So, I've been teaching for 7 years and have never had to take a *real* sick day until this week. Sure, I've taken mental health days and used sick days for doctor appointments, but I've never had to call in because I'm too sick to teach. This week I had to take not one, but TWO sick days in a row during the WORST possible time. You see, I teach on a block schedule, so on January 5th, I received all new students and started school new again just like I did in August. I had these new students for exactly two days then got hit with something that makes me feel like I could write a torture scene better than Poe himself.
For a huge Harry Wong First Days of School believer (did I just type "huge" in conjunction with "Harry Wong"!?), missing this first week of school has sent me into total freak out mode. I've been in such a tizzy that I actually resorted to stalking my students while at home wrapped up in a blanket of despair.
I did this using Classroom OneNote. It's free if your students/ school have a Microsoft account. Basically, it's an online notebook where I can post lessons and content then my students can see all of that PLUS have their own notebook within that notebook to do their work. This means that you can turn ANY lesson into an online lesson by going to "Print" then instead of printing to a printer, you click "Print to OneNote." Once the students are in the notebook, they can type right over top of whatever you put in there.
Thank goodness I started them out on the first day learning how to use their OneNote. Two days wasn't really enough for them to feel comfortable, but they ended up getting the hang of it in my absence.
Now for the stalking part. The cool part about OneNote is that students can see your comments in real time. This means that I was able to go to the pages they were working on and make little comments about what they were writing. This, of course, would come as a real shock to some and news would spread across the room that I was looking in on them. This is what I wanted.
Here are some examples of what I wrote:
Click to enlarge. You can see that the student above wrote me back. :)
The ones below are from my seniors. Man, you should have seen their little typing fingers speed up once they knew I was watching them. Ha!!!
These few comments were basically all that I had the energy for, but it let EVERYONE in the class know that I was there in spirit and cared that they were learning.
Another great thing about OneNote is that all my sub plans had to say were, "Tell students to go to OneNote then their 'Daily Lesson' tab for today's assignment." Once students got to this tab, here is what they saw:
It is my hope that being organized with OneNote and creeping a little on innocent teenagers will save me from the aftermath of not having that first week of school to exactly as planned.