Whether it is for an online class, hybrid, or in-person circumstance, using the Learning Management System’s announcement feature with intention and purpose enhances students’ trust in the platform and builds relationship between teacher and student. In essence, it is the online version of morning announcements with a possible “to-do” list. Not only will absent students benefit, but also for those students who may have questions about processes, procedures, assignments, due dates, etc. For teachers, announcements become evidence, eliminating “he-said, she-said” situations.
Take advantage of an available tool- your LMS announcement feature!
First, consider overall goals of implementation: consistency, organized structure of messages, logistics, preview/review instruction, and rapport and team building. Second, employ best practices by limiting the announcements, labeling them correctly, and offering supplemental materials where appropriate. Next, be consistent in posting whether it is daily, weekly, or another arrangement like Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but be consistent. Label announcements with key words before the topic label: Usually Mondays: CLASS INFORMATION for (date) includes a weekly kick-off announcement complete with preview of instructional content, but also on-time reminders, upcoming deadlines, tutoring schedules, expectations and anything that clarifies the logistics of the class. Discern which items need to be in text and which can by linked. FIXED FOCUS contains extended content, questions to ponder, assignments, and related content materials that will assist students in deeper understanding. Fixed Focus is usually posted mid-week. Because students need encouragement, include a Friday label like RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! or YOU’VE GOT THIS! and provide inspirational messages but also places for dialogue, usually a discussion board. Tee-up student interaction by using prompts that allow expression of thoughts and feelings, challenges and triumphs, and motivations within the class. Be part of the dialogue, but sparingly. Finally, be prepared for miscommunications and once discovered, act. Use URGENT! READ NOW label and set the record straight.
Inspired by Dr. Nathan Pritts, Using Announcements to Give Narrative Shape to your Online Course Faculty Focus June 1, 2020
Let me know what you think!
When students are confronted with content-heavy text, they sometimes skip ahead or read too quickly and miss critical bits of information which results in compromised reading comprehension. This classic protocol forces students to pay attention to the details and maximize understanding!
BECAUSE . . . BUT. . . SO . . . Reading, Writing, Discussion, Questioning, Collaboration
Description: The power of conjunctions and question-stems is at work here! This activity provides strategies to increase reading comprehension, most especially when students are engaged in content-heavy text. It also allows students to see varying perspectives amongst classmates. This protocol is based on the work from Hochman/Wexler’s The Writing Revolution.
Application: Because . . . But . . . So . . . can be used in many disciplines, but most especially in social studies or language arts courses. It can easily be modified for middle school level.
Process: Model activity first before requiring students to use it individually. Before class, select relevant readings or passages and create “because, but, so” question-stems based on the material. On day of activity, instruct students to read the passage. (This can be done silently or out loud in round robin fashion) Once finished, discuss key take-aways, focusing on vocabulary, bolded words, events, etc. Display the three prepared questions using the conjunction because . . . in the first sentence, but . . . in the next sentence, and so . . . in the final question. Direct students to refer to the passage and write-out all three answers, providing a generous amount of time for the first few attempts at the activity. Once completed, prompt students to share their answers for the first question. (This can be accomplished by the teacher jotting down a few answers on the board or students can contribute digitally and answers projected.) Repeat for the other two question-stems. Review the answers with students, pointing out misconceptions, but also, as a learning opportunity, to highlight those student-generated answers that are structured in a more formal academic format. For an advanced challenge, provide a quote within the passage and include it as part of the question-stem. For additional reading assignments, use other conjunction question-stems such as before . . . after . . . since . . . to denote chronological understanding.
Resources and for more information:
Lemov, D. Teach Like Champion “Field Notes” 02.27.19 “BECAUSE, BUT, SO” GOES 2.0 WITH DIRECT QUOTATIONS
Shanks, K. “The Washing Hands of Writing” http://www.Medium.com
Alison Thetford, M.Ed