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Stupid Zoom Trick 1

September 27, 2020 pm30 11:39 pm

Teaching this way is not like real teaching. Maybe a pale facsimile. And that’s not a real classroom. But I still need to find ways to have fun.

This story needs some context. You may know that I stopped giving tests. But I live in a world, and teach in a world, with tests. One of my ‘classes’ this term is one term advanced – scheduled to take a Regents Exam in January – a Regents Exam that will never happen.

How do I avoid spending a horrible zoom-term prepping for an exam that won’t happen? I need to convince the kiddos that it is not necessary. And how do I do that? I’m lucky. My students are good at taking tests (that’s the nature of the school). Their instructor in the Spring was good. He taught, pretty well, over half the material on the Regents. And the scoring scale is bizarre – associating passing with earning one-third of the points. (Really. Look.)

So I gave a Regents, in three parts, so that we don’t have to do any more testing or test prep this term. They did a Part I during an asynchronous class (some of them ran over, but no biggie). They did a Part II (eight short answers) in a class period. And Parts III and IV are homework (Haven’t looked at them yet, but after Part I almost everyone had ‘passed’ which rose to 100% after Part II).

Oh, the stupid zoom trick?

They did Part II in class. A test that doesn’t count. Establishing a base count. They’d already passed, or just about. Relax, relax… And I sent them to break out rooms to relax and work. 28 students. 28 break out rooms. And I popped in, room after room. Got to more than half. Saying hi. Asking them a bit about themselves. Chatting. meeting them a little. Just a small thing to make up a tiny bit for not actually meeting them.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Aaron Pallas permalink
    September 29, 2020 am30 12:01 am 12:01 am

    Nothing stupid about using Zoom to get to know your students better. But the 28 breakout rooms is cute.

    • September 29, 2020 am30 12:22 am 12:22 am

      When I went in, many of them had turned their cameras and mikes off. Interesting that they felt self-conscious like that…

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