First off, let me just apologize for my absence. I took on a new role at my school and my blogging skills have been put to use via bi-weekly emails of blended and online learning encouragement and inspiration. Today’s email encouraged teachers to share their work with a wider audience, then I thought…I should really take my own advice. What encourages and helps my colleague at my school just might encourage and help my virtual colleagues out there living somewhere along the information super highway.
So with that, on with the show…
Well it has been quite a week so far. A friend in the states said, “I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” I said, “Well, I think we are in the always darkest before the dawn stage.” We can’t seem to get a break, figuratively or literally. We a few short days away from Spring Break, but facing tighter lock downs. Midterm grades are looming. And we are doing our best to spread sunshine to our students at home who seemed bogged down in the grey clouds.
There are some silver linings, though.
Beam me up, Scottie!
During the pandemic our school has been not only beaming into our student’s homes for learning, but beaming experts to our school community to share their knowledge and expertise. This week our student leaders of Project Cedar (a service group dedicated to supporting school children in Beirut) hosted a lunch discussion via Zoom. Sara el Yafi, a political activist from Beirut, shared about the current crises there, as well as her personal story of the day of the fatal explosion. In the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, there are people out there running to the center of conflict to make reforms and change their countries for the better.
But it hasn’t just been Sara who has Zoomed in. Two weeks ago Linda Sue Park discussed her book The Single Shard with our grade 6’s. Today our Global Politics students will join experts at the Heidelberg Institute for Conflict Research’s Conflict Barometer. We took some risks, asked our colleagues, “Who do you know…?” and we have been able to leverage Zoom to invite in people who never would have had the time to travel here for an hour chat.
Our work doesn’t have to be just for our students. Many of you already use videos off YouTube produced by colleagues you have never met. I am forever indebted to those great teachers out there in hyperspace. Schools haven’t always had online spaces to house content, so teachers used YouTube for students to access their content.
Have you ever thought about publishing your own work on YouTube? If your video tutorials help your students, maybe they would be helpful to both teachers and students around the world? Need some inspiration? Check out our Art teacher JessIca Russo Scherr’s channel on YouTube. When I sit down to draw, and I’m struggling, I can always find a video that helps me work through it. My trees look so much better now!
TikTok and you don’t stop!
I have to admit the first time I saw one of my colleague’s TikTok videos to teach students about processes in Geography, I was skeptical. But I also know that sometimes in order to reach our students, we have to go where they are.
So how are teachers using this video platform for teaching? Check out From Headache to Helpful from Edutopia. Numerous teachers are now leveraging the power of TikTok for teaching. TikTok is a social media platform where people post 30-60 minute videos, usually dancing and lip synching. But it doesn’t have to be all dance and music. Check out this simple grammar check with Ms James. Or this brain break with PE teacher Matt Head. Or check out our very own @atypical_teacher sharing some info on the Black Death.https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js
Sage on the stage be gone!
Still not convinced you have it in you to film yourself doing the cool things you do for your students? Check out Sal Khan‘s back yard interview, creator of Khan academy and the KING of the video tutorial, on his advice for making student tutorials.
What cool things are you doing with video?