My Covid-Conscious Classroom



This coming week I will begin a school year...wait for it, wait for it...like no other I have ever taught in!  This year I will be teaching using a hybrid model, so I will have some students in class and others at home streaming in using Zoom and/or completing asynchronous work.  A lot of things have to change this year from the pre-covid world in order to keep the learning environment safe, but one thing that's not changing is that I still love my job and I absolutely cannot wait to meet my students and help them navigate these coming challenges.  Oh yeah, and help them discover the language and cultures of the French speaking world!  In a forthcoming post, I will share some of the ideas for hybrid learning that I picked up over the summer, but in this post I am sharing what my school and classroom look like this year.




Here's a great example of a community coming together:  the New York Racing Association, which owns our famous local race track (which is closed to fans this summer) loaned picnic tables to our school to use for socially distanced outdoor lunches (weather permitting, of course).  They are currently occupying what is normally a parking lot.



Normally, on the bulletin board outside my classroom, I try to convey through images the prevalence of French in the world and point out where it is spoken.  This year, however, I felt that the message I really wanted to send first and foremost to my students was that we're all in this together and that all are welcome.  I purchased the print rights to that image on Etsy and I made my own text in Photoshop.  I plan to actually talk about why I chose "Stronger Together" as the translation when it literally means "All Together."  The reason is that "Stronger Together" is the slogan that is often used in English for that phrase.  I will use this as an opportunity to point out that not everything can be translated word for word.



Inside my classroom, I removed the homework station, where students grabbed papers they missed, since papers will be minimal this year and must be distributed with gloves on, and replaced it with a graphic I made with helpful reminders to stay safe.  I also plan to go over the vocabulary with students since these words will be needed often.  The image of the coronavirus was designed by Manuela Molina and is part of a story published by La Mutualité Française Occitanie and is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0.  The images of the children were designed by Sandrine Lhomme and Thomas Tessier for Il était une histoire (I did add masks to the children in Photoshop, as these illustrations were created before mask guidance was put out).  They are believed in good faith to be permissible under France copyright law as pedagogical exceptions.



One thing that's not changing is my bulletin board of movies in French.



My useful expressions board is another mainstay.



A big difference this year is that there are only 15 desks and they are all 6 feet apart.  The library of books that usually sits by my window is no more...for now at least.  One thing's for sure, I'm glad we have lots of technology tools to get us through this pandemic, or things would be a lot more challenging.

To my readers, what is school looking like for you this year?  Are you in person, online, or hybrid?  What are some things you had to change?

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