I’m currently a distance learning teacher. I teach incoming first graders on Zoom. Our day together starts at 9:00 and goes until 11:45. The second half of the day consists of a special and some at home work that I assign. Every other Wednesday will be asynchronous learning for students while we teachers have grade level meetings, professional development, and some planning time. The kids in my first grade class are beyond adorable and they (and their families) are working so hard, but I keep wondering how much is enough and how much is just too much for this kind of on screen learning for our youngest learners.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve attended a lot of webinars and workshops and meetings and family Zoom calls over the past six months, and I have trouble staying focused when these sessions go beyond two hours even when the content is interesting and meaningful and the speaker is dynamic (If I’m being honest, I’d say an hour might be my max right now.).
I’m trying to make my Zoom teaching and learning look and feel like the good in-school workshop teaching and learning that we have been striving for when we are in the building. I try to engage students in the learning, teach them something, try it together, and then send them off to work independently. I end each section of the day by calling everyone back at for some kind of share. This goes pretty well during the first part of our morning, but as we near the break, I can see that kids are getting tired, they take a while to come back to the screen, some keep their cameras off for a bit longer. The break seems to help, but after another 30 or so minutes on screen again, I can see the attention fading (theirs and mine). I give a movement break, I try to be more entertaining, I try to schedule more active learning, but they are tired.
Maybe it’s just the beginning of the year.
Maybe the kids just need to build stamina.
Maybe I need to find new ways to engage them and hold their attention.
Maybe I should cut back.
Maybe it’s too easy.
Maybe it’s too hard.
This will be my year’s work, so I’ll be tweaking and tuning until we get it just right.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
We are in this together!