Welcome to my second post this month centered around teaching during quarantine. Today I’ll be bringing you more voices from the class of 2021 and a couple of personal realizations.
BUT before I do, I’m honored to have a guest expert share some info! Jen Wargin is an art teacher at Oak Lawn Community High School, and she is also the recent recipient of the National Art Education Association’s Western Division Secondary Art Educator of the Year for 2021!
Jen’s Tip #1: Check-in and Connect!
My favorite tool: Mood Meter! Teaching photography there are so many ways to work this into my curriculum. For example, today I had the students identify where they are on the mood meter and photograph something in that color, representing the specific mood and make it their virtual backgrounds (sample below). This gives students a self-awareness opportunity as well as social-awareness of their peers! And it tells me which students need a little extra support. Love the mood meter!
Jen’s Tip #2: What Should I be doing now?
During virtual class meetings, while students work independently, I will leave up a slide so they are aware of what they should be doing. This helps students who get disconnected or distracted! What you are doing now slide!
This week I’m seeing great success in letting the students dictate what we are learning. I’ve created Google Surveys for each of my classes, and I asked the students what they would like me to cover in the next class.
We are currently in a block/hybrid schedule, so I do not see the students every day. This allows for me to take the temp of each class, listen to student concerns, and respond accordingly.
It’s worked well so far! The students appreciate the individual response to their needs, and on the surveys I create just to learn from the students, I generally will not ask them to put their names. I know that can be risky, but I’m getting some honest, heartfelt answers that I might not have if I asked for a name.
And let’s keep it real, if they want to mess with you, the kids can lie about a name on a Google Survey anyway.
I always ask them how they are doing on the survey. I ask if they need help and what they need help with, but I always ask how they are doing. The usual answer is “Fine, thanks,” but sometimes the students need to vent; many students do not have people in their lives that ask how they are doing.
Lessons From Students
“Most of the teachers I have are perfect. But certain teachers get annoyed when you do something wrong. So instead of telling us “Hey, let’s fix this!” it’s more of you’re doing this wrong, and I’m mad about it.” -Julio C.
“Maybe incorporating some physical projects.” -Lupe L.
“I wish teachers used different ways in teaching the materials, such as switching from PowerPoints (notes) and doing activities that go with the notes. It helps the students engage more and focus better.” -Elian F.
“Teachers should be more interactive and dress up just to lighten the mood.” -Rod S.
“I wish teachers would let us use open notes on tests if it’s needed because the students at home can cheat so it makes it unfair for the students in class.” -Joyce S.
Again…some great things to think about from our students. If you have not had an opportunity to check out my last week’s post, you can find it here.
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