Day 25 Slice of Life – Ten Things I Learned Today

  1. You can play Kahoot! virtually without all the students being in the same place.
    We are now in a five-day long game!

    This week I wanted my students to play a Kahoot game where they would guess some facts about me. I’m not that experienced with Kahoot, but I thought they would need to see my screen. Yesterday I hosted a Zoom meeting and about 14 people were able to come. Today I learned I can play asynchronously, so I set up another game for those who weren’t able to play the first time.

  2. I love to play games and my husband does not. Today I ventured out to the grocery store because there will be a two-week shut-down of all the shops except for groceries and pharmacies. I’m planning to stay in during that two-week period, so I went out to get a few fresh fruits and vegetables, along with some canned and frozen veggies. (We eat a lot of vegetables.) I also picked up a game. It is called Digital Game, but it’s not a digital game at all. It is actually a Rummikub knockoff. I may have to play alone though because my game-playing friends and I are socially distancing, of course. So, will Digital Game “bring people together” as the package says? We’re going to have to wait and see.
  3. I have herbs and spices and I’m not afraid to use them. Today I made a frittata without a recipe, just diced up some celery, fresh dill, and capsicum. Then I sprinkled in turmeric and zaatar.  It was delicious. That was something new for me. I’ve never been a risky cook in any sense of the word, but this at-home stuff is making me learn.
  4. I must have had a really good immune system. I have been washing my hands and using hand-sanitizer, not nearly as often as they tell us we should, but more than before. Back in the day (by back in the day, I mean my whole life except for the past Coronamonth), I have not washed my hands all that much, or used hand sanitizer ever. I guess my immune system has been good because I haven’t been sick in three years. (Knock on wood)
  5. Virtual assignments are best when students have to respond personally.  I have some teacher friends who have seen copy-paste of assignments turned in, some students copying wrong answers with the exact same misspelled words. I am happy to say, though, that the vast majority of my lessons have needed sweet answers from the students. They wrote pen pal letters to a class in Arizona, which is also doing virtual learning now. They asked and answered “getting to know you” (or remember you) questions about me and themselves. We’ve had fun with that this week.
  6. Communication is the reason for language. This one goes with the one above. How much reading and writing we are doing this month! Handling this kind of learning is a real-life lesson for my language learners and their parents, who are all building their skills in English.
  7. I learned how to add an end page to a YouTube video. We are trying to figure out the best and safest way to upload videos. Some of our teachers are afraid of YouTube, afraid of the videos that will come up after their students finish watching their video, and afraid of the ads they will see. I had never thought of that, to be honest, but a colleague and I were put on a mission to find the best and safest way to upload videos.
  8. My husband is getting slap happy. Today he called and told me to check the smoking toilet. I went in to find this…
  9. Zoom is a pretty good program. I’ve been in or watched my husband in three Zoom meetings today. I need to keep learning because I’ve made lots of little mistakes with it. It’s embarrassing when you are just  learning but there is video and audio evidence of all your foibles.
  10. I miss my students more today than yesterday. I learn this anew every day.

Day 24 Slice of Life – Language Divide

“Denise’s turn to write the minutes.”

“OK, I got it,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic and able. At least I only have to do this once in two months.

Today our weekly meeting was in a large classroom, nine of us spread out at a safe distance from each other. The back and forth of Arabic voices bounced off the walls. Fortunately, I was near enough to my English coordinator counterpart from the lower grades.

“Just tell me if there is anything I should write down,” I told her from across our two-meter divide. At a typical meeting, I would have just looked over at her notes. 

The meeting was largely in Arabic, as I was the only one of the nine who didn’t understand, but there was enough translation for me to write three pages–some of it with my usual intuitive interpretation and plenty of question marks.

It’s been a few hours since that meeting, so I better get back to typing up the minutes so I can send them back to my sweet partner to read and edit.