online learning,  Professional Development,  Teacher Reflection

(almost) Back and Ready to go.

The time has come. I have been actively burying myself in other tasks, worries and focus areas, but it is time to focus – school is going to start soon and I really need to be ready to go. I have been really enjoying having some 1990s alternative music on my running playlist and this song by Republica somewhat sums up some of the ways I have been feeling and thinking – being back, being ready to go, shouting it out that we are going to make it! But mostly about my mental state – I am trying to put aside the negativity and anxious feelings that sit next to me on a regular basis – and to focus on the positivity, the awesomeness and the ways in which I can take things on and be Ready to Go.

Ready to Go by Republica (spotify link)

This blog post is in response to an online learning module that was created for our ISB staff to complete prior to coming into our week of teacher-staff focused work before we welcome students into ISB on Sept 1st. The focus of this module is about better understanding how we are going to work online, offline, blended and the rest and to allow us time to work at our own pace to complete readings, activities and to complete our assessment task that includes this reflective blog post.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the Summer/Winter break – I have really got into a range of books and ideas but currently have been reading the series The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith with its main character a Philosopher from Scotland who prompts a lot of thoughtful debates that range from small to very big life questions and these have interwoven with me about how to be an effective PE teacher using the Values that are most important to me whilst working in a variety of online mediums and through Partnered Instruction. ISB is opening its campus to students, but not all of the teachers will be there – this means that there has to be a way for teachers to work with students on campus and to use both online and offline approaches. I keep swinging back to thinking about how best to do this with a practical subject like PE. I am loathed to start with a Health based unit that is in a classroom as I feel the students will have screen overload and that to have them active and working socially together will be paramount as many of them will probably have been quite isolated in the last few months.

The rest of this blog post will be used to answer questions that have been asked as part of our reflections on this upcoming teaching and learning experiences.

What action(s) might you take in order to prepare for online and blended learning? 

Online learning refers to the learning taking place if ISB campus shuts down and we are now all at home working and learning together. Blended learning refers to Hybrid learning and Partnered Instructed learning. Hybrid learning takes into consideration having some students at ISB on campus and some having to be off-campus due to Physical distancing and Partnered Instruction is where the Chinese borders are slowly reopening, so teachers who are not in Beijing will work with a Partner Instructor who is on campus until such time as the teacher is able to return to ISB to teach in-person.

It will be important to find out the current safety and physical distancing regulations that are in place as well as the use of space and equipment at ISB. It will also be good to know what the first week of mentoring and orientation will look like for our new G6 students to find out how familiar they will be with the campus and to know how best to support them as they move into MS. I would like to see if we can do PE – and how that might look – I feel starting with a theory unit would be less than ideal, I want to start with movement and focus on learning through/around/in movement with students. I would like to talk with my department about what we might do – do we team-teach some of our smaller groups? Do we run the same unit with everyone or run 4x different units and rotate? How do we keep things as simple as we can for us running on different time zones? And what are we going to offer our students that are not on campus at the moment – how might we look at the best way forward for their needs? Could we look at having an alternative class for non-ISB students and as they get back to campus then have them join an in-person class? This would be much easier to manage than trying to do PE with ISB based students and those away from ISB.

I need to best work out what tools to use – and to not use too many – to make sure that we are not making things too hard for students as they are bound to be overwhelmed.

If students are using physical resources – check ins or post it notes etc, how do we share these with us to see what they are thinking or asking? Maybe use of white boards and then a photo? I don’t want to be checking 100x uploads to DX of a question – so thinking about how to use tech and how to use non-tech for simple checkins or follow ups from lessons without making things harder.

I also want to make sure that my PI is comfortable with what we are trying to achieve so that she is not out of depth or confused as this is where confusion can fester for all of us and the students trying to be involved.

I want to be clear on the standards – could we just go through Student as a Learner as the first part of our work, how does it look to try and assess performance based work from afar, I ‘m not sure yet.

Considering your previous experience with online learning, what are your instructional strengths & areas for growth? 

Strengths would include wanting to create meaningful experiences for students that involve student choice, voice and allow them to be involved in different ways. I believe that I care for students and try to foster relationships with them that go beyond just doing the work or following up on students who were not involved in online learning. I enjoy collaborating with my team to create lessons and units.

I feel part of my anxiety is the amount of work I feel I have been doing, but it feels like that work was mostly administrative and I found that to be really overwhelming. I would like to keep things more streamlined and simple to not feel as overloaded. I would like to have more peer conversations and discussions and sharing and not be as direct-teachering with students. I would like to try and work to be more mindful of movement and to work more collaboratively with learning support or other staff to support students and engage more in the learning process.

5Cs as adapted from the Tripod 7Cs

Using the 5Cs of online learning, what goals might you set for yourself in anticipation of future online instruction?  

I need to think more carefully about this. My initial thinking would be that I want to have classroom management that works for my team, including our Partnered Instructors that are similar and meet the updated ISB expectations and think about how to do that in our PE spaces. I would like to challenge students in conceptual ways through movement experiences. I would like to captivate their interests and also consolidate and clarify more carefully – I am wondering if having a Chinese speaking partner will actually make this easier in some ways.

Goal One will probably be around Captivate (interest and leverage that) and Collaborate (to remove that fear of working with others).

How might you achieve these goals? Who might you reach out to for support? 

I am hoping to learn more about that this week. I would like to work more closely with LS and Counseling team as well as with our Partnered Instructors but I am looking forward to seeing what this might look like in PE and Health.

If you had a magic wand, what might the 5Cs of online learning look like in your classroom? 

Still pondering this. I keep thinking that this situation is sort of like the movie Inception – the teaching within the teaching…

The following is the online learning planner provided by ISB, I have had a go at completing it but there is a lot more to come this week for conversation and clearer ideas on how this will look in PE.

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