HomeRoom: Students MIA? Check-in with this simple guide

HomeRoom: Students MIA? Check-in with this simple guide

In This Issue...

  • Reflections from Mary Plant-Thomas, AP Bio Teacher
  • Avoiding the Dreaded Zoom Trolls
  • LINK: Resources from the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities
  • VIDEO: How to Teach Remotely with a Google Slides HyperDocs Part II
  • Resource: Distance Learning Check-In Guide
  • ~Dance Break~
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“How We'll Bridge the Gap"

Reflections from Mary Plant-Thomas, Gateway AP Bio teacher


In some ways, the first few days of distance learning were easier as a biology teacher, because this situation lends itself to so much relevant biology teaching. We took advantage of the super engaging videos being produced about the virus and the opportunities for students to see biology in action and help make sense of what’s going on in the world. And, what better opportunity to flood students with the coolest YouTube science channels out there?!

After a few weeks, however, the virus that has shut the world down gets pretty old, and even our favorite "cool science" videos are no longer that exciting. I realized that this is the point in my planning where we would be long overdue for a lab. Obviously that’s not an option, so what do we do?

I’m taking the opportunity to push myself and explore options I would have dismissed during the regular year – virtual labs, posting videos of myself doing lab demos on YouTube, designing safe labs students can try with common household items. All of this is possible because the teacher community, which has always been great about sharing resources, has really kicked into overdrive. At my school and in my teacher Facebook groups, you just see this explosion of materials and a willingness to try new things: it doesn’t matter if this is your first year teaching or you’re a teaching veteran who’s had their materials curated for decades – we’re all in new territory together.

I’m trying to hold onto the idea of “less is more,” and leaning into community collaboration with colleagues and students, even if it has to be asynchronous. It would be easy in a way to let those connections take a backseat and focus on loading up Google Classroom with as much content as possible, but the connections and relationships are what keep teachers teaching and students learning. These connections are how we’ll bridge the gap with our students to get to the other side of this.

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