Covid 19: How Can I Teach You? Let Me Count the Ways, pt.1

What a whirlwind the past 13 months have been?!!!  I believe I have seen about every teaching situation possible this year. In this series of blog posts, I'm going to share with you my teaching scenarios.  I'll talk about how I adapted my teaching and how I kept the joy of music making my number one priority,

When we shut down last March, I had just returned from the OAKE National Conference in Portland, OR where I was the cochair.  I remember sitting at dinner with some dear friends from Washington and they talked about how their schools were closing for quarantine.  Getting on the plane to return to Colorado, people were wiping down their seats, and at this time, not wearing masks.  I had a student teacher that was finishing up and his last day was to be March 13, the day we all went into quarantine.  With spring break only a week away, we were given the directive to not worry about pushing out content until we returned in April.

Returning in April, no one knew what we were in for!  I remember at one of the first staff meetings we were told it would only be a few weeks for the quarantine.  Uh huh.

As specials teachers, we were allowed to push out assignments on SeeSaw and Schoology, but nothing we pushed out was required.  I tried to make sure that what I was pushing out would be activities that students would WANT to do, such as this Little Miss Muffet assignment:

This activity was for kindergarten and first grade classes.  With the older students I created a master list of fun links to sites such as Music Chrome Lab, Play a Tune on Boomwhackers, etc.  I also started the daunting task of making video recordings of all my grade level sets.  The videos were added to the existing sets in my store, as well as posted individually.  My friend, DeAnna Clink of Clink Klapp Music, helped me out A LOT with that task.

We ended the year like everyone else, not being able to go back to school.  For the first time in my teaching career I was told not to give grades.  The hardest part of teaching March-May 2020 was that I was unable to connect with my students other than SeeSaw and Schoology.  I did push out weekly videos to them and encouraged them to video me back. While some did, with the overwhelming situation we were in, our families were just trying to figure out what would become our new normal.  I believe, for me, this was the hardest scenario for teaching.  We know that teaching is all about student relationships and I was unable to foster those.

I'm looking forward to sharing with you more of my COVID-19 teaching situations in the future.  In the meantime, I hope that you are finding joy in teaching your students (regardless of your situation).  Lamar Robertson once told me that when he left to give presentations, his late wife would always tell him, "Make them glad they came."  While our teaching situations have changed so much in the last year, we must remember that music is an aesthetic art that is felt and can connect us.  So, make them glad they came!

Happy teaching!

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