A Few Small Moments

#sol21- April 27, 2021

It is always the right time to try something new, right? We have been in and out of online school this year with the latest round starting February 23. A few weeks ago I had a brilliant idea- student co-hosts on Zoom. I pick a learner via our ever popular cup of named popsicle sticks and the one chosen can continue to admit latecomers, remind students to keep cameras on, and be the one to share their screen to demonstrate something on the whiteboard- win-win! T was our first one and he brilliantly demonstrated partitioning a number line to place add corresponding fractions. Learners are rushing to be in on time because they know the stick is picked at exactly 8.

Play time has long been a thing at the end of our Zooms, even if only for a few minutes before learners who want extra support stay on Zoom to work together, but Friday afternoon Zooms are now extra special because everyone who wants to stay to play gets to be a co-host and they all scribble and draw on their whiteboards gleefully sharing with the others.

In preparation for April Fools Day a few weeks ago the learners who stayed to play wanted to be allowed to go into a breakout room to plan a prank. Several pranks were played and one never seems to lose its appeal as multiple learners enter with my profile picture and name.

Today’s small moment… They LOVE to use the chat, but are not always using it helpfully, so today I decided to have them all use the chat purposefully. “Think of one thing that has helped you get through this lockdown (we started a curfew April 14 and a very strict lockdown the next day).”

“Now I want you to type it in the chat, but do not press enter yet,” I shared. “I will count backwards from five and then say ‘go’ for you to press enter.”

“Can it be a person?” T asked.

“Sure, ” I confirmed.

I typed in my word and then began the countdown. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, enter.”

The words showed up and almost everyone listened when I reminded them that they should only share their word once.

“That was the coolest thing ever” L said. Yet another reminder why I love this class so much- all of these tiny things thrill them.

10 thoughts on “A Few Small Moments

  1. Oh, Erica, such sweet experiences. They sound like a great class. I love that they are so enthusiastic. I heard someone call that a wordfall, what you did with the chat. All at the same time, they drop into our chats, like a waterfall of words. Great idea to allow a child to be the cohost. That is so awesome that it gets them scurrying to class on time to get a chance to be chosen. Nice slice of yours and your students’ lives today. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Erika, I love so much about this slice! The way you’ve empowered your students is absolutely incredible, and I can’t help but believe it has paid dividends beyond what you might have imagined. It’s my hope that Zoom meetings will soon be a thing of the past, but if not, I will certainly use some of these techniques. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Aaww, I love this so much, Erika! It is clear you’ve cultivated a trusting and engaging classroom community. Isn’t it amazing to recognize something “small” like pressing enter all at the same time can profoundly move someone? While it was special for you, it was certainly special to your students. I’m so thankful you’ve shared with us! 🙂

  4. What wonderful ideas! You are amazing, still thinking of new ways to engage students even in the midst of a lockdown. I agree with others – your students will always remember this years from now.

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