Do you want to know what distance learning looks like in our Bartlesville Public Schools? We’re interviewing teachers and collecting photos and videos of their “home classrooms” to share with our community. Check back weekly for updates.
Tasha Workman – Bartlesville High School, English
Routine is important for students (and adults). Ms. Workman strives to keep routine and consistency at the forefront of her lesson planning during distance learning. She organizes Google Hangouts by class hour and tries to mimic the students’ classroom experience. She continues to use many of the websites and platforms her students were already familiar with from earlier in the year (Canvas, Edmentum, No Red Ink, etc…). Ms. Workman sees the positive impact maintaining that routine has had on her students – they are staying engaged and adjusting well. She does what she can to increase her engagement with them – leaving extra comments on their assignments and emailing frequently.
Ms. Workman admits that she and her students share opinions on the the biggest challenge with distance learning: the social aspect of being together in person each day; and the most enjoyable part: sleeping in!
Leslie Kramer – Bartlesville High School, AP Statistics and Pre-AP Pre-Calculus
Ms. Kramer works hard to make sure none of her AP math students are left behind during the shift to distance learning. She reached out to the administration to make sure all of her students had access to calculators before their AP exams; she pre-records video lessons and follows up with students through google hangout to answer any questions.
Although most of her students are adjusting well, there are a few who struggle with this new level of responsibility. Ms. Kramer follows up with them regularly and contacts their parents when necessary. She understands the sense of being overwhelmed – she has had to learn new technology to interact with her students outside of the classroom. Fortunately, she was already trained on most of it before distance learning began.
Ms. Kramer has a kind reminder for parents who have jumped into the role of teacher this spring: “No matter your situation, please remember, all of your teachers, administrators, and counselors are here to help and encourage not only our students but their parents too.”
Heather Davis – Central Middle School, English Language Arts
Mrs. Heather Davis, like all of our teachers, is disappointed that she isn’t able to finish the school year in person with her students. But taking learning outside of the classroom has given her and her students the chance to spend quality time together. She gives her students several opportunities each day to join a class lesson and discussion, where they explore creative writing concepts. If any student is struggling or needs some extra attention, Mrs. Davis can meet with them one on one in a Google meet.
In addition to the daily lessons, Mrs. Davis meets with her students each evening for a read aloud. There’s no discussion or assignment, it’s just a time to enjoy quality books together. Mrs. Davis and her students have the space during these unprecedented times to appreciate the simple act of reading for pleasure. They’ve read Stargirl, Refugee, and are about to start Wonder.
Landelle Steanson – Ranch Heights Elementary, Pre-K
Mrs. Steanson describes her Pre-K students as her “source of energy.” She is missing their faces, their voices, and even the chaos they bring to her classroom.
To bridge this gap in contact, she connects regularly with them through Google Hangout and Remind messages, recognizing that structure and consistency are key in this new learning environment. She teaches small groups of her class throughout the week, with the entire class coming together to share what they have learned on Fridays.
She encourages her students to use the District-provided learning packets, which demonstrate that learning can happen away from the desk and outside of the classroom. Students can discover lessons in baking, folding laundry, or going outside to create games.
Zandra Sanders – Bartlesville High School, Spanish II
The irony of learning about foreign cultures and languages while stuck at home is not lost on us, but Ms. Sanders is using this time with her students to engage them in new, creative ways. She sets weekly goals for her students and gives them daily assignments, creating video lessons through Loom. Her students respond to assignments by creating their own video presentations. Recently, they played the role of travel agents, telling their peers about a spanish-speaking country of their choice. Ms. Sanders used these recordings to teach her lessons.
Her students are reading COCO in Spanish and learning the songs from the hit movie. Ms. Sanders records herself reading the book with her students following along. They’ll have a book discussion via Zoom in the next few weeks. She’s also having her students perform scenes from the book and songs from the movie.
Ms. Zanders understands students struggle to keep on top of their work when there are several formats to use and monitor, so she tries to keep everything in one place. She posts assignments, goals, announcements, and video lessons in Canvas. Her lessons link to relevant documents for that lesson. She regularly reaches out to students and parents through Remind or calls to their homes, and maintains office hours within Zoom to ensure that no one is left behind.
