Well, I’m back finally; I probably have only one follower now since I haven’t posted in over a yearor more!What happened? Covid, family issues and health stuff with both my husband and myself….including getting Covid…ugh!
But through it all, I’ve still been tutoring! I switched to virtual tutoring once Covid started and even when it started getting safer, I decided to continue doing only virtual. It’s gone so well and I have created or found so many resources online to use virtually! In future posts I will have so much to share about virtual resources (that can also be used in the classroom), but I first want to tell you about the huge summer project I’m doing with all my students…grades 2-5!
The project is based on the first set of Boom Cards I created to sell (it’s also in a Google Slides version), Where in the World...it’s a geography game to help students learn about places in the world. I LOVE traveling and taking photos, so I decided to use my photos for the Boom Cards; I figured that would be better than the photos just sitting in my laptop doing nothing!
To start with, I had each student do the game to give them ideas on where they might want to travel. My students have chosen Paris, Hawaii, Rome, Disney World, and Seattle! (Just one place for each student!) I then have them answer the following questions on their Travel Planning document:
Where will you travel to?
Why do you want to go there?
Who is coming with you?
Once they’ve answered those, it’s time to start researching the flight cost (or road trip cost), accommodations, sightseeing, food, souvenirs, etc. I created a Google Slide show for each of the locations that are in the Where in the World Boom Cards/Google Slides with resources to help them plan their trip. The resources include ELA, math and other learning activities. Reading a-z, Newsela, Time for Kids, Hoopla, Readworks, Mr Nussbaum and Teachers Pay Teachers are some of the resources I’ve found with information on the travel destinations. This HUGE slide show will soon be available on TpT!
I’ve also created more Boom Cards with math problems based on their travel destinations. I differentiate the Boom Cards depending on the age of the student. These math “tours” are available on Teachers Pay Teachers and the Boom Learning store!
Besides Boom Cards being awesome for virtual tutoring…so are Google Jamboards! I use them for everything (upcoming blog post on this topic!). My students are using these for taking notes on their research. They can use “sticky notes” for their text and add photos of the places they want to go!
After the students have their trip planned, they will create a multimedia presentation on their trip! photoshop photos of the students into their destinations so they can add the photos into their presentations and will share samples of the students’ presentations in a future blog!
Soooo….that’s what we’re doing this summer! Questions, thoughts, comments? Go down below!!!! Thanks for reading!
It’s summer and social distancing isn’t going to stop my summer tutoring! I have all kinds of ideas and resources ready for students of all ages to help them be ready for the new school year!
After I retired from public education three years ago, I started my own educational consulting and tutoring business. I’ve been tutoring many students in grades 1-10, in person once or twice a week. But the “in person” part needs to change, at least for now. Once the quarantine started, I became a caregiver for my elderly father, who had suffered a knee injury several months ago. He was not able to have surgery due to COVID-19 as he was in a high risk category due to his age. He was with us for two months and recently returned home in the mountains, about 90 miles from away. However, he may still need surgery, and I am not comfortable doing face to face tutoring because of this. In addition, my husband is in several high risk categories. So, this summer…it’s ONLY virtual tutoring for me.
Fortunately, I have been virtually tutoring a few of my students since March, and it’s worked really well! One of my students even said he enjoys tutoring more when done virtually. I have been using Google Hangouts, which I had used quite a bit while working in schools. Here’s some of the activities my students and I have worked on:
I have found it very helpful to create an agenda in Google Docs with all the links to the activities we will be working on. This way we have a game plan for our hour together, and all the links are in once place.
Newsela has been great to use in virtual tutoring! I assign the article ahead of time, then during the session the student and I both have it open and we do “popcorn reading” of the article, stopping to work on comprehension and vocabulary skills. I then have him take the quiz.
After the quiz, I had my student respond to a prompt. This particular student still needs guidance, so I created a plan for him and we worked on each aspect together, the topic sentence, the evidence and the conclusion.
Students who struggle in reading and writing often need a “recipe” to help them craft their response. I can’t cook without a recipe, and many students do not magically know how to write a reading response without guidance, or a “recipe” either. This method worked so well with this particular student!
A parent requested that I help her son with a research project during our virtual tutoring. After leading him through some brainstorming, he decided he wanted to research chemical reactions. He loves science and was interested in the topic after his science teacher did the “Elephant Toothpaste” experiment in class. As we started to research together I found that just like many students I have worked with, he had never been taught (or had forgotten) how to paraphrase information found on websites. Most kids just want to copy and paste. We talked a lot about how that’s NOT okay.
I modeled for him on how to take notes from information on a website. I stressed that he should NOT write complete sentences in his notes…just word and phrases to help him understand the information. He did use some quotes straight from some websites, but I had him put quotation marks around the text and we talked about making sure to cite where his information came from. We are done researching now and now he’s ready to work on his presentation!
Another parent did not want scheduled weekly sessions during the school closure; instead she wanted some optional activities that her daughter could do when she had completed all her work for school. I created the document above for her…and yes, she did several of these!
