An Example of a Robust At Home Lesson

To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) I am sharing an example of a robust at home lesson that I created for an REL 250: Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel course.  I will share the assignment on a post following this one.

Principles to consider while creating a longer, more in-depth at-home lesson:

  • Think about the experience you want your students to have in class (perhaps go to a F2F lesson plan).
  • Now, conceive of this lesson as something different, you obviously can’t create the same F2F experience, so how can you take each section from your lesson plan and allow the student to go on a guided journey through the material.
  • It will take some effort to switch your thinking from traditional teaching to online, but think of one of your students at home and how you can best help them have an experience with the material.
  • I find it best to allow them to make choices in the lesson (think of the old “choose-your-own-adventure” books) because it helps them engage more in the process.

I find it very synchronistic that the at home lesson I have is a lesson on creation and creativity! Enjoy the process of being creative as a teacher. This is why I love this profession – each day, each class affords me the opportunity to be creative!

Enjoy! And please share it with those who need it, and comment on ideas that you have for at-home lessons, etc.

Other posts in this series –

 

My lesson follows:


“At Home” Lesson on Creation

Hello Dear Students!

I put the words “at home” in quote marks, because I don’t care where/when you do this assignment. We will not be having class on Thursday, May 3rd, and so instead we will be doing this lesson. It will require at least 3 hours – (to make up for the hour of pre-class work, a one hour class, and the one hour after class assignment typical of the university requirements.) This assignment will have a beginning, which you must complete and then have a section of principles. The principles will be in 3 parts and I leave it up to you to decide (by the spirit and your desires) how you want to do that part of the lesson.

The most important things are these:

  1. That you understand what the Lord’s teachings through His words to Prophets and Apostles (not what the world’s teachings) are on each section.
  2. That you learn, and enjoy doing it!
  3. That this time teaches you. You will know that you have been taught if after the time spent – you have drawn closer to God, and you want to make changes in your life to be better.
  4. You complete the study and the assignments.

Okay, ready? Here we go!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

BACKGROUND

(you must all complete this part)

jehovah-creates-earth-rane-1344168-mobile

Jehovah Creates the Earth, by Walter Rane, 

Jehovah created the earth under the direction of the Father

PONDER these questions as you study this section:

  • As you observe the world around you, what do the creations of God teach you about the Savior, about His priesthood, and about His stature in the pre-mortal world?
  • How does understanding these truths influence your feelings toward and testimony of Jesus Christ?
  • How does understanding these truths influence the way you feel about the earth?

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles (Links to an external site.)” states: “Under the direction of His Father, [Jesus Christ] was the creator of the earth. ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John1:3)” (Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). As you come to understand the eternal purposes of the earth’s creation, you can live with greater resolve to fulfill the measure of your own creation.

First, please study the following:

  • Moses 1:27-42
  • READ:  [Then] Elder Russel M. Nelson, The Creation (Links to an external site.), April 2000
  • and then choose one of the versions of the creation –
    • Moses 2, 3:1-3
    • Abraham 4, Abr, 3:24-26
    • Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-2

As you read, copy down questions or impressions in your journal. You can use these as guiding questions if you’d like – What question came to mind about the creation of the Earth and Universe? How are the Father and the Son Creators and what is their purpose for creating?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

PRINCIPLES ABOUT CREATION

(study this section as you see fit, maybe spend equal time on each one, or skim two and focus in deeply on one, your choice)

Section #1 Principle: God created our mortal body and we have a stewardship to care for it.

PONDER these questions as you study this section:

  • Why is it important to see myself as a steward, responsible to care for my body?
  • How is Satan tempting me to misuse my body?
  • What am I doing each day to care for my body? Why is that important?

READ: [Then] Elder Russel M. Nelson, Thanks be to God (Links to an external site.), April 2012

WATCH:

Look over these resources and make some goals/changes to help make yourself healthier during your time here.

Section #2 Principle: In Honoring God’s Creations, We Honor the Creator

PONDER these questions as you study this section:

  • Knowing that the Lord’s teachings are usually in the middle of the debate – how can we learn to use (have dominion) and yet be good  stewards of the earth at the same time?
  • How can you “make your own living space more beautiful and inspirational”? How would that improve your life?
  • How have you, or could you, enjoy more of the Lord’s creations here in Rexburg? How would that improve your life?

READ: In Honoring God’s Creations, We Honor the Creator (Links to an external site.), LDS Newsroom, April 2018

WATCH:

Ponder this is from the new Young Women’s Camp Manual (Links to an external site.)

