March 2021 SOLC–Day 24
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
Early today I was getting ready for our first day of remote learning. My first hint that things might not go smoothly should have been when I couldn’t air drop a photo from my phone to my computer. At that time, I just figured it was a blip. Something to try again later. I found a different resource. Then, not long afterward, I couldn’t print using wifi. I started getting a little worried. What was going on? I hardwired into the printer and kept prepping. Next, I went to our curriculum site to print out a few resources and …you guessed it…the site wouldn’t come up. This was getting concerning. I kept adjusting my plans along the way, trying to get ready for the start of the day and feeling more than a bit anxious. The portents were ominous.
Finally, the big moment arrived along with all the students for morning meeting. Earlier, I’d sent them a morning message in our Google Classroom stream telling them how much I was looking forward to seeing their maskless faces (a silver lining of remote learning). One by one they came in. And I couldn’t see them. Once there were two or more kids in the room, everyone’s video stopped working and a little message about “network connectivity” popped up.
To clarify, the kids could all see each other but I could only occasionally see one of them. Most of the time, I was looking at a grid of still photos. Thankfully, I had another adult in the room who helped me muddle through. She literally had to act as my eyes as I led students through a flashdrafting lesson. “I’m seeing lots of thumbs up, Mrs. Hogan!” “They’re all busy writing, working hard!”
I finally figured out that if I pinned a student’s photo, their video would pop up. Sometimes. So I could one by one peek at what they were doing. While trying to teach. “Ok! Now you’re ready for the first reason paragraph!” Pin. Peek. Unpin. “Remember, when you add evidence, use a transition. For example, or another example, or one time when…” Pin. Peek. Unpin. It was surreal.
The whole day went this way. In between lessons I rebooted, called my internet provider, and wrote desperate e-mails to our tech support. Then I launched into the next lesson with no idea how my students were responding other than by having them talk or by the interpretive comments of my savior Ed. Tech. or by using my pinning technique. Oh, and we wore out the “hands up” icon!
So, wow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around this day. It was the craziest experience.
The adventure of Day 2 begins at 8:45 am sharp tomorrow.