In 7th grade, we teach two levels of math, a grade-level class (Standard) and a class that covers some additional 8th grade content (Extended). I have written two posts already about how we took some first stabs at transitioning to digital/virtual teaching. The posts I have written before focused on our first week of work with our Standard students who are using their first few weeks of digital learning to review power standards. With the Extended classes, we were tasked with teaching new material, material that the students had not seen before.
As we looked at transitioning from brick-and-mortar to a virtual/digital model, my colleague and I began with things we had already created, the “By the end of” documents. Since we teach selected 8th grade algebra content in the last quarter of the year, in between MCAS, MCAS prep, MCAS recovery, and the inevitable mole-whacking that characterizes the end of the school year, I began with the “By the End of” documents we had already created, with curated resources, to create this new version. I have documented my attempts in this post for others to learn from and improve upon my mistakes. Believe me, you will have plenty to improve upon!!
When we first learned that we would be teaching digitally, I started drafting a “present” for Irene, my amazing colleague–I tried to make a single hyperdoc of the content on linear equations by combining the content of four topics, plus some additions and new approaches.
It became clear that having all four topics in one hyperdoc was way overwhelming! I pulled them apart again and we went back to one topic per week and one topic/week per hyperdoc, with some changes in the hyperdoc/”By the End of” format.
An Opportunity for New
Long before COVID-19 upended our professional lives, Irene and I had been talking about some changes we wanted to make to our shared practice:
- we wanted to build opportunities for self-assessment on the part of the students, with the goal of building self-awareness (helping students know what they do and do not know)
- we wanted to make the “By the End Of” documents both more supportive (i.e., being more targeted in the material we list, the problems we name, etc.) and also more independent (this would come from a combination of being both more supportive and more interactive, with students more directly responding to the material we include on the documents)
- we wanted to build, create, and curate more video resources–curating resources was a recommendation from a student in my recent professional development course with a virtual school
Right now, the entire 7th grade is sharing a single Google Classroom, so Irene and I can’t use our daily announcements to communicate with our students, nor to create an interactive practice in this world of digital learning. This has lead to some new practices on our part in our “By the End of” hyperdocs: