Bobby Oommen teaches middle school computer science and is the eighth grade team leader. He has been at Latin since 2015.
What did the middle school do in terms of remote learning preparation?
We focused on one component of the GOA, Global Online Academy, learning to learn online course. And that was specifically, how do you organize your workspace at home? What does it look like and how do you remove the distractions? Secondly, we had different times throughout the first semester where we were trying to help the kids organize their digital selves. We've talked about Showbie, LMS, RomanNet, Gmail, etc. Now that so much of We had different times throughout the first semester where we were trying to help the kids organize their digital selves.
Bobby Oommen, Middle School Computer Science your portfolio is online, how do you best organize your digital self? And going into the second semester, we're going to continue to give them opportunities to delete apps that you're not using, respond to emails, archive things, put things in folders that you're no longer in need of, unsubscribe to emails that are no use to you and are distracting you through the day. So organizing your digital self is one of the big things that we talk about–really emphasizing the established routines, using Calendly for appointments, most of us use Showbie, and then again, continuing to use their planner. That's what we did as far as preparation and going into remote learning.
How can remote learning help us learn about our students?
Remote learning provided additional data points regarding students and their task understanding, their task initiation and their task follow through.
Bobby Oommen, Middle School Computer Science
Middle school is many things, right. But I also like to think of it as a collection of data points. Remote learning provided additional data points regarding students and their task understanding, their task initiation and their task follow through. It also provided data points for emotional and physical wellness. So when I say data points, that may be a little bit, you know, what is he really referring to? I'm talking about both qualitative and quantitative data points.
How are you using these data points with the students?
We're going to be encouraging the eighth graders to do this second semester. And I'm hoping that for other grade levels that your students can start to be thinking about this. We're trying to get the eighth graders to use those data points to create self-reflection questions. So for example, regarding task understanding–“do I participate in class?; what do I do when I don't understand something?”–really getting them to think about where am I as a student in regards to task understanding. In regards to task initiation, getting the middle schoolers as a whole to say like, “all right, when the teacher gives me a task, do I set meetings with teachers?; what's preventing me from doing so?; when I get an assignment and I don't need to meet with a teacher, am I initiating it?; when?; do I wait till the last minute?” It’s like getting kids to think about themselves as learners. And then finally one question that they could ask for task follow-through is like, “do I turn assignments in?; is there a gap between me finishing an assignment and then submitting it?; what's blocking me from doing that?” We think it's super important, especially to help them reflect...
How can I encourage my child to use these data points and ask themselves these questions?
Is this child, is this student ready to transition successfully to high school? There is a fine line between helping your child develop the skills they need and over helping, right? What also confuses that fine line is that at a certain point, they don't want to hear your helpful feedback, right? Like that's just part of the journey of middle school and there are kids along the different spectrum of that. So there's that fine line of like equipping them. I would just encourage us as parents to take your observations, your data points from remote learning. When you look at your child, where are they in terms of task understanding? Do they understand what's assigned to them? Where is your child in regards to task initiation? Do you see them regularly setting meetings with teachers? Do you see issues or roadblocks for them? What are those roadblocks? Do you see them following through on tasks? If not, what's preventing them from doing so? If they are, how can you encourage that more? Taking your observations as parents from remote learning, because you see behind the scenes the things that we as teachers can't see, and using those to form questions. Hey, so-and-so uh, how are you, how was class today? How'd you participate? Do you raise your hand at all? Yeah, no, you didn't. What's preventing you from doing so? For me personally, I have found just in asking those questions rather than telling my kids what to do. I find out some of my kids have social anxiety and it doesn't take place in the classroom, but it takes place being online or another one of my kids kind of switched and vice versa. We're going to use those remote learning takeaways as a team to help formulate what we need to do to best transition kids to high school. Hopefully, there are some pieces there that you already are doing, but maybe there are some you could use as well as we continue and finish up the second semester.
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