As an extrovert, Ms. Sanders misses seeing her students in person and teaching in her classroom, but she appreciates how much technology has allowed her to communicate and share with her students.
Brian Davis – Central Middle School, 7th Grade Eastern Hemisphere Geography
Often the most important connections between teachers and their students happen before or after class. Mr. Davis makes it a priority to continue giving students this opportunity during their virtual meetings. He finds that hanging out with his students “after class” and discussing their experiences to be one of the most enjoyable parts of his interactions with them. “They are living history and will be a primary source for this pandemic. I enjoy watching their thoughts form and [how] they express them.”
Mr. Davis uses EdPuzzle and a variety of readings and videos to spur discussions with his students. Currently, they’re learning about the Ring of Fire and looking forward to beginning their study of farming practices in Asia. It’s a challenge to keep his students engaged across the virtual platform, but he’s been impressed with the group discussions and thoughtful work his students provide.
Joy Gallison – Wayside Elementary, 1st Grade
Ms. Gallison was in college before she had her first computer. Transitioning to keyboarding was a memorable challenge. Now she’s reflecting on how far she’s come as a teacher who currently connects with her students exclusively through technology.
Fortunately, teachers and students across Bartlesville Public Schools were already trained on and familiar with key online applications like Clever, a single sign-on program that contains comprehensive learning applications including ST Math (math games based on state math standards) and Bookflix (available e-books students can read or have read to them paired with reading comprehension questions) before the pandemic closed the doors of our classrooms. But there’s still more to learn – and teachers, students, and parents are learning as they go.
Ms. Gallison knows that communication is key during this time. She established open lines of communication at the beginning of the school year and she maintained those as her class transitioned to distance learning. She regularly texts, calls, and emails parents in addition to posting on her class’s Facebook page.
Her students are able to sign on to their accounts and watch Ms. Gallison read books to them, discuss relevant vocabulary from the books, and research additional information through the District’s subscriptions to National Geographic and Scholastic News. These resources are available to students from their homes just as if they were at their school sites.
As you might imagine, a virtual meeting with twenty first graders is quite a challenge, but Ms. Gallison is learning to embrace the moments of chaos in these weekly meetings and make the most of the opportunities to visit with each other and share experiences like scavenger hunts and guided drawings.
Ms. Gallison reminds us that our students are resilient. They can rise to the challenge of navigating technology to access structured education and they will benefit from the extra time they are able to spend with parents. She concludes that “distance learning may not be the ideal way to end the school year, but I am proud of how everyone at Bartlesville Public Schools has stepped up to support families and push on through this virus. I know some people may love learning like this and some may not. It is definitely pushing us to look at the world differently and see learning in a new way.”
Amanda Daniels – Hoover Elementary, 3rd Grade
(Bartlesville Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year)
Mrs. Daniels is in the same boat has her students during this distance learning experience – “learning something new every day.” She appreciates the challenges this adventure brings and feels that they are making her a better educator.
In an effort to maintain continuity of education for her students and reassure them and their families that she is with them during this time, she reaches out to students and parents daily, using platforms like Google Hangout, Remind, Facetime, and email. During some of these contacts she merely makes sure they are safe and have their basic needs met; during others, she reads to students, reviews math facts, and recommends family-friendly assignments.
Mrs. Daniels’ students can utilize their personalized Clever accounts to access programs like ST Math, Study Island, and Mrs. Daniels’ Google Classroom where she posts additional resources.
The biggest challenge for her has been listening to recordings of her own voice (picking up on her southern accent), but she continues to post readings and lessons for her students. Mrs. Daniels’ favorite part of this new reality is wearing a ballcap while teaching and using technology to visit her students.
What does she ask of our community during this time? Grace. “Please give yourself grace as well as BPS. This is uncharted territory for all of us but with the collaboration of BPS and the great community of Bartlesville, we will continue to be successful!”
To see Mrs. Daniels’ distance learning video, go to the BPS Foundation’s Facebook page #bpsteacherfeature