Distance Learning and Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 1

One of my biggest pet peeves is filling out paperwork at doctors’ offices, especially ones that I have already visited in the past.  I feel a quiet rebellion overtake me when I am given a clipboard full of forms that ask me questions I’ve already answered about everything from my gender to my health history.  I’m tempted to use biographical information from Anne Boleyn to see if anyone notices.  Birthday? 1501.  Major health issues?  Decapitated head.

In this day and age of computer technology, I have an overwhelming suspicion that the medical office database already knows more about me than I do, and that I’m just being given these sheets in the hopes that I won’t notice that I’m still in the waiting room 30 minutes past the time my appointment was supposed to begin.

I’m sure you’ve deduced that I’m making the connection between my own hatred of “busywork” and the way our students feel when they think they are being given assignments just to pass the time.  The number of homeschooling/distance learning resources out there are overwhelming right now, and many educators are spending this week coming up with plans for their students.    As Sonya Terborg, one of my favorite colleagues who I need to meet in IRL, mentions in this blog post, it is important that educators begin with the end in mind.  Mistakes will still be made, but we can avoid the largest and most predictable one – assigning busy work that will serve no purpose.

The above reasons are why I provided the COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World yesterday.  I know that many students love to share about their own experiences, and that they often like an authentic audience.  I am also hoping they will learn from what others have to say, and will gain a broader perspective.

I considered using other tech tools such as Flipgrid or YouTube, but settled on using Google Slides because of the flexibility of being able to choose if you want to add your own video or just write.

As Sonya asks in her blog post, “… what are we doing to connect them with each other in meaningful, authentic ways, and how are we supporting and planning for the same opportunities for student agency that have become so revered in the classroom?”

Here is a slide provided by one student today who has chosen to connect, and I hope that I will have many more to share in the future!  Please share this with any students you know!

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (2)

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