Shawna Young: I’m a 4th Grade Teacher in Times of COVID

Shawna Young is an instructional designer and 4th Grade Virtual Teacher at Snyder Elementary in Spring, TexasShe shares her current teaching experience with Curriki.

As we sail into November, I cannot help but find myself counting down the days until Thanksgiving Break. Although this is a typical routine every school year, this year it is coming right as I am reaching that breaking point. Educators across the world have been thrown feet first into the proverbial fire that is known as virtual learning.

An Unprecedented School Year

There is no playbook or teacher’s manual that could possibly prepare us for what has been expected. Most teachers are extremely dedicated by nature and will do whatever it takes to provide the best instruction they can to their students.

I found out about a week before school started that I would be one of three virtual teachers on a team of eleven. Before the school year began, I found myself spending every waking hour on the computer or my phone researching the best tools and instructional methods I could find so that I could be the best I could be and provide my students with the learning experiences they deserved. For me, technology has never been a challenge, and while I was nervous, I felt like I would be able to manage. Once school started my confidence in technology never faded, but as I began to plan for my students, I found myself drowning with the responsibility of creating engaging and meaningful experiences that mirrored the caliber of face to face classrooms.

August through October has felt like an entire school year, yet it has only been a little over two months. In that time, 57 days to be exact, I have spent countless hours creating online assessments, have created approximately 150-200 assignments, have facilitated a minimum of 130 live sessions, and have recorded 72 videos. As with most of my colleagues, the majority of online content creation takes place at home in between cooking dinner, bathing kids, and the random load of laundry that I can squeeze in because we are all out of clean clothes. There simply is not enough time during the school day to teach, grade assignments, plan with my team, and then turn those plans into online instruction. Along with these endless hours of creation comes the usage of multiple programs and online platforms (some required and some not).

Staying Afloat With Distance Learning

One tool that I found myself using the most is CurrikiStudio. CurrikiStudio has become the one -shop-stop that empowers me to create highly interactive content and publish it to the school’s learning management system. Not only engaging, but it also fosters self-directed learning by providing my students with immediate feedback.  I have used Studio to create Interactive Read Alouds:Chapters 9 and 10 of Tiger Rising , Math Reviews: Double Digit Multiplication  , and Interactive Videos: Mountains and Basins Region. Unlike other resources, I have found Curriki easy to use and the best part is that Curriki is 100% free. No trials, no subscriptions, and no gimmicks.

Although I am not sure what the rest of this year holds in store for me and my classroom, one thing I am certain of is that I will continue using CurrikiStudio whether I am teaching virtually, hybrid, or face to face.