COVID-19: Teaching Scenario #2a {Online Teaching, The Set Up}

Thanks for joining me again as I discuss my second scenario of teaching elementary music during COVID-19.  My last post talked about March-May of 2020.  This two part post will address my "set up" and how/what I taught when we started school at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

My district in Colorado, along with many others, started the school year 100% online.  That is the teachers and the students all met online for instruction.  This was 2/3 of the school day.  The other third was asynchronous assignments that were pushed out via SeeSaw for Schoology.

My district uses the "Webex" platform for online instruction.  It was a learning curve for all of us.  While my husband's district allowed teachers to teach from home, my district required that teachers be in the building to give instruction and follow the normal contract day.

The first challenge was arranging a schedule where all students had the same lunch and all students were done with their online instruction by 12:45.  (12:45-3:40 was asynchronous work or teachers could pull students in small groups.). I was able to create the schedule, and for the specials end, we saw the  6 classes a day for 20 minutes each.  We had K-5 everyday, but rotated our specials on a weekly rotation.  Three of our grade levels have 3 rounds and 3 have 4 rounds.   For the classes with 4 rounds, two classes doubled up.  We staggered them so that between my teammates and myself we only had one grade level at a time that was doubled up.  For instance if I had the doubled kinder classes, then art would have the doubled first grade classes and pe would have the doubled fifth grade classes.

Then came the challenge of "the set-up".  Many of my colleagues and myself bought monitors:

For my work station, I had my laptop that I used to project PowerPoints, PDFs, etc.  The monitor was used to that I could see the students better, and was really helpful when I was screen sharing.  I used my iPad so that I could see what the students saw when I projected.  I taught to the students from the iPad- that is, that's where I would focus my eyes.  It was a little tricky because the students were on the monitor and that meant I had to keep an eye both the iPad and the monitor.

Here's the view from the other side of my work station (in all it's messy glory!).  I did invest in a laptop stand (the black metal thing on the table) so that in the afternoon I could stand to work.  Those of you that know me know that I don't sit well.

And as you can see, I went with a Star Wars theme this year.  I normally couple my theme with the school musical, but, with COVID there was no live theatre (We did end up doing a Zoomsical, which is a topic for a future blog post).

While my work area (picture above) looks chaotic, I tried to make the back ground simple and fun.  The kids loved the Star Wars theme.

This Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Stool was a great investment.  It allowed me to switch from sitting to standing while on camera with ease.  And it was great for my posture.

Another important part of my set-up was Rey: she was placed in the window of my door to indicate that I was in class.

I had a sign to indicate her purpose.  It was successful at preventing interruptions in my teaching.  It was fun to learn that she also "spooked" some of my colleagues as they walked by the door.

Tomorrow I'm going to be blogging about the activities and teaching strategies I used and learned while teaching online.

In the meantime, HAPPY TEACHING!

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