This has been the most unusual, challenging, frustrating, incredible year of my 20+ years as an educator. I’ve learned so much and I hope my students have too. I’ve had to ditch wonderful lessons I have taught for years and learn to make them digital. That was no mean feat!
The result? My students are now more technology savvy than ever before, and so is their teacher! Maybe we didn’t make it through the Geometry unit, hit Probability, or decorate the room with our Pi Day decorations. But that’s ok.
We found that we could endure, we could adapt, and in the end, have many stories to tell. My students got to see my reaction when the cat started hurling my papers off the table with his paw. They had to wait patiently when the doorbell rang, and my dogs couldn’t stop barking for like 5 minutes. And I had to hold my breath and hope my students didn’t notice that one parent walking behind his son, stretching, in his underwear.
But they also got to see their teacher smile, and laugh, and reassure them, that although we were all stuck at home for many months, it was going to be ok. I told them to think about the stories they could tell their children and grandchildren someday; what it was like to experience school during a pandemic.
In the end, it will bond us in a unique way. I do believe we’ll be fine. Learning didn’t stop. It just went down a different path. Will teachers have to reteach some important concepts, or teach the ones we missed? Sure. But don’t we do that anyway?
One of my regrets this year is that I won’t be able to teach my fun, end-of-the year travel project. Every year, after testing, when there were only a few weeks left of school, I passed out the packets of activities. Students worked with a friend, solving math problems in order to earn tickets to destinations around the world. They colored passport stamps, wrote postcards home, searched online for information about their cities, and kept track of their travel on a map. This was a fun, relaxed, review activity for 7th grade math.
So, I decided to create a digital version on Google Slides. This digital activity simulates an athlete’s journey, traveling to qualifying events, to earn their way to the Summer Olympics. The students choose their events, write a blog about their travels, and insert pictures of their cities with a Google Search. They chart their journey on a map and qualify in each event by answering questions about distributive property, adding integers, and converting fractions, to decimals, to percentages.
I have checked and double-checked this product to make sure every link works, and students are clear on how to move through the simulation. Cute, colorful, clip art was added to the slides to show scenes from Tokyo, Paris, and Sydney, Australia. I created videos for the teacher in order to help students navigate through the slides, clicking on the soccer ball to take them to the next activity.
When testing is finally over, we will be able to try this new version of my end-of-school review. It won’t be exactly the same, but then nothing has been the same this school year of 20/21. Learning doesn’t ever stop. But it can take some twists and turns along the way!
See this product in my Amped Up Store, “Kelly’s Math Slides and More…”