I would have never guessed in a million years that we would be where we are today in terms of social distancing, distance learning and STAAR test cancellations. I am working through many kinks to get a good plan to assist this new paradigm, but I am very mindful of the effects this new time has on all of us. For myself, I have two children that I am now homeschooling, as well as the teaching I am working on online as well. I am so surprised at the turn of events, and I miss my students so much. Even on the hardest days, this is still what I love to do. I will work to answer your questions as best as I can, but I definitely prefer being able to point to the area you're having trouble in and guiding you through it step-by-step and face-to-face. Where we can hear each other and see the problem together, but I will face this new challenge with courage and I ask you to do the same. I will put pictures when I can on the assignments, and videos too when I get that piece sorted out where I can handle it a little more effectively than my current set up allows.
The daily agenda in class includes "bell work" that students either copy down information directly from the screen or that we go through together. These bell work grades for your student should be in the high 90s to 100. We literally copy them down or I go over the answer in class. I am walking around the room, guiding, correcting, instructing: "Don't leave #7 blank, Bobby." "The Thesis needs two reasons as well as a position." "I see you missed yesterday's answer. Are you going to catch up with the bell work book at the front of the room or do you need to come in for more help?" When students simply do not or will not write on their paper, their grade will reflect that. Bell work is not designed to be difficult, but to warm up their brains for the lesson. They are designed to be a refresher on the otherwise most difficult tasks we do. However, we handle it in a simple way, such as taking notes or discussing it together as a class.
Here's an example of how this works in my class: The bell work paper the students get on Monday of the 1st or 4th week of the six weeks reads: "#7. Bobby said, 'Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.' A:____________" The answer to this is repetition.
The students have a colored sheet that has Figurative Language terms, definitions and examples. The example on the chart for repetition also happens to be (word for word) what #7 asks, but this is not the case for every question. So I will call on one student:
Me: "Suzie, what is the answer for #7?"
S:"I don't know." (Very rarely does a student become non-compliant with this, but it does occasionally happen.)
Me: "We don't say I don't know, we ask for more information or we ask to repeat the question. Look at your blue chart, Suzie."
S: (Looks at blue chart.)
. . . If this seems to be daunting or she's not scanning it at all, I'll point to the top half, bottom half, flip to the back, etc. To offer more guidance. This is a rare occurrence, but I use it as an illustration to inform on how I handle students who "just don't get it". . .
S: (locating the answer, reading the definition, seeing the example used is also the question for today) "Oh! There it is! It's repetition."
Me: "Good! 'Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow' is using repetition. Good. Did everyone get 'repetition'?
With this illustration, all students--non-compliant students, students who struggle, students who are dyslexic, students who need extra help, students who struggle with language barriers--everyone ends up hearing and writing the correct answer. All bell work grades should be high. Every time. If they are not high, the student is simply not putting their pencil down on the paper and writing the answer in class.