The following guest blog post was written by Diane Basanese who is 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. It focuses on the integration of Google Classroom to meet the needs of diverse learners in a "anytime, anywhere" environment.
Aruba, Jamaica ooh they want to take ya.
Bermuda, Bahama, were did my whole class go?
Key Largo, Montego—teachers, why don’t we go?
Whether parents and guardians should or should not pull their children out of school for vacation is a controversial topic. While family vacations do have their merits—family bonding, learning outside of the classroom, exposing children to new places—it should be recognized that it can difficult for students to “catch up” after missing school. And, let’s face it; there are just so many hands-on activities and group projects presented in the classroom that students simply can’t make up. However, I have discovered a way to keep my pupils on track by creating a “Vacation Classroom” that they can access within my Google classroom.
Here’s how it works: I decide what the most important lessons are, and I post this modified cluster of work in my Vacation Classroom. This way, the students are able to prioritize their work more effectively. As students come to me and tell me they are leaving, I invite them into my Vacation Classroom. I date the work so that they know when the assignment is due. Since I date the assignments, I only have to post the work one time, even if multiple students go on vacation. The students will receive individual copies of the work and I can check it while they are away. Students are free to continue to visit their regular Google Classroom if they choose to, but they are only responsible for the assignments in their Vacation Classroom.
No papers, no pencils. Students won’t have to travel with heavy books. More importantly, parents will be delighted that their children have access to important assignments that will help them return to school anxiety free. In your Vacation Classroom,one size fits all. Ultimately it is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that materials are provided for learning. Hopefully, our efforts will be supported by the parents and guardians doing everything that they can at home to help their children to catchup. Vacation Classroom can make our part easier, just remember these three easy steps: modify the work, cluster the most important assignments, and post. Virtually, you will be there on vacation with your students. So pack some important lessons,and you may even make it to Kokomo.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Bammy Award Finalist. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Middle School Vice Principal for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.