Thank You, 2020!

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66
@Sr_Ojeda

The end of the year is a special time.  Starting with November’s Thanksgiving celebrations, we begin to publicly acknowledge our gratitude for those who have inspired and challenged us. However, this year has been different, and much more stressful, than past years. Typically, there would be social media threads dedicated to enhancing collaboration and mutual support, but this holiday season, social media has been full of messages about how 2020 is a year to forget, not to be thankful for. 

Christmas is approaching, and I am already beginning to hear voices clamoring not to celebrate it or even mention it. I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I also know that the end of the year is a special time when we love to feel closer to the important people in our lives. There is nothing religious about that, and celebrating does not hurt anyone.

We teachers always want to motivate and empower our students, especially when they may be feeling defeated in their academic, social or family lives. We are aware that we are responsible for academic content, but we also know deep down that nothing teaches more than the constant support we give our students through a positive and hopeful attitude. However, I keep finding the same kinds of messages: “2020 is to forget. 2020 has been the worst year in the history of the world. There is nothing to celebrate in 2020. I hope 2020 will end soon.”

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The Battle Over Cameras During Distance Learning

By Alexis Buschert
@SrtaBuschert

My large public-school district outside of Portland, Oregon started the school year with 100% comprehensive distance learning, and for now it will continue through at least February. From the beginning, I knew there would be a constant battle with students about using their cameras, so I decided I would not require them during class. I was aware, though, that many teachers would disagree with me. Indeed, there are many teachers who voice concerns over the absence of student faces on their screens, and I understand why teachers feel this way. But the battle over cameras is not worth fighting.

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4 Hybrid Teaching Strategies to Engage Your Students in School or at Home

By Elena Spathis
@elenaspathis


My district, like so many others, opted for a hybrid model this fall, combining in-person classes in the mornings with online classes in the afternoons. As you can imagine, I realized quickly that I had to rethink my methods, get creative, and be innovative. 

My Spanish classes have always been communicative and collaborative. I want my students to immerse themselves in the language by using it with each other because what’s the sense in me talking at them and them zoning out? So, I have always focused on interactive paired or group tasks that make my classes flow. But due to the current restrictions limiting student group size and mandating social distancing, accomplishing this became more challenging. I knew I had to think differently about how I could truly engage my students in person and online. Fortunately, I found four ways to meet the needs of classroom-based and online student groups. 

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