“A fountain of pure water” and “a thicket of small trees” (Mosiah 18:5)—Mormon used these words to describe the place where Alma hid after fleeing from King Noah. Those trees and that water became “beautiful . . . to the eyes” of the people who joined Alma there. Why? Because in that place, Alma and his people “came to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (Mosiah 18:30). The location of your Young Women camp—whether it is in a forest, in a park, on a beach, or in a meetinghouse—can become beautiful to the eyes of all who gather there. Like Alma and his people, young women need a place where they can gather together, separate from worldly influences, feel the Spirit of the Lord, grow in unity and love, and strengthen their faith and testimonies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Section #3 Principle: Choose to be a creator, not merely a consumer

PONDER these questions as you study this section:

  • What do you seek when you have free time?
  • Are you a Consumer or a Creator?
  • What are you consuming?
  • What are you creating?

READ: [Then] President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Happiness Your Heritage (Links to an external site.), October 2008

WATCH:

Look over these resources and make some goals/changes to help make yourself more productive and creative during your time here.

Talent and Interest Survey (Links to an external site.), lds.org (for fun and to get ideas)

Recognizing and Developing Talents and Abilities (Links to an external site.), From Institute Manual; The Gospel and the Productive Life.

 

Assignment: After completing this lesson, please complete this assignment.

Thank you for your hard work!!!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

For Further Study –

The First Presidency Statement about the Father and Son–1916

Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What? 

keep-calm

Hello – amazing teachers who are having to change your Face-to-Face (F2F) classes into virtual classes overnight! (See this previous post for more – Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days).

Here is another example of what I am doing with my classes. Feel free to use it as a spring board for:
  • ideas,
  • to change around to fit what you are doing,
  • to save time thinking of how to “word” things,
  • and/or to use as a template for your courses.
So you’ve contacted your students, now what?
May I suggest some of the following:
  • Make a general plan for the next few weeks (however long the semester or quarantine lasts).
  • Remember that EVERYONE is using technology during this pandemic (from the business sector to schools all over the country – not to mention everyone at home who is trying to keep busy and our default mode is to live online) so have a few different ideas up your sleeve in case the tech crashes.
  • Consider the value of asynchronous classes (in which you give the students the freedom to do the course work whenever they can throughout the week before the weekly due date).
Because we are all busy needing to learn new technologies (and each one will have its own unique learning curve) I am hoping that this will be something that can help save you time. Please pass this post on to the teachers you know that could benefit.
I put this (see below) where the students are used to finding the information.  In my classes I already have them working in the modules of Canvas (our course Learning Management System, LMS) for their classes, so the following is in our Week 10, Day 19. I suggest using what you have already trained the students to do – be it modules, announcements, emails, etc. This example is for a family history class and we were already on a semi-hybrid model.
Now, I can easily copy and paste it to my other courses and edit in the correct details for that class, letting them know what will remain the same and what will change as we move forward.
If you don’t have anything set up, consider the following:
  • What has your school been using?
  • What has your school already paid for? (At BYU-I we have specific licenses for certain tech, see if your school already has something in place)
  • Look into free options such as google hangouts or blogs (I’ll send ideas in another post)
  • Perhaps a weekly email with at-home lessons created within the message?
As ever, I know that you can do this and I will keep adding ideas to help you. Feel free to send these posts along or to follow this blog if it is of use. I would also LOVE to hear your thoughts, comments, ideas, or suggestions.
Thank you!

 

Example of my first day information:

Day 19: What Are We Going To Do Now?

Temple Banner

Hello, Everyone!

Welcome back to our virtual rebooted class.

It will work very closely to what we were doing before –

  • We’ll typically meet together once a week and the other day we will have an at-home type lesson with an assignment attached.
  • All of the assignments that were previously part of the class will continue to be due on their scheduled dates – follow the modules.
  • If you are behind and interested, you can check out extra credit assignments here: Resources

Here are some changes – 

  • I’ll be putting you into groups so that you can still have connection together during this time (more on that later).
  • You will need to be able to meet with us virtually – you can use your phone, a laptop, etc, in order to do that.
  • There will be a few added assignments to accommodate this new learning style. I will try to be flexible and understanding of your time, but I also need you to understand that these assignments will be necessary to make sure that you have an engaging learning experience .
  • Daily reading quizzes will be changed to reflect what we have done for that day’s work (I gave everyone full credit for the daily reading quiz for Monday’s (3/16) class. Please don’t take it again – unless you want late points or you don’t like to have full credit). 😉