We can’t forget math facts! I found a wonderful website called 99Math where students can play live games to practice math facts. I chose which operation we would do, then setup the timing and the rounds. I just had to send him the live website and a game code, and he and I would compete with each other on how many and how fast we could do! So fun!
I am excited to be starting virtual tutoring with a student who just finished kindergarten. During a recent social Zoom with teaching colleagues, I was introduced to this wonderful website from Really Great Reading where students can build words with letter tiles! I can’t wait to use this with my kindie student!
Do you have a child or student who needs virtual tutoring this summer? The beauty of virtual tutoring is that I can tutor anyone around the world! Use the form below to contact me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The school year is at an end, and I don’t think anyone who works in education will ever forget the 2019-2020 year! Once again, I have been in awe of all of I have seen school staff and teachers doing to make the end of the year as special and meaningful as they could, so here is Part 2 of my tribute to our amazing educators!
In my previous blog, I shared what some amazing teachers have been doing in remote teaching…and this one will spotlight examples of teachers going out of their way during the last few weeks of the school year!
Porch Visits and Virtual Science Projects
Tamara Engelhardt, a science teacher at Academy Charter School (Home School) in Douglas County School District in Colorado, did social distancing porch visits with her students! While staying a safe distance away, she was able to meet the students’ parents, siblings, and pets, as well as get some photos of them in their yard! Tamara also had her students do science experiments at home and send photos and videos to her….she received some amazing products…watch the wonderful video one student sent her!
More Virtual Science…
Every Spring, Jean Kirshner, a 1st-grade teacher at Mammoth Heights Elementary in Parker, Colorado, always has her students view the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly in her classroom. She wasn’t about to let the closing of the school to stop her from doing this once again! So, in her backyard, with her husband filming, she took her students through each step of the process…priceless! See her photos below!
Virtual Social Studies Projects
After their school closed, Ginny Stafford and her 6th-grade teammates (Ryan Swenson and Meghan Jacks) at Mammoth Heights Elementary in Parker, CO, created a step by step video to introduce their students and their parents to remote teaching and Google Hangouts. I love the photos they used for some of the slides!
Ginny teaches Social Studies and has always been an innovative teacher and able to readily adapt to new technologies and methods with ease…in fact, she is often in the forefront of bringing about change at her school! A pandemic did not stop her from facilitating remote projects for her classroom, including a study of a country in the world, then planning their trip there. This project encompassed geography, global awareness, and financial literacy! Below are screenshots from the project.
Annual Events Become Virtual!
Spirit Weeks, fundraisers, Teacher Appreciation Week, proms, continuations, graduations, and continuations have gone VIRTUAL!
Mammoth Heights 6th grade Virtual Continuation: Ginny and her teammates also had the monumental task of planning a virtual 6th-grade Continuation Ceremony. They arranged for a social distancing pick-up day of continuation supplies for their students and then hosted the ceremony on Google Hangouts with students, parents, grandparents, and other relatives around the country. participating. The ceremony included video speeches from the principal, the teachers, and students. The traditional baby photos of the 6th graders were also a part of the ceremony, and it ended with a virtual clap out!
Flat Teacher Project Update!
In the previous blog, I wrote about the Flat Teacher Project that Renee Hartwig-Ott, a first-grade teacher at Stony Creek Elementary in Littleton, Colorado was doing with her students. She mailed all of her students a “flat” version of herself and encouraged them to take photos of what they were doing and where they were taking her flat photo! Check out her wonderful photos (can you see her on the train?).
A Bittersweet Ending to the 2019-2020 School Year…
No one knows what the new school year will bring…it could be more remote/distance teaching, or school done a radically different way. But one thing I do know is that school administration, staff, and teachers will always persevere and find new and innovative ways to teach and connect our kids! I leave you with this quote from the Mammoth Heights 6th grade continuation ceremony…
If there’s a takeaway everyone else is learning about teachers right now, it’s this: there’s a reason they have a college degree. There’s a reason they strike when they are underpaid or mistreated. There’s a reason there is often a shortage of them. There’s a reason our kids miss them. – Trevor Muir on Twitter
Teacher Appreciation Week is over, but for me, teacher appreciation never ends. Yes, I am also a teacher…a retired public school and university teacher and a current teacher of tutoring students. But it really does takes another teacher to truly appreciate everything that teachers do.
Since Spring Break, I have been even more in awe of our public school teachers. Within a week, school districts had to totally overhaul their education system to remote and distance learning. Teachers had to quickly learn new methods and resources in order to provide instruction. In spite of their own personal concerns, issues, and fears, they had to make sure their students were not just given the curriculum, but also their teacher’s love and support. This is one of the few times I regretted being retired; I would have enjoyed the challenge and have had the opportunity to use the many new resources and platforms I’ve learned about in the past three years since retiring. In addition, I want to feel that solidarity with the other teachers…that “We’re all in this together” feeling!
So the best I can do is showcase some of the amazing things my former colleagues and other teachers have been doing for the last several weeks. I bow down to them…they are working SO hard and making sure they connect with students in every way they can! Below are several examples of remote teaching and student connection at its finest!
