Friday, January 1, 2021

How I Design My Lessons in Covid Hybrid Times

 This is the 3rd installment of the #MTBoSYuleBlog.

It took me a while to figure out all the tech to put my lessons together.  I spent a lot of extra time this summer figuring it out.  I knew what I wanted, but not quite all the know-how to do it.  I stuck with it.  I was so frustrated sometimes I would scream and want to throw my computer, but I did not. The time and effort paid off and now I can just do it instead of the figuring out part.

The biggest piece I needed to figure out was how to make a video and post it so I can know the kids have watched it.  Edpuzzle does this.  Our school pays for Edpuzzle.  Okay, I knew I wanted that piece.  Our school threw Schoology into the mix this September with minimal training.  I had to figure out how to get the Edpuzzle video into Schoology.  Those were two of the last pieces I needed to get it to the kids.  Last spring I was making screencasts using Screencastify.  I made google slide shows and then voiced them over.  I had my little face in the bottom right of the screen.  I got into the groove.  However, it was a lot of time writing out make equations with my finger on my track pad.  Or, I spent a lot of time typing of equations into Google Doc and then screenshot to put it into the google slides.  Why can't Google Slides insert equations?

Bigger question - why can't Screencastify have an ipad app?  That was what I needed.  I wanted to be able to make my google slide, pull it up on my ipad so I could write on it with an apple pencil, see my little face, record it, then upload it to youtube to eventually put it into Edpuzzle and then Schoology.  I asked Twitter, I researched.  I briefly used Loom in the spring, so I tried that without luck.  I tried working in zoom, on my laptop and my ipad at the same time, writing and recording.  Too clunky. I had to make sure whatever path I chose would be as sustainable as possible because with 3 preps, I would have to make a lot of videos.  

Other teachers were ahead of us in heading back to school and people were sharing on Twitter that they were making videos galore and I was still trying to figure it out.  My frustration continued to mount.  

I finally landed with Explain Everything.  The free version only allows 3 videos so you have to keep going over them and they can only be 1 minute long.  I tried it and it was okay.  I didn't like that it just takes my google slide and turns them into a pdf anyways, but it was the best thing I could find.  Our school did pay for the version that allows longer videos and more videos.

Okay, so now, I am going to use Explain Everything except, I can hear the darn Apple Pencil tapping.  Tap, tap, tap. It was so loud, it reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe's, The Tell-Tale Heart.  I couldn't do it that way.  I went back to twitter and asked, how were people making and writing on videos.  I can't remember who saved me but someone recommended I wear a microphone so I bought it.  All of this is happening with school just days away.  There was no way I was going to have 3 libraries of videos ready.  But, I finally got the microphone in the mail and was so excited to use it.  It was the key.  You can't hear the pencil anymore.

My video process: Look at my old google slide lesson from years past and write on paper what I need.  I had to chunk things down because I wanted to keep my videos to 5-10 minutes.  I learned the hard way that Youtube won't upload them if they are longer than 15 minutes.  I noted what vocab I would need.  I decided on an order to present the material. I came up with problems to do together and then ones they could try on their own.  I typed my equations in Desmos now and dragged them into Google Slides. If I needed a graph, I made them in Desmos and screenshot them and added them in.  My videos had a title slide, an agenda slide, a Let's get ready slide, then the lesson, and all end with a recap slide.  It was like putting together a scrapbook.  I did scrapbooking back in the day - finding the right color paper to use, the right font, where to put stickers, how to cut the pictures.  I do enjoy this so I think of it that way, more like a hobby.  

Once the google slide is made I have to record it in Explain Everything.  I am doing this at home because you never know when school will have an announcement come on over the loudspeaker.  I have definitely gotten better with the recording part.  Key piece - make sure the microphone is plugged in and make sure you are actually wearing it.  I have started many a video without it being plugged in, I just clip it to my shirt.  Or the opposite, I plug it in and leave it hanging down to the ground.  Take 52!  As I am recording, I speak quickly.  The more mistakes I make, the more takes I have to do and I get faster with each one.  They say it is okay to speak quickly because the kids can stop and rewind as need be.  If I am recording and I don't think I made a mistake, I call it done.  I don't go back and listen to it because 1.) I hate hearing my voice and 2.) it takes more time.  

