As a math teacher, I am stickler for rules. There are no shades of gray, just black and white. I function well when I know what is expected of me, and I thrive well in structured environments. However, with COVID-19 shutting down school buildings, students do not have the same structure that school afforded them. Some students stay up until the wee-hours of the morning playing video games while others are Tik Tok-ing the night away. Then, at 8 a.m., if students are awake, it is difficult for them to focus while attending school online. So, I had to be flexible! I want to share with you three things I would have never done until COVID-19 (and I don’t regret it):

  1. Eliminate all homework. Yep! No Homework! Students had a hard time managing their time, so I had to provide class time for all assignments to be completed.
  2. Slow down the pacing of the curriculum. I taught one skill per week in isolation. For example, let’s take Common Core Math Standard 8.F.2: Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions). In the past, I taught this standard in about two weeks. This school year, I taught the standard as follows:
    1. Week 1 – Determine the slope and y-intercept of an equation in slope-intercept form.
    2. Week 2 – Find the slope and y-intercept of a linear graph.
    3. Week 3 – Find the slope and y-intercept of a function table.
    4. Week 4 – Find the slope and initial value of a real world scenario.
    5. Week 5 – Compare the slope and y-intercept of two different linear graphs.
    6. Week 6 – Compare the slope and y-intercept of real world scenarios.
    7. Week 7 – Compare the slope and y-intercepts of functions represented in any form – an equation, graph, function table, or real-world scenario.
  3. Limit the use of technology tools. Sounds crazy, right? But, I always integrated technology. I love introducing new technologies to students, but I could not do that this school year. Students were already overwhelmed. So, I could not add to their frustration. Plus, I believe that if technology is too much of a hurdle to use, then it doesn’t add value to the lesson. It takes from the lesson. The lesson should not be the technology; it should be the math concept or skill. If you want simple to use, content-rich online math test prep materials, please take a look at my new products at my Teachers Pay Teachers store: Dr. Crystal Brown on TpT.

Now, of course, I’m not selling you on my experience. This worked for me and who I am teaching. What’s working for you? How has the pandemic made you a better teacher?

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