COVID-19: Teaching Scenario #2b {Online Teaching, The Instruction}

Welcome back for part two of synchronous teaching online. 
From August through September 30 my school was completely online learning. I had 20 minute periods with each grade level.  We have three rounds of grade levels (in the previous post I mentioned that grade levels that had 4 rounds of classes doubled up so that one of the three rotations actually had two classes in the meeting.  We did a weekly rotation, which means we saw the same kiddos for a week and then we rotated.  We saw them Monday-Thursday with this schedule and then Fridays were allotted for asynchronous learning and teacher planning.

During this time I made a modified lesson plan, so that I had a "formula" for each lesson.

For each lesson I included the following:
  • Greeting or opening song.  This was sometimes a known song or it was a chance for me to build song literature that we would use in the coming week(s).
  • Vocal exploration.  To streamline this I made a set of Vocal Explorations for Google Slides. I used the same one for every class and the students really got into them.  Most of the slides that I made were inspired from student ideas.
  • Echo or Call-Response: this was a great way to get the kids standing and moving as most had some sort of movement.  I also used this as a way to assess individuals.  When we first started using Webex, the host had the ability to unmute people.  So, I would sing the call and unmute one person, assess their response or echo, mute them and unmute the next student.  Fortunately this feature lasted through October, at which point the "request to unmute" feature was enabled.
  • Song with melodic or rhythmic concept #1.  In this block we would focus on melody or rhythm. At the beginning it was used for review and then moved into a preparation block for a new element.
  • Change of Pace (I love this term from Susan Brumfield.  If you don't have Susan's "First We Sing" teachers book, get it now!  It's the best ~$20 you'll spend!) This second was a game with movement.  We got up out of our seats and did a traditional game or a modified game if the original game didn't lend itself to online play.  One of my favorite memories was a mom and grandma hoping in with their third grader to play "Fire on the Mountain" around the kitchen table!  They were having a blast!
  • Song with melodic or rhythmic concept #2.  In this block we did the opposite concept of song block one; that is, if song block one was rhythm, this block was melody and vice verse.
  • Song tale or book: this was how we concluded each block.
Now you might be thinking that's a lot for 20 minutes.  Here are a few things to consider: 
  • Online teaching=less classroom management issues.
  • Singing a warm-up song, in which the song is usually about 30-40 seconds, allows 5 repetitions in 2.5 minutes.
  • With the vocal exploration, I didn't use every slide, and this took about 1 minute.
  • The echo or call-response songs aren't usually over a minute long.  If you're doing assessment with it, it might take 90 seconds.
  • The "Change of Pace" lasted about 1.5-2 minutes.
  • The closing song was 2.5-3 minutes
All of the above takes less than10 minutes. This allows 10 minutes for the "meat and potatoes" of the lesson.  I usually would spend about 6 minutes with the Melodic/Rhythmic block #1 and 4 with the Melodic/Rhythmic block two.

Another thing I did was log into class 10 minutes early.  As students came in, I was able to chat with them about how they were doing, what they were up to, etc.  Then I always started the class right on time.

Some of the strategies I used for teaching online were
  • First, and most important, make sure they had a good time.  I wanted to make sure that they were glad they came to class.
  • Adapt games for maximum engagement.  For instance, with kindergarten, when we played "Grizzly Bear" they would "scare" at the end and I would pretend that they scared me so badly that I fell down, or jumped out of the view of the screen.
  • Allow for tech issues, but also make sure all tech is working before class starts.  I made sure that all the online resources that I was going to show the kids were up in different windows so that when I went to screen share I could select the file that I wanted rather than having to hunt for a file.
  • The other BIG thing I did was give myself grace.  Things were going to go wrong that I had no control of (for instance Webex crashing on my laptop).
I'd love to hear some of the strategies that you put in place for synchronous online learning!

Tune in next week to hear about hybrid learning.

Happy teaching and music making!!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.