From Explain Everything, I upload it to Youtube.  I remember my first video that was too long.  I didn't know it was too long.  I tried to upload it. It said it couldn't.  I recorded again.  Still said it couldn't.  I recorded again, still couldn't.  When I went to Youtube to manage videos, I saw it was too long.  So, I cut some problems and fixed that. So much wasted, precious time.  Mind you I am usually recording these 2 days before I need them to be up.

From Youtube, I grab the link and put it into Edpuzzle.  I started out using Edpuzzle the way it is intended, by adding questions at certain spots.  That didn't last long.  I didn't have time to go back to all the videos and check answers.  I only use Edpuzzle to see who is watching.  

From Edpuzzle, then I upload it as a link to Schoology.  In Schoology, I have to edit it by enabling grading.  This piece took a long time to figure out.  I could get it up to Schoology but the kids couldn't see it.  Grrrr.  I knew it was one small piece I was missing - "enable grading".  Then I put it in the homework category for 4 points.  That was a lot of work.

Now that I am in the groove, it probably takes about an hour to make a lesson video above from creating the lesson to making it into a google slide show to voicing over it to uploading and linking it.  3 classes, lots of videos to be made.  I made this google slide for our virtual back to school nights for parents to view.  I don't know if anyone did.

Once that is done, then there is the actual lesson when the kids are in front of me.  I make another google slide for in class.  It starts with a title slide, an agenda slide, and then usually about 2-5 problems to do together as a class so I can model steps and speak reminders throughout the problems.  I have a lot of different math and speed abilities in my classroom, so I don't want to do too many as whole class problems.  Also, the kids do not speak.  With a mask on they are so quiet.  I can try to call on them but sometimes it becomes a staring contest as we both have our masks on and are just eyeballs trying to read each other.  It makes me miss my groups of 3 students working at the boards together like I have done with VNPS over the past couple of years.  This year I do not allow any movement in my classroom.  No one is getting up to the board or touching the markers.  It would be too complicated for contact tracing.  

After we have done our opening problems, then it is time for the workshop.  That is what I am calling it.  It usually consists of Desmos or Deltamath.  Desmos for discovery and discussion.  I can use the snapshot figure to grab and compare student work.  I am loving the feedback feature on each slide so as they are working at their own pace, it is like I am texting them and asking them to come back and check a certain slide.  We use Deltamath for the practice.  It has had most of the content I have needed.  I love the different levels.  I love everything about it.  The kids like that they get the feedback right then and there. They don't have to check an answer key.  I don't have the make an answer key, which inevitably would have a mistake or a typo and then I have to redo, rescan, and reupload.  They can watch a video at each problem if they are stuck.  They can submit a wrong or empty answer and then read through how the problem is done.  They are becoming independent learners.  I am so happy it is them typing the math equations. They have to figure out how to get exactly what they want into Desmos and Deltamath.  They are seeing the importance of a negative sign.  You know how often students do their work and drop a negative, now they can see how that changes a problem. They learn how to type an exponent and a square root and function notation and fancy brackets to limit a domain.  They are doing it!  It makes me so happy.

Here are my notebooks and folders for each class.  I can use 1 page for each lesson the right and any extra notes on the left, like who was absent or how much time things took.  You can see a page of my Acc Algebra 2 lesson with all my check lists.  I have to have check lists or I would be checking a million times to see if I actually uploaded the video and actually assigned the Desmos. Do I remember to unpause it, sometimes? My notebooks have become like journals.

As class wraps up, I ask if there are any questions, which there never are.  Maybe there is so connection or closure I need to make sure they have from the lesson and then they have to finish their desmos or delta for homework and watch the new video for next class.   

My students know it is video lesson, desmos, and delta.  I go to Schoology gradebook to see if they have watched the video lesson and give them 4 points if they did.  I go to Desmos and now with the classroom codes, I can see who has completed what.  And, I go to Deltamath and see what they completed there.  They get 4 points for each assignment. Everything is 4 points.  Even if late, just do it and get 4 points.

More on my assessments in another post. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for explaining your process! I appreciate the detail and the information on your notebooks!