My wife and I recently travelled to California to adopt a four week old little boy. It was a quick process, and many pieces were left up in the air at home, most notably, what do I do with my classes? Prior to this year I would have slapped together a worksheet, a project, or just labeled my days away as “free time.” Seeing as my life was about to make a major shift, perhaps nobody would have blamed me for not focusing on creating authentic lesson plans for my math students. This, however, is no longer an excuse. With all the tools available to us to teach lessons that kids can access online, it’s no longer okay to pass out busy work, when students can and should continue progressing and learning new concepts.
The Monday morning I was out, I woke up at 4:30 (my new son’s wake-up call) and put together a ShowMe presentation on algebraic expressions whose link I emailed to students before heading back to bed. Upon my return I checked in with the students to see if they had understood the lesson and the work associated with it, and each student was able to show that they had understood the lesson and could apply what they had learned. It was an example of the best of both worlds, I get to bond in person with the newest edition to my family and also do virtually what I love…teach.