In Russia, we have a very good saying: “Man proposes and God disposes”. In English, it is “Man plans, and God laughs”. I did not want to use the second version of this saying because it is not the time for laughing. As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, people’s everyday life has been changing tremendously.
I had my plan of action on how I will learn during Course 1 and implement new ideas and new tools in class. Suddenly, our life became hectic, the plans were changing every day. So, I could not find a minute to sit, read and reflect. Now, after the first week of distance learning, I was ready to come back to my COETAIL learning (on Thursday, I had a few hours to read and think).
BUT on Friday, I started my working day at 06:30 and finished at 23:19. I have only 1 hour break (16:00-17:00), when I actually had my lunch or dinner, I am not sure.
My takeaways from reading Resources were:
Relevant to the students
When I am planning a new unit or think about learning engagements I need to find the topic that is relevant to students today. I am a World Language teacher, and we, as adults and educators always choose the topic, texts, videos that we think would be useful for our students. Probably, it would be interesting to ask students what they want to learn.
I agree that students’ motivation will be increased if they know the audience. When we had a Russian school to communicate with, the students were engaged fully in writing letters, in preparing a presentation about our school because they knew that the real Russian kids would come, and they would give them a tour.
It is challenging to develop a real-world task as well as an age-appropriate task, especially in the lower primary and in a foreign language (in my case). We are teaching skills and knowledge that will allow them first to survive in a country and then maybe to enjoy living in this country. We teach them not only a language, but we also try to give them a taste of culture, explaining some phenomenon, finding similarities and differences, teaching them to be tolerant of things that are different or do not understand.
“How have you planned for tech-rich learning in the past?”
I am a Russian language teacher in Elementary School.
What have I used in the past?
Smart-board games that we were creating as a department.
- To teach new vocabulary
- To teach how to read and write
The results were incredible. My five years old Russian learners were able to read (recognize?) the main vocabulary and write familiar words, phrases, and sentences in Russian after one-year learning, using these games.
BUT the software was updated, and WE HAD LOST all the games that we have created for the last three years. It was such a pain and discourage.
What tech-rich lesson I am facilitating
Now the school buys different apps such as Linguascope or FluentU that support the learning of vocabulary and structure. The problem is that Linguascope is developed for the total beginners for the Russian language and it can be used for a while and this app does not allow practicing vocabulary in context and does not have different levels for the Russian language.
Another problem that I have was FluentU subscription policy. I can have a subscription as a teacher, but I can not subscribe to my students.
This week and the other 5 weeks is going to be distance learning. All learning engagements will be through Seesaw. This platform is familiar to my students. And so far, the results are incredible.