to 1) think and respond with some spontaneity, 2) use gestures and movement for visual support, 3) write on the board and 4) get out of the house and away from my own children.

    I know Pablo on his Dreaming Spanish YouTube channel has mastered the art of creating videos telling stories using tech to draw and show his face on a split screen. He’s really good at this. But I’d really like to be in my classroom to just be in the right mental space.

  3. Sean you deserve to be in your classroom bc your track record reveals that you have compassion for your students. I’ve seen it on video. Many CI teachers DON’T deserve to be in their classrooms bc they routinely abuse the power they have in there.

    Such teachers MAKE their students behave via force and threats of tests, forced output, memorization, and all that stuff from the last century. Such teachers DESERVE to be shocked by the online teaching issue. They need to change, give up the hammering of kids with power and grades and the fact they they the adult in charge.

    Such teachers need to do what you do and a few others of us, shamefully few, who put the kids UNDERSTANDING of what they say as the first item of business in each class they teach, either online or in a physical classroom.

    By doint that, such teachers assume full responsibility for the kids’ learning. That is what ADULTS do, not whiny teachers who suddenly can’t teach online. They COULD teach online if they were aligning their instruction with the research and standards. But they don’t. They say they do CI but they don’t.

    There aren’t too many real adults in our profession right now, teachers who teach according to the research and the standard. They’ve been suffering being in departments that are not doing their jobs properly, those who have been getting away with abuse of power for a century.

  4. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    My district decided that elem Ts would only do asynchronous pre-recorded vids (for social/emotional connection) during this year’s E-learning. The gen-ed teachers had live meetings several times per week. I visited those…
    I anticipate live elem Spanish classes in the fall but I dunno how it’ll work group-wise…
    I think all student attention K-12 will be hard to capture/sustain esp if they’re used to multi-tasking while on e-Learning (hidden alternate device or object or distractor in hand and out of view)… IF students are present with the intent to engage and stay focused, then I’m hopeful.
    We’ll have to see how it unfolds.

  5. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Right now districts are waiting for state health metrics which will determine, as fall approaches, one of 3 scenarios: Full attendance in-person learning at school (with modifications like limiting large groups;) Partial attendance – w/modifications like half the students at a time;) or a remote situation – refined over the summer to enhance student experience.
    Right now it looks like the fall will be option 2 and/or 3. That’s all we know so far. In my district the admins are divvying up the planning work in 2 main areas – operations and instruction. They have already decided on a common LMS – Learning Management System or platform -to address parent/student/teacher overwhelm. I don’t know yet if that tech decision will affect us at the elementary Spanish level, or not.
    In summary, there are too many unknowns to predict what teaching will look like come September, but from my and other districts and the national news abt it looks like beyond the initial safety issues, the child’s learning experience will take front and center as we figure out how to craft a parallel reality.
    Thankfully, everyone’s social and emotional well-being and sense of connection is being prioritized – though equity issues nation wide are finally being recognized; And decision makers are listening as we all question how much school screen time vs. low tech/analog time? and Frequency/duration of lessons/school day, etc. Districts have already learned lessons from this lil experiment since March – hopefully they’ll be put to use.

  6. I don’t think that the districts will successfully modify and apply their learnings from this spring into the fall. They need to take off their thick glasses – glasses they have always worn – in our field anyway. They’ve always looked at the WL programs they oversea through coke bottle glasses, bless their heart.

    My guess is that the WL scene will be in a mell of a hess come about October. Reason: the kids will be doing worksheets and electronic stuff that may work in a math class, but not in our field. People will get frustrated. Teachers just won’t be able to get the job done. Nobody’s fault, but still – watch out for October.

    The worst in WL online teaching will come from the way the WL teachers assess. They have gotten away with it in physical classrooms. But if much of WL instruction in the country is online, due to the way the kids are being assessed online (very poorly with rampant cheating), that online part will really create havoc. C’est mon opinion.

  7. I am nervous about the eye contact through a screen thing. It is too much for some kids. Also, some are embarrassed by their home settings or their family in the background. I have not been requiring it this spring and I don’t want to require video if we are back to remote learning in the fall. But I am not sure what could stand in it’s place that could even a tiny bit be as good.

    1. I relate to this. I myself don’t like video chats either for some of these same reasons. Imagine letting 200 people a day look into your face through video screen and pick apart your home and appearance. In lower grades little kids are still sweet and generally kind. What about high school where kids are brutally critical?

  8. Good point, Carly. At some point we have to accept the limitations of our situations.

    In my view, it’s all about getting the kids interested. We haven’t done that in our profession EVER, excepting the very few teachers like you who CAN get them to listen with the intent to understand.

    So naturally, we’ll get responses like the ones we got this spring.

    Slowly as the thaw continues (end of traditional teaching) – over decades – people will change. Poverty will decline. People will remember why they are here (to have fun) and this way of teaching will eventually work online. But we have to get the ball rolling.

    Until that dreamed-of future arrives (which global warming and COVID and trumpism are bringing about because destruction much precede regeneration), we can only try. It counts when we try as well.

    One thing we can never do is give up. If we do, it leaves the kids to the grammar monsters. Fight. Fight on….

  9. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Regarding privacy and video-conference backgrounds – Since I use videoconference from my bedroom (quietest place) I always use a virtual background during Zoom chats w/kids (or even virtual faculty mtgs). Once as a joke my virtual background had me sitting beside a posh indoor pool.} You can take any image and turn it into a virtual background. I’ve used ice cream cone wallpaper, Bikini Bottom (Sponge Bob) a coral reef…
    To get ideas you can google search it. If I can do the tech part, anyone can. Once you put some background options in your Zoom, they’re there for you on that computer to choose from, or switch up. There are also chrome extensions and apps to use with other online video conferencing platforms (Hangouts/chat). Some are silly filters and you get wear mustaches and stuff! LMK if any questions – this privacy/home in the background doesn’t need to be an issue. We can have kids choose a caribbean beach background with the palm trees swaying in the breeze…
    Also, check out Zoom’s internal whiteboard. If you ‘share screen’ and click on it, you have an integrated drawing/writing/typing field. You only appear in a lil window in the corner (in front of the dancing ice cream cones.)

  10. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    PS: The downloadable app I mentioned for virtual backgrounds and animation for Google chats/hangouts is called SnapCamera. There’s a good teacher tutorial for it on YouTube called ‘Virtual Backgrounds and lenses in Google Meet.’ It works on Mac and PC.

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