As a parent, and as a teacher, my priorities have always been: 1. Be safe. 2. Be happy. 3. Learn something.
I have to trust my district and my superintendent that we’re safe at school. I ensure my students wear masks, wash hands like Lady MacBeth, and socially distance. I’m well trained and know how to ensure that they learn some science. But the focus this year is being happy, something we now call social-emotional learning.
And well it should be. Last spring, we built an ark while the flood was already upon us. I don’t know about you, but I barely kept my head above water. I cried every day with worry for my students. I phoned, emailed, chatted on Zoom, and followed through. I don’t think I’ll ever know if it was enough.
With hybrid, asynchronous, synchronous, distance, or face to face learning – whatever permutation your district dreamt up – we have to focus on SEL. I have a few plans for my own students – things I thought of back in the spring but didn’t have time or resources to implement as well as programs and activities I’ve heard about since then.
- For starters, I’m holding off on teaching science for at least a few days. I’m going to put all of my energy into forming relationships with my students. Of course, we do that every year as professional educators. But this year, the drive is more focused. The science will wait. If they don’t learn mitosis this year, that’s OK.
- Getting to Know you activities are filling my first week’s lesson plans. Find a partner and get to know them, then introduce them to the class kinds of activities. Things we can do remotely or socially distanced. Decorate this beaker with the stuff that matters to you. Do this hashtag activity to let me know where you see yourself in20 years. Partner up and solve the puzzles in this digital escape room. Use a Pear Deck to drag an icon in a game of This or That. Help them get to know each other with a Kahoot about their favorite things. Anything I can think of to get them talking to each other and to me.
Priorities. Just keep telling myself that.
What are you doing to help your students this year?