My students have been remotely learning 6th grade math for a little over a month already. Every day they tell me how much they miss being in our classroom. Here is a response one of my students wrote when asked how their remote learning experience has been so far:
"Online school has made school really complicated for me.
I would like to be in a classroom and listen to my teachers teach. It helps me when I listen to what they are teaching and regular school helps me not get distracted."
Many of my students shared this sentiment, so I've been trying my best to model our virtual classroom after the classroom they yearn for.
Teaching from home is something I never imagined I would have to do. I began remote teaching by reviewing some past skills to help my students (and myself) transition to this new way of learning. We just began our algebraic expressions and equations unit this week, so I tried introducing new concepts by providing my students with tutorial videos that I found online. However, many of the available videos are flawed. Even some of my students noticed that the language used by the instructors in the videos is not always proper mathematical language.
Trying to simulate the experience of sitting next to my students as we crowd around a collaborative activity or rigorous math problem has been a challenge.
As a result, my students are struggling to learn new concepts including evaluating algebraic expressions and solving equations in our online learning environment.
Being limited to using Google Meet for live teaching, I cannot show my work on a physical white board because it is displayed backwards on my student's screens. Instead, I've been using a touch-screen pen to write on the trackpad of my laptop. My students agree that this is not the most efficient way to teach as it takes me a long time to write and is not always easy to read.
Being able to create my own tutorial videos to show and explain each step (while using correct mathematical language) would help my students learn new math concepts. I hope that hosting live, collaborative lessons using an iPad and stylus will bring a sense of normalcy to my students during this difficult time.
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