Teaching in an Online Environment: A Sample Schedule

There are a thousand ways to think about online schooling this year. It’s overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed, I try to simplify things and remind myself I can do less and get more from it. I realized that I created more work for myself because of unrealisitic standards I had for MYSELF. Once I started to let go, I began to love my job and had the ability to do more with my students with less.

Students need/want to be an active part of their education. There are ways to engage them, that makes them active, not passive, even in an online environment. Last quarter, some weeks my goal was just to engage students. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. Because nothing is ever perfect. Also, perfect is not something that exists because it’s a construct we create.

Focus on skills first and content second (which made some of my readers recoil in disgust!) As we noticed on the last AP test, the focus was on skills. Skills first, content second. Use the content to teach the skill. Use the search function on the right side to check out more writing tips!

Questions to ask yourself as you start to lesson plan in a non-judgemental way, because you are gathering evidence here.  You are asking yourself to try to find the way that works for you because you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

  • What are you teaching?
  • How are you teaching it?
  • Why are you teaching it that way?

What is rigor in an online environment- it’s higher and deeper NOT more and faster.

Another thing? Relax your standards and assume positive intent.


Sample week: (adapted from a mentor, Dr. Kris Treat)

Choose an overall objective for the week. This may not be the time to try to teach every thing you have in the past. (Use the Enduring Understandings to help guide you). I downloaded the CED on Notability and use it to write all over because that’s how I roll. It’s also how I created my unit guides for Unit 1, 2, 3, and 5… Unit 4 got lost in the quarantine.

  • DAY 1: Record or live stream your lecture (If you use Google Classroom, you can livestream your lesson and it gives you the option to record Keep it simple, don’t read off the slides, etc. You may also find recorded webinars or podcasts that cover the same thing. It’s ok to give options. (I have a lot of posts about podcasts, etc.) Need a textbook? OpenStax has some great government stuff. I recommend posting your lecture notes prior to. This gives students a chance to review them and ask questions if you are doing it live or submit them prior to and get live answers. To be very frank, I never assigned readings out of the textbook because they never did them or I didn’t have enough books or the book was outdated… and so on.

 

  • DAY 2: Readings (luckily, we have lots of primary sources or secondary readings) Check out my Unit Guides if you need help!  You can use DBQs too! 
    • 1st read: Just read it. No highlighting, no writing, just read!
    • 2nd read: Circle vocab you don’t know, highlight, write questions you have
    • 3rd read: What did you learn? What questions to you still have?
    • Bring those to the Socratic/class discussion

*You can model this as a class the first few weeks to ensure they understand HOW to read a primary source.

  • DAY 3: Socratic Discussion or class discussion. If you have a lot of documents, split them up and create expert groups. This can be done in an online environment with some tweaks. More on that later.

 

  • DAY 4: Writing. This does not need to be an essay, you can work on pieces of the essays, like writing an argumentative thesis. The thought here is after you’ve read and discussed concepts, the writing should be a bit easier. This day can also be dedicated to the specifics of the writing and the rubrics.

 

  • Flex day, enrichment (iCivics has lot of fun games that AP kids LOVE, especially if you challenge them to beat your score!), office hours, or catch-up… because you may need it or just as a day to check-in with your students and yourself.

This is a sample of one way it could work. It may work one week and not another or it may not work at all for you! Remember, we are all doing the best we can with what we have and my sincerest hopes is that this helps organize or simplify your planning or prehaps that it sparks an idea!

 

 

 

About Elizabeth Evans, NBCT

AP Government and Politics teacher making the world better one person at a time by supporting other educators.

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