Lesson planning for students during online school

By Jamison Townsend, Intern

As the year progresses, more and more information about the COVID-19 pandemic comes out. Life has changed for many Americans as restaurants, bars and offices have closed down in Michigan. Most importantly for students, school buildings have closed for the rest of the school year. Debates on how education is going to change for students now that they must attend classes online have circulated and some schools seem to be  doing better than others.

In the Grosse Pointe Public Schools System, there have been many guidelines set up to keep order in the school community. According to Community Relations Specialist Rebecca Fannon, GPPS wants to handle this situation as smoothly and responsibly as possible, acknowledging in an email that it is understood that educating students outside of the classroom will not be an easy task.

A student-centered, flexible approach to learning and grading is key during this time,” Fannon said. “The intent of this document is to provide clarity for teachers and students regarding remote learning academic expectations and participation while providing flexibility to ensure success.”

In the email Fannon sent, there were explicit guidelines on what students and teachers are expected to do. These guidelines are similar for both students and teachers, with the bottom line being that students and teachers are expected to work together through the Schoology learning management system in order to turn in assignments for them to be graded. 

Students who aren’t able to access Schoology due to lack of internet or electronic devices, are encouraged to communicate with the counseling department and will have access to district issued computers, if needed.

Along with working with students, teachers are also expected to work with other teachers in their departments and have all assignments and lesson plans posted for students on Schoology by the beginning of every week. 

As expected, this journey hasn’t been an easy one for teachers and students alike. History teacher Kevin Shubnell says that working from home has been very difficult because of all the complications he faces at home.

Working from home with three small kids while my wife is also working has been the hardest part,” Shubnell said. “I find myself connