Technical Mistakes - Day Five Online

Online teaching props.
(Tomato made by my writing buddy. Shoe box and books get webcam at perfect angle. Don't hurt me, I'll read them soon!)

I made a big technical error today. It's not surprising that this would happen eventually. When I started the audio for our reading passage, I asked if students could hear it and saw one student nod. They must have been thinking about something else.

Thankfully one of the students stayed on the line at the end of class to ask if I could show the link to listen to the audio. This was an easy fix: just an announcement on the portal.

This mistake didn't affect the lesson task of pointing out uses of figurative and lyrical language in the text, or later editing sentences to include these elements and make more interesting writing. In fact, the students did fantastically in both of these tasks. I sent them off in teams to analyse, then again to write, jumping into different side rooms to assess comprehension and be available. 

To show, instead of tell, the idea of a "fun game", we had time passing quickly, ignorance of work deadlines and descriptions of adventures. As an embellishment of a "dark and scary night", we had the absence of light, a broken light bulb and eerie trepidation along a creaky floor. They're catching on quickly to this idea of subtly showing, not telling. 

With this being the first noticeable technology mishap and my students engaging to already respond to exercises so well, I'm really getting away easy with these online lessons!

Outside of the classroom, things are progressing as well. The students just submitted their first draft of a story inspired by a chosen proverb. While I'm curious about their ideas, I'm a little overwhelmed with the changes to teach in this new way, so the thought of sitting down to mark out notes on how to improve these drafts is something I want to avoid.

How do I avoid it? When not preparing lessons: a little TV, a little cooking, a lot of eating, a lot of reading and some writing. 

Speaking of which, one thing I've enjoyed during this time of social distancing is my video chat writing/working dates with a prior colleague and continuing close friend. We used to meet about once a week in person to write or grade together, and saw no reason not to move it online. It's great for de-stressing and accountability. (In fact, she's by my side right now.)

Like the students help each other to come up with ideas, expand upon them and then review, we do this with our stories and our classes. Wouldn't it be nice if some of my students kept in contact after this term and continued to support each other? I wonder if there are some ways I can encourage this. Suggestions welcome!


  1. I loved your fun game to help your students understand the concept of 'show don't tell' more. The absence of light, a broken light bulb and eerie trepidation along a creaky floor was perfect! Some great creative writing activities here!

    1. Thank you! I'm looking forward to reading their first drafts soon to see more creativity.


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