Remote learning and teaching in PRE-SCHOOL??!! Yup…my former school district (Douglas County School District in Colorado) is requiring all pre-school teachers to do two live sessions a week with their students. My friend and former colleague, Leslie Schlag, sent me a video of her session; I watched Leslie cheerfully greet all of her students, lead them in the “A” and “B” songs, then do weather, calendar, and nursery rhymes…just like she would have in the classroom. She is required to turn in a weekly plan with the state standards attached for the activities she will be using for literacy, speech, math, as well as social/emotional, fine and gross motor skills. She also virtually attends IEP meetings for some students and has started 1:1 sessions with her students as they were so excited to share all they were doing at home and that was hard with the full group online! Check out a snippet from her video below; I just love the joy she radiates to her students!
Virtual Elementary Intervention
Another friend/former colleague, Kristin Gregory, works as an Intervention teacher in Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. Since this is one of the education jobs I once held at a few different elementary schools, I was curious as to how this could be done remotely. Here’s her description of her requirements:
Each interventionist was paired with a grade level, we were required to meet with that team every time they met, help them plan their lessons based on state standards, and provide differentiation. We were also there to step in if someone on the team got sick.
Recorded weekly lessons for small groups ( 3 different grade levels literacy and math) and those lessons were sent to students via the platform each grade level choose, could have been Google classroom, Google slides, email, or Seesaw. We were not allowed to do live lessons due to equity, students had to be able to access the lessons whenever they were able
One-on-one conferences with students to help with classroom work, provide accommodations, and continue to work on intervention skills.
Collaborated with teachers to provide modifications for specific students, providing alternative instruction at their level and modifying classroom slides to meet their needs.
Facilitated closing out Colorado READ Act plans for the end of the year.
Virtually attended weekly staff meetings, professional book club meetings, and principals accountability committee.
Abby Anttila, a 2nd-grade teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska, sent me this lovely photo of her reading aloud to her kids on the first day of remote teaching! Abby also invites students to have lunch with her to keep in touch with her students in a more personal way. Abby’s experience with virtual teaching was different from other districts that had teachers come up with how and what to do with virtual teaching. Here’s how she describes her experience: “Our district does everything for us (lessons, worksheets, etc.). They have teachers record a minute-long intro video for each lesson… reading is Monday/Wednesday and math is Tuesday/Thursday, not on Fridays. So on Mondays, I get myself ready and record all videos for the following week. Then I have to post my video, the district video, and materials to Google Classroom for each lesson.” Abby says her district places an emphasis on equity and wants all kids to receive the same instruction.
Renee Hartwig-Ott, a first-grade teacher at Stony Creek Elementary in Littleton, Colorado, dressed up for virtual read-aloud of Junie B. Jones: Dumb Bunny…and made herself flat to introduce her “Flat Mrs. Ott” project, encouraging kids to take her flat self along with them around the house and outdoors and send photos back! Here’s a link with info if you’d like to try the “Flat Teacher” project!
And let’s not forget math…check out Ashley Hagarty’s photo of her demonstrating a math concept!
Virtual First Grade
Just as with pre-school, I can’t imagine virtually teaching first graders! But the first-grade team at Edmunds Elementary in Des Moines seems to have it all together…check out the Padlet they put together below! I love that there’s a section for each teacher, plus one with resources for keeping kids active and moving! Shelby Oelmann, a member of the team, shared her welcome video with me.
Part 2 of AMAZING REMOTE TEACHING coming soon! Highlights include:
Teacher Social Distancing Porch Visits
Virtual Classroom Decor at Home
Virtual Science (including a virtual lesson from a teacher’s backyard with caterpillar to butterfly transformation!)
Virtual Social Studies
Virtual 6th-grade Continuation
Teachers! Share your photos and examples of the amazing remote teaching you’re doing down in the comments! I’d love to feature you!
During my last year before retirement, while working as a GT Facilitator, my entire theme for my gifted and talented students was Growth Mindset. Check out this past blog on how I used this theme throughout the year. My students and I were all big Star Wars fans, and I realized the “Force” that’s prevalent in all the movies, is really just another term for Growth Mindset!
Above is the wall display we used to invite all students to write on a sticky note about how they use the FORCE in school. For your virtual day, I have changed this to a Padlet, and I’ve created a board that you can copy and use! You can either have YOU and your students post right on the Padlet board I created below, or you can copy this one and make it just for your class; use THIS LINK! Once you get to the board, just click “Remake” in the upper right, change whatever you want, and use as you wish!
No Prep activities for Star Wars Day!
Have your students dress up using any type of space/Stars Wars theme (even a T-shirt or hat) and show everyone in a virtual class meeting!
Share a link to the YouTube page with all of the original read-along cassettes now online; WITH PHOTOS!
Have your students write OR read a fan-fiction Star Wars story on kidfanfiction.pbworks.com – they can both post their story, if an account is set up for them, or just READ Star Wars stories other kids have written. If they do the latter, you can have them write a review of the story using THIS book review template!
Star Wars Trivia for kids! – This would be so fun to play live via screen share with your kids (or just asking them in a virtual class meeting!); there are several options!: