Episode 3: Virtual Learning 2020

We have to add in more humor and joy to all our lessons. Now more than ever. -Jon Hinthorne

This intriguing episode explores the 4 main “ingredients” that Jon Hinthorne, host of An Unconventional Teacher, includes in his teaching while in this virtual learning setting:

1) Authentic Student Connection 

2) Humor and Joy

3) Modeling Directions and Guidelines &

4) Physical Engagement

COVID-19 has suddenly left our nation’s schools in a completely unprecedented situation of having to teach our students virtually. With little to no training and planning to do so, teachers are banding together to “build the road as we travel down it.” We have all had to figure out how to convert our curriculum to be either 100% digital or 50% digital for those teachers teaching in a hybrid model. 

Jon explores the most important learnings so far in this incredibly new and difficult teaching environment. These learnings will continue with him as an educator for the rest of his career and beyond! What you hear in this episode might surprise you! 

Resource Referenced: Señor Wooly: www.senorwooly.com  

Podcast Credits: Host: Jon Hinthorne 

Podcast Editor and Producer: Jon Hinthorne 

Website: www.anunconventionalteacher.com  

Blog: https://www.anunconventionalteacher.com/blog/

Social Media: https://instabio.cc/anunconventionalteacher 

Website and Media Designer: Nina Telthorst (www.602creative.com

Podcast Available on: AnchorApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsBreaker, and Overcast 

Inquiries: anunconventionalteacher@gmail.com

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript was done by AI and may contain punctuation or typographical errors.


00:00:04Hello and welcome to our podcast an unconventional teacher. I’m your host John. He’s darn this podcast explores the unconventional methods that make our classrooms and teachers great. We hope to uncover why it is and how it is that the unconventional ways of yesterday are now becoming the conventional ways of today now, let’s begin.

00:00:37Okay, welcome to episode 3 of an unconventional teacher again. I’m Jon of your host and this episode will be just me know interview. Just me. I want to be clear on these episodes where it’s just me, but this is a Pay It Forward project. So my hope is that I’m sharing with you things that I’ve learned from other people, you know, I put a few twists on it and you’ll see my different flavor little hinthorne flavor if you will. So my students call it. But for the most part, I’m just sharing with you things that I’ve grabs that I think are word worthy of a podcast. So hopefully you enjoy today is virtual learning in 2020 and I’m going to share with you ingredients to make a remote Learning lesson, maybe a little bit better. Let’s get right in ingredient number one.

00:01:23Connection have a do now have a personal question my gosh don’t most of us do that already. It’s pretty surprising how many times I forget to thank each and every one of my students for being there and have a choice sure some of them are logging on and going and doing whatever playing a video game going on their phones logging out tuning out but the majority of my students are tuning in their feeling engaged with those personal questions at the beginning would you break out room so they can go and talk with each other. We’re trying to have a sense of connection at the beginning of each of our lessons. The second ingredient is humor. Enjoy. Oh my gosh, could this be more important humor and joy using puppets and I just little sock monkey that I use in my classroom that I pass around that yeah, bring the sock monkey out every one little monkey telling jokes. I’m not funny at all, but I try to use my dad humor my dry humor to try to try to be funny, you know, I’ll get it to Keisha know laughs and smiles.

00:02:23Lighten the mood try to show a window into myself right in and have some humor and have some Joy. Oh my gosh. Joy, you know that’s this reality for the pandemic right now and each other for that important safety risk that that would happen. If we were my goodness that’s heavy. A lot of our students are by themselves in cotton in their in their in their own little classrooms write their rooms sitting on their beds logging into each of the classes. Can you imagine if you is that was your high school experience? I can’t I try everyday to try that to try to imagine that so humor. Oh my gosh jokes and and enjoy and funny pictures and videos. Are you senor Wooly? And you don’t know senor Wooly check him out at senor Wooly., for the Lincoln in the explanation of this podcast.

00:03:22But my goodness he’s got funny videos and and they’re hilarious knick knacks with high schoolers and middle schoolers and really just younger students to but they make the the learning of Spanish and then World Language is fun and every single one of you listening probably tries to inject fun and play. In fact, one of our interviewees is going to talk about fun and enjoying enjoying ourselves. If we are students are can enjoy yourself a try to be light-hearted in my chair and you know, it really close to the webcam and you know Whispering do all these little things to try to get and engage engage. My students ingredient is modeling as a little bit more serious.

00:04:03When I heard this and I have to let you know these four ingredients are not my right. I told you that that at the beginning of the episode the four ingredients are actually taken from a colleague who got it from a colleague who got it from conference conference originally was the actfl conference offer foreign language teachers. And so I can’t actually attribute it. I’ve I’ve looked in and try to figure out where this came from. I think it was just sighted in a speech. So I apologize. I can’t I can’t give it to you at work or original Citation for the eighth for these four ingredients, but they’re pretty amazing and they’ve really helped me stay saying have fun connect with my students write every teacher models almost everything right? We have to we give directions we have to stop with the model and show them what we’re intending to our students attending. We don’t have to do it multiple times to tell them multiple times. We tried to write out are in constructions, but then we need to model that we need to show them.

