Like many educators, I am experiencing remote and live instruction at the same time in my school. It is not easy, but it is possible if you are willing to make some tough changes to traditional practices. The one that has been most effective has been due dates.
Traditional models of school have assignments due on a hard date. Anything after that date is considered late and will have points taken off. The argument has been that students need due dates because work needs to be graded in a timely manner and students need to learn about due dates because they will have them in the “real world”. I know I have made a statement like this before.
Well, this approach to learning is not going to be effective right now. In the past, a teacher could get a sense of how a student was doing and if they needed extra time on their work. When the student is on the other side of the screen, it is near impossible to really know how things are going for them. Extending due dates for those students can help ease their anxiety with remote learning and allow them the grace they need to complete assignments.
If we are going to do that for remote learners, why not for all of the learners. What have I found by doing this, students are still getting the work done, they are better at communicating with me on struggles they are encountering, and some are tackling bigger projects because they know they will have time to finish it. I tell students that projects need to be submitted by the week before the end of the marking period so I have time to provide feedback and the students are very understanding. These middle school students work hard and get the work done at a reasonable time. It is only a couple of students that really need the extended time to complete the work.
Another great reason to give everyone extra time to submit work is that it removes the stigma some students might feel for asking for extra time or not turning something in on the due date. Everyone turns in their work at roughly the same time, but it is not weird for a student to need an extra class or two. Nobody thinks twice about it. That is the type of environment I want to create for my students. Nobody should feel bad about needing more time. Everyone should feel comfortable about the pace they learn. That is how we can ensure our students can be successful.
I understand that due dates are tough to move away from and the culture of learning in your school might not allow for it across the board, but I encourage all of your to consider implementing in some way to support your students at home and in your classroom.
Hugs and High Fives,