Our district-university partnership for teacher preparation presents me the opportunity to teach my spring English methods course in a local high school every Tuesday. The embedded field experience hours (practice) interplay with the theoretical readings and other assignments (praxis) to better prepare candidates as practitioners. This clinical model depends on the high school division chair and university instructor planning as well as mentor teacher buy-in, both of which have developed positively over the past year.
This arrangement works, until it doesn’t.
This week’s snowfall and polar vortex presented new challenges to this model when the district schools closed – and the university did not. Three emails from candidates alerted me to this problem and asked where we will meet. The university planned to be open, yes. But what about an online class? I looked at the types of engagement I wanted candidates to have with the material and decided on three ways they could interact with each other: Padlet, Google Docs, and Backchannel Chat.
During one of our planning meetings, the division chair recommended my students watch Sugata Mitra’s TedTalk “The Child-Driven Education.” Candidates used Padlet to chart ideas from this video along with their readings from Patrick Finn’s Literacy with an Attitude and 180 Days by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle. The next step was for them to take these ideas and categorize them onto a Google Doc, a strategy called Affinity Mapping – the School Reform Initiative has a nice description of this process.
Finally, we watched Sean McComb’s TedTalk “Let’s Put Compassion Before Grades” and logged onto Backchannel Chat to write reactions to the video.
I made this screencast video using QuickTime Player on the MacBook: