Did you ever watch MTV's True Life? Where they would show the unseen, little known aspects of activities, subcultures, and more. I know I watched it more than a couple of times. This post is going to be a True Life style look at what it is really like to be back for the first day of classes with students, and a few tips on how to make it the best day.
Goal- Students walk in early for class with smiles on their faces, into a Pinterest-perfect classroom. Reality- Students are exhausted because they haven't woken up this early since June. They start their day frustrated because unlocking a new locker is hard. Despite working non-stop for the last ten days, you look at your classroom and see all the ways it could be better. Tip- Your day will start the way you want it to. Ignore the imperfections in your room, because your kids don't notice them. All they know is you took the time to set things out on their desk, smile at them, and say good morning while offering to help them wit…
This year, I was able to teach our first class of AP Computer Science Principles. It was some of the most fun I have had teaching, though that is not to say it didn't have it's challenges. It was challenging to have days without internet when we were programming on a cloud based platform. It was challenging to have 5 snow days in the months before the AP exam. It was challenging to have Prom on the Friday before digital portfolios were due.
When I started this course, I was thrilled to have almost 30% of the senior class enrolled. This year it was all seniors. They were excited for something new, and from the beginning identified that CS would be important in their futures somehow. I had them take a survey on the first day to get a baseline. I tried to get them to take the survey again on the last day, but anyone who teaches second semester seniors knows I didn't get a response from all of them.
Since my survey data is a little lacking, I would like to share with you a few…
I'm not sure what part of the country you live in, but I live in a part where it snows. Growing up in New England, we missed a lot of school. We had days where it was snowing, days when everything had iced over, and days when pipes froze. All these days required us to have "snow days". This was all before the age of 1:1 technology in schools.
Things have changed. Instead of snow days, we now have cyber days.
Here are my top 3 ways to take advantage of cyber days!
#1- Have a plan. Make sure your students know how you will be communicating with them. Should they expect an email? Will you post an assignment on your LMS? Will it be posted on Google Classroom? Make sure you have established a plan with your students (and guardians) before the first flake falls.
#2- Use discussions. Find a way to be available to communicate with your students. Initially I held "email office hours" and told students I would be available between certain times to answer their questions.…