For Wednesday’s (3/18) Class  – 

  1. Please complete Monday’s Readings and Questions (so that you can discuss with a breakout group): Day 18: Finding Connection Through Family History (What an amazing coincidence – the whole day was going to be about connections – and right at the time when we seem to be forced into a global isolation. I truly believe that the Lord wants us to be connected into our Father’s Eternal Family and into our own families. What a great opportunity to do this!)
  2. On Wednesday at our regular class time, please join me in our
  3. You are welcome to set the software up ahead of time (see #4 below to learn how), I have sent up a virtual waiting room so that you can do that. 🙂
  4. If you need to learn how to join this virtual classroom (hosted by Zoom), watch this video  (Links to an external site.)
  5. Should (Zoom)  the virtual classroom fail, (and with the current situation, and all of the colleges relying on this tech, it may) check the announcements and I will have a back-up ready.
  6. You guys are amazing –  keep moving forward!

Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days

woman holding microphone standing in front of crowd

Photo by ICSA on Pexels.com

So, you’re in the same boat as we are? Because of the novel COVID-19 virus (a.k.a Coronavirus) we have been asked to change our classes from Face-to-Face (traditional model) to online in just a few days to finish out the Winter 2020 semester. I’m hoping that this post will give my fellow teachers some helpful tips with the transition. The posts will be written for college professors, but the ideas can be adapted to any teacher in any teaching situation (Elementary, Jr. High, High Schools, or even in the private sector).

First, some counsel for those who may be silently panicking – you are a teacher, which means that you are capable and creative. You’ve got this! Sure, there may be new technologies to learn (and there will be a unique earning curve for each one) but remember that you are in a profession that allows you to be amazingly creative – and the more creative you are, the more ability you have to enrich the lives of your students.

So, the venue has changed slightly – your knowledge and abilities have not. Take all that you have been doing, put it into a new format, and take advantage of this amazing opportunity for growth for you, as well as for your students.

Second, I am not trying to replace anything that your school, supervisors, teaching & learning teams, etc. are sending out. There is so much material on the web to help teachers – (what a great blessing!) I simply understand that sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start and some tips and encouragement go a LONG way.  Use the information in these posts as a springboard for:

  • ideas and strategies,
  • to change things around to fit what you are doing,
  • to save time thinking of how to “word” things,
  • and/or to use as a template for your courses.

Third – Communication! My first suggestion is to make sure to keep the channels of communication open to your students. They were used to coming to see you during office hours, or before or after class. Now, online, you need to make sure that they hear from you often. If you already have a channel that you have been using all semester (emails, announcements, blog posts, etc.) continue to use that. If nothing is currently in place, consider some of the following –

  • What are the students used to receiving from the school (What tools are already in place? Do they receive emails, blog posts, etc?),
  • Mobilize whichever medium you are good at using (this is one area that you don’t need to stress about learning a new tool – simply use what you have),
  • Be consistent in that medium for as long as either the course or the pandemic lasts.

Fourth – an example. Here is an example of an announcement that I sent up in canvas (our school’s LMS) on Friday (3/13/20). Our University cancelled all Face-to-Face (F2F) classes on Thursday late afternoon (3/12/20) and after a mandatory department meeting (in which they briefed us on what we would be doing) I sent out this announcement.

I suggest making sure to give your students the following:

  • Reassurance,
  • Information about what is going on with the school and with your class,
  • Keep the info simple – you don’t need to brief them on everything, just enough to move to the next step.
  • You don’t need to have a full plan for the next few weeks, just an outline of what to do when they return to your (now) virtual class.
  • Remember –
    • In this first letter, you don’t need to teach them how to use the tech or every plan that you have in mind, just where to go to find you and the class.
    • What leeway you will give for assignments, due dates, etc. that are effected during the transition.
    • Which overall major items will be different and which will be the same in the curriculum.

This is my first offering – introduction & encouragement as well as help in sending out your first item of communication. If this piece was helpful to you, I am so glad – there are no strings or requests other than to help those in our profession during this difficult transition – please pass it on to other teachers.

Best wishes for your success!

Laryssa Waldron

 

A little about me – I am a Visiting Professor at BYU-Idaho in the Religion Department and previous to that taught English Courses in both Writing and Rhetoric, and Technical Writing at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) where we did a lot of work online and with synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid classes – mainly working on the canvas platform. I am so thankful to my  forward thinking colleagues and departments at both schools (and many others before) who have richly blessed me by freely sharing their knowledge, expertise, and help. It is thrilling to be in a group so willing to freely share their ideas. At every institution I have taught in, I have found this generous attitude. Thank you!