Overcoming obstacles and finding solutions – Episode 28

Hear how two teachers are making the hybrid learning model work in their classrooms. Ryan Morris, an eighth-grade science teacher, became a digital 1-to-1 classroom five years ago which allowed him to feel comfortable with switching to distance learning, and Allison Zinn was not digital when schools closed last March so she needed to convert her lessons to an online platform.

One piece of advice Allison would give to other teachers in her position is to “Start slow, to go fast.” It’s what she did with her students too. She started with an introduction to Canvas and then little by little added components. She also suggests teachers do their research and ask questions. There are people and/or YouTube videos to help.

Even though he felt comfortable with the digital platform and Canvas, Ryan had to rethink his science labs. Using breakout rooms, he set up a space for face-to-face and LaunchED@Home students to interact with one another. In some ways, this has made the lab process go more quickly. There is a set of in-person students who use the lab equipment and who share their cameras with the student(s) at home. This makes one set of students data analysts and the other the investigators. The defined roles allow groups to jump right into what they need to do.

A key component of their classrooms is a sense of community. Both teachers struggled with the best ways to build relationships with the LaunchED@Home students. Listen to this episode to hear them discuss how they are making meaningful connections.

Plus, you definitely want to hear about SciQuest. It’s a scavenger hunt to keep students participating, because “no one wants to work for a candy IOU.”

SciQuest sample

Step 1: Find the symbol clue. Click on it.
Step 2: Land on page that teases to another page.
Step 3: Answer the questions from the “quiz.” (There are four questions per grouping; this is a sample of one page.)
Step 4: The first person to find all the clues and answer the “quiz” questions correctly wins!
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ABOUT THE GUESTS – (This episode was recorded Oct. 28, 2020)

Ryan Morris is in his fourth year teaching eighth-grade science teacher at Windy Ridge K8, where his wife is also a teacher. Prior to WRK8, Ryan taught science at Apopka Middle School for three years and K-5 science specials at Englewood Elementary for two years. He is proud of his 2019 students who earned the top FCAT science scores in the district. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University.

Allison Zinn teaches fifth grade at Lake Silver Elementary School and is in her 11th year teaching. She is the CHEER, the school’s positivity and morale team, leader and teaches after school tutoring. Prior to LSES, Allison taught at Mollie Ray ES for five years. She earned her college degree from Florida Atlantic University. 

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