Distance Learning: Week One

Hello all!

I hope everyone had a great first week of e-learning whether you are a teacher doing this first your first time, a parent helping their child navigate sign ins and questions or if you are a student that is doing their best to learn in a new way. I know that it felt strange for me to have an inbox full of google classroom questions rather than a line up of students by my desk. My students got their google classroom accounts up and running last Sunday so they would be ready for Monday. I assigned them four assignments on Monday, April 6th:

  1. Math: Two hours on the program IXL working on their math skills that we were doing in class
  2. Literacy: 30 pages in their novel that they took home during the break with a series of questions to see what they have read about so far
  3. Geography: A video explaining the push and pull factors of various countries and a few questions to go with this video
  4. Science: Three videos of past student experiments from a variety of science strands asking students to describe what is happening in each video in scientific terms.

My 25 students had one week to complete these tasks and could work at any time of day that worked for them. I told them that I would be available to help with any questions they may have during regular school hours. I received many questions through google classroom and offered next steps when students handed in their work. 6 out of my 25 students asked for more work halfway through the way.

In order to gage students learning interests for the week that is coming up, I created a survey to see what they thought of the first week of online learning. These were the questions I asked them:

  1. How are you feeling today?
    1. Thumbs up
    2. Thumbs sideways
    3. Thumbs down
  2. What way do you prefer to learn a new lesson?
    1. Video chat as a class
    2. Pre-recorded lesson that I send
    3. Reading an article and answering questions
    4. Doesn’t matter, you enjoy all ways equally
  3. What subject have you been enjoying most while learning online?
    1. Math
    2. Science
    3. Literacy
    4. Geography
    5. All equally
  4. How are you feeling about the one week to work on things?
    1. Too long
    2. Too short
    3. Just right
    4. There shouldn’t be a due date
  5. What are some other ways you would like to learn online?

As a result of this survey, I found out that my students were mostly feeling thumbs up, which was good to hear! This is a new way of learning for them and I was very happy to find out that no one was feeling thumbs down. My students also commented that they do not mind what way they learn although most students said they enjoy all ways of learning. In second place was reading an article. They also commented on enjoying all subjects equal with literacy coming in second. For question four, I was very interested in this answer as I had heard some teachers teaching grade eight were not giving due dates, instead having work available. However, my students have been working all year with deadlines so I was not shocked to see that almost 100% of my students said that the one week to complete work was just right. As for other suggestions about learning online, my students are interested in doing a google hangout video/zoom chat. These have been popular with online learning and I am excited for us to try one this week coming up. I will start by asking some questions about what they have been up to and then I will ask them some questions about the novels they are reading.

I am very proud of how smoothly my students adjusted to the online learning environment. I was worried that many students would ignore the work as I am not in the room with them helping them stay on task etc. but they did very well. I also thought they would be discouraged by this type of learning environment but I am once again impressed by the amount of students that handed in their work ahead of time/on time.

For next week’s assignments, I have made similar type assignments but I have scheduled a group chat in order to support the opinions of the students that wanted that added to our online learning platform.

Although this is not the way I prefer to teach, I am happy to still reach students during this time in a way that seems to be working for them. I am enjoying being “back in the classroom” even if it is online and am enjoying having some purpose back in my day.

All the best to everyone during these challenging times. I hope you all are having a thumbs up day!



(My workspace with Milo)

Updated: April 12, 2020 — 12:51 pm

The Author


I am a permanent teacher in the HWDSB, currently teaching grade seven remotely. I will be sharing my online journey this year as we embark on this experimental voyage.

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