Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Virtual Days

March SOLC

I posted yesterday's slice, got everyone's lunches packed, went upstairs to take a shower, and then found out we were having a Virtual Day due to the weather. So, with grit in the air we stayed home.

In the evening the decision was made to call school again  due to continued poor air quality and sand storm. So, my job is to continue to have rigor, virtually.

How does it work? We do have a student management system, but it limits my styling (font, layout, etc.) so I stick with Google. I send my students an email with all of their tasks for the day outlining each task, embedding links, reminding them how to name Google Docs, etc. I also try to record a Read Aloud to keep the flow of our day similar to 'normal' and to add something, that hopefully, isn't drudgery. If I am simply doing audio I use Audacity and when I want to read a picture book I post it to YouTube and send the link.

Yesterday they had their 'bell work' which they shared with me on a Google Doc. I then sent them the answers and let them correct their own using a different color to show what was original and what was corrected. Then we read (just like at school). The one bonus was they had the opportunity to do some research for a writing project without me having to book the computer lab!

Currently, in math, we are reviewing for a unit test. I had them take a picture of the previous night's homework and send it to me. (I didn't actually have to read it, just see that they had done it, but I didn't tell them that.) Once I saw they had done the work I sent them the answers so they could correct their work. If they missed anything we chatted about it to make sure they were clear and understood their mistakes. They then had links to some further review problems. I am thankful this is all final review because otherwise I would have been dragging out the old white board I have hidden in storage and had to video tape a lesson to no one (and keep the two year old from interrupting).

Then it was time for Read Aloud. We have been reading A Wrinkle In Time, but I didn't have my copy at home. The day had been announced with very little time to put anything together plus my daughter was wanting my attention. The solution? I read a picture book to my little one and recorded a video with Windows Live Movie Maker at the same time. Once it had posted to YouTube I added the link to my email. I then posted some wondering questions about the book Benito's Dream Bottle by Naomi Shihab Nye with pictures by Yu Cha Pak.

Benito's Dream Bottle

I added reminders to not go playing outside, which specialist teachers they should have work from, and to drink water - it helps the brain work. That was Virtual Day Sandy Style.

For Virtual Day Sandy Style Part Two I have asked them do their 'bell work' and read. Our writing activity for the day is to draft their Science Fair answers for the judges. They will do this individually, in their science notebooks. I will then have them Skype as a team and create one Google Doc with their team's answers. They can work collaboratively and ensure they all agree with the answers.

We will continue to review for the math unit test. I had planned for a great amount of differentiation this week as some students will nearly need to relearn the material while others do not even need to take the test as they 'aced' the chapter tests. I am working to recreate some differentiation for their virtual tasks, though I know it won't be as elaborate. The main thing I am working to achieve is a further level of application for those students who already grasp the concepts. They do not need to be doing 'busy work'.

I now have A Wrinkle In Time available at home so we can continue our adventure on Camazotz. (They have only arrived and are headed down into town.)

Our Explorers unit in Social Studies is nearing culmination. Today they will have a chance to think about what places are there left to still be explored. (Again, the added bonus of not having to book a computer lab for them to have resources readily available to explore their thoughts.) For this they can choose to put notes in their S.S. notebook, if it is at home. Otherwise they need to create a Google Doc as a place holder for their information.

Finally I will share this link with them, as a surprised bit of levity. You should check it out too.


  1. Kristi,
    Wow, talk about the Jetsons! Did you ever see that cartoon. Everything in their life was computerized.
    I take it all your students have access to computers and the Internet from home. Is this the norm where you are?
    I loved this line the most...it is actually what I wrote about today.

    "The main thing I am working to achieve is a further level of application for those students who already grasp the concepts. They do not need to be doing 'busy work'".

    I love that you are extending your kids, even from home.

  2. Great for you for not making it drudgery. You put some fun into it. THanks for sharing your day - that's an interesting way to teach.

  3. This is so interesting! You took what could have been a dreary boring day of roe work and made it truly interactive. Good for you!

  4. I am amazed at how you can continue school in this situation. What a change from free play on snow days.

  5. Can I come be in your class? That drawing game was so much fun!! Mom

  6. Like Elsie, I was surprised too that you continue to have school. It is a little Jetson-like, as Wanda suggested. How incredible, though. You get to continue school all because of current technology. Wow, you're a super-teacher. :)

  7. Oh, Kristi, you should have assigned them to read and vote on poetry at ThinkKidThink.com. It's just right for this age group!

  8. Kristi,
    This post was extremely interesting to me because of all the ways you used technology. I know it's there but having to use it in such a creative way to cover what you needed to teach made it real-thanks for sharing!