00:05:03Example of what we’re talking about. Now often times I go way too fast and I skip this step I skip it more often and in person learning that I have have in virtual learning because I can’t even see my students. So I’m not even sure if if they’re understanding so I’m having check for understanding hayride in the chat in our in our Google me chat. Give me a thumbs-up or a 125. How do you understand what we’re doing some sort of thing to check in with them so that I know what they’re doing go slow to go fast model everything and I found it to the success of the learning in the success of the student gagement has been relatively High over these past few months. And I think it’s I think it’s attributed to this modeling this going slow. It’s going fast.

00:05:52The last one and this is the one that’s really hard for me as a high-school teacher, but it’s a little easier cuz I’m a World Language teacher and I have to be an actor using my hands and you know showing the meaning of words without explicitly getting the definition of them. So this is a little bit more natural in a world language classroom, but it’s certainly not my dad was a math teacher for 52 years. I don’t know if he did physical engagement his entire 52 years and that’s fine. But when virtual learning work, we’re meeting for needing us cameras are off. So, I’m not entirely sure just quick little know if it’s students are doing this, but we’re giving me on them the opportunity to do it physical engagement. What do I mean by this thumbs up thumbs down actually getting their body move a free stuff. I write with a turn the camera on and then they show me 125. How do they understand it or how much are they enjoying what we’re talking about go find something in the room and bring it back and then show it to us.

00:06:52Another thing that I’ve done is participate while standing right to get the blood flowing so that physical elements is there not falling asleep. If you know, they’re staying engaged in 30 minutes 30-45 minutes. I don’t have my students on a tan synchronous learning for longer than 30 minutes or 45 minutes and then they go on and do their asynchronous work right there if they’re worth their individual work just I so currently what I’m working on right now as we’re all prepping for finals right high schooler state finals and we’re doing that through Ferb bootcamp. Where’s were teaching Birds, but through this idea of boot camp. The main premise of boot camp is that it’s a double entendre. We’re doing all these exercises and trying to have fun. I’m being like a drill sergeant and occasionally being, you know, very very mean to my students and yelling at them with a big smile on my face, which I’m not serious about and engaging them that way, but we’re also trying to engage them through physical and Gage me.

00:07:52What the beginning in the middle of each of our are many lessons are workshops around birds and how they work in the present and past tenses. I am doing push-ups for them. If somebody can’t be you can’t do a push-up or struggles with it and just doing the arm push-ups and different things like that. But I’m having a bunch of students get on the floor and do push-ups with us and instead of just counting to 10 in Spanish discounting in an early lost and we’re doing that without physical element. We think often High School just want to sit there and twiddle their thumbs now, they don’t they’re just big kids, you know, they’re just big kids. They like the engagement especially the Freshman software that I teach but if you see if you’re listening to the senior Junior and senior teacher, I’ve taught them to they like this to you just have to get the couch a little bit differently right b a little bit more funny about it.

00:08:52Write and take notes on paper right do a project off the computer try to get them to physically engage with their learning with a book with paper with a project and this is something that I think is a key. They are on the screens all the time. Are they not? How many hours are they on the screen 7 8 plus hours too much screen time and now all the sudden we’re having learning almost entirely on a screen anytime. We as teachers can move them. Give me they move their eyes off the screen.

00:09:30It’s when it’s huge.

00:09:32All right. So those are the four ingredients to summarize connection connect with our students on a real and personal level consistently everyday. It works number to inject as much you enjoy as we can. This is the time now than ever. We have to be. Joyful and humorous and don’t be on venting about it, but try to bring something funny or joyful each number three. I’ve been trying to model as much as possible.

00:10:01And man, it’s been paying off. I have had very little recapitulation of any of instructions or anything. It’s it’s been it’s been pretty good.

00:10:11Go slow to go fast and number for physical engagement off the computer eyes off the computer physically engaging with the learning and all of those things. I’ve been trying I’ve done all for every single lesson that way but anytime I can connect add humor slow down and model or do physical engagement. I think the lesson goes a little bit better.

00:16:16 Thank you so much for listening to this episode of an unconventional teacher. We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed producing it. This is a project to pay it forward to the teachers and Educators out there seeking something different. If you are or have someone in your world that is an unconventional teacher, please send their name to an unconventional teacher at gmail.com and we can work to get them on this show.

00:16:43 Also, please join us on Instagram and Twitter at an unconventional teacher and be a part of our growing movement to embrace the different as I tell each and every one of my classes I teach at the end of our time together “Vive como si fuera su último día” (live like it were your last day). Have a great day and we’ll see you next time

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