Hey friends…this little blogcito took a back burner for the past few
weeks months. It’s not that I don’t love you all, it’s just that teaching in 2020 is ROUGH! I spend all my emotional and physical energy trying to teach them a little Spanish, and when I get home I just don’t have much more to offer, you know? This is the season that I’m learning to say “no” and taking care of myself. For the first time in a long time I’m not participating in conferences that usually bring me so much joy. Right now, I don’t need more professional development. What I need is a nap. If you’re feeling the same way, don’t feel bad about it, it’s where we’re at and this is temporary. This is my year of Good Enough and I’m doing my best to embrace it.
I wanted to take a minute to show a tech tool that’s made 2020 just a little bit easier: Flippity (introduced to me by my very dear friend, Rita Barrett!). Back in the old days, you know when kids came to school and breathed all over each other and shared materials, I did a lot with paper manipulatives. My poor TAs over the years spent HOURS cutting apart sentences, song lyrics, puzzle pieces, and words for my Little Darlings to read and move around and reassemble.
Flippity’s manipulatives let you do the same thing, while keeping their germy grubby little fingers to themselves, and saves you headache of cutting out a zillion papers! It’s seriously so easy to set up and you can do a lot cool input things with minimal prep. My kiddos have a “Digital Day” every other day, and I’ve been giving them lots of Flippity Manipulatives to keep the CI flowing while they’re at home. Since Flippity is one of those tools that’s easy to show and hard to explain, I’ll make you a quick little tutorial video, but first, just look at what you can do with Flippity’s Manipulatives:
And do you what to know the coolest part about using Flippity’s manipulatives!? By some miracle of God’s grace, if students click Google’s “Translate” button and translate it into their first language…THEY CAN’T MOVE THE TILES! The tiles have to be in the language you wrote them in, for them to be functional. If you ever wondered if God loves languages teachers, well there you go!
Wanna make one? Let’s create one together. It’s easy, I promise!
If you want to get even fancier, you can use a custom image for your background…A Venn diagram, or a text or….the possibilities are endless! It’s a little on the techy side so I made a video: Creating custom backgrounds for Flippity’s Manipulatives.
And if you want to add just a touch more accountability, you know, so you know they’re actually doing their online assignments, I like to drop the link into a Google Form, and ask them to upload a screenshot of their completed activity. The form looks like this:
I just spot check to see that they did it…I don’t really spend any time at all verifying that they’re done correctly (Shhhhhh…. don’t tell!). When you look at the responses, you can just hover your mouse over the screenshots to see a preview, without having to open up every single one. Really the purpose to to have them reading during their Digital Day and the google form is just enough accountability to encourage most of my Little Darlings to do it 🙂 Can’t win them all!
And if you go the Google Forms route, don’t forget about al these nifty Google Forms tricks! (Turn on notifications after you enter grades, to be alerted of late work, and send them to one common Google Sheet to keep everything organized!)
Oh friends… if you read this and think to yourself, “Nope, I don’t have the mental capacity to learn something new”. Walk away and don’t give this another thought! That’s OK! Or if you think “That’s cool, but I just can’t expend the energy now”, tuck it into your back pocket and go take a nap. This semester I’ve felt like that, seen all the innovating things that teachers are generously sharing and not having the ganas to do anything about it. And then getting down on myself because the internet teachers look like they’re killing online/blended instruction/teaching during a pandemic nightmare, and I’m in survival mode over here (which is why we haven’t even played Gimkit’s Among Us game, which I am assured is amazing but I just can’t wrap my brain around something new) So please, if you’re in that place, what you’re doing is enough. You are enough. And this is the year of Good Enough. Be kind to yourself and embrace “that’s good enough”!