As my online teaching journey continues, I find myself always thinking about the importance of reaching all students.
Last week, I noticed I only had about 13 out of 31 students participating daily. I wouldn’t see the other students writing in the chat, posting in the discussion section or raising their hand to speak on the mic. I started to worry if they were even in front of the screen during our calls. I started to think about solutions to this problem. I contacted every family in the class to touch base about their child’s online participation. Not even one hour later, I noticed a huge change in my entire class. I know this motivation came from a parent this time, but in the future I believe it could turn into self motivation. I received 25 out of 31 responses in math, 18 readers for our online novel, nine more short story submissions and six students speaking on the microphone for the very first time. To top it all off, this was happening on a Friday afternoon!I wondered if Friday was just going to be a one off and students would go back to their bystander ways in the future, but participation during these past two days have been better than ever. Not only that, my original 13 that participate so much (since the first day) are always encouraging everyone that is just starting to participate. The environment could not get any better!
We started off this week talking about goal setting and the importance of student participation in the classroom. Every Monday, students would set a goal that they hope to achieve by Friday. On Friday, I will ask students to type in the chat or use the microphone to share if they met that goal. If they did not, their classmates will help them brainstorm ideas for them to reach it the next time.
I know teaching new concepts is something that I can do during math, language, etc. but I love when the students get to hear from each other on that microphone or in the chat. In math, I find students teaching each other concepts before I am even quick enough to reply. In language, students are congratulating each other about their reading abilities before I even think to do so. My favourite moment of last week was in drama when a student gave away his turn because he wanted someone else to have a turn who had not participated yet. I constantly feel like crying tears of joy because of the supportive environment my class has created.
I look forward to continuing this online journey as I know I have a group of hardworking, goal oriented, passionate and kind students. I am so fortunate to be on this learning journey and I am learning that the online environment really is turning out to be an incredible place for student growth. I cannot wait to share another great success story!