PEBC Lab Hosts Patrick Allen, Jenn Brauner, and Carrie Halbasch get real in a round table conversation about the possibilities and pitfalls of virtual teaching. All three of these Phenomenal Teachers are experienced educators whose classrooms exemplify the strands of the PEBC Teaching Framework, so what happened when they shifted to virtual learning? During our conversation they all agreed that relationships, the workshop model, and simplification are key to facilitating virtual learning and that some of the rituals and routines that they implemented in their classrooms are essential to teaching virtually. They also opened their hearts and minds and shared some of the challenges that they, like many others, are grappling with as they navigate new roles, technologies, and challenges.
Carrie Halbasch teaches kindergarten and is determined to create meaningful virtual workshops for her students that support their foundational learning needs and identities as thinkers so that her students leave kindergarten filled with curiosity and joy. Early on she discovered that less is more when it comes to some of the fancy tech tools. On some Fridays she can be found leading her students on a virtual field trip in her jammies… yep school is still supposed to be fun!
Patrick Allen has taught 4th and 5th grade for years, but this year he packed up his thousands of books and bathtub and volunteered to teach 2nd grade for his district’s virtual learning program. He encourages us to keep it simple and pay attention to what is developmentally appropriate without getting distracted by programs and products. Still the voracious book lover, Patrick recommends Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O’Connor for your next read aloud.
Jenn Brauner rocks the middle grades and has found that adolescents are just as quirky in a virtual setting as they are in the classroom. She recommends “predictability on steroids” and has found that a consistent opening routine has paved the way for student engagement and learning. When it comes to planning, prioritizing reading, thinking, and talking allows her to align her standards and assessments with the just right medium for student understanding, engagement, and equity. In closing, keep things simple and you can’t go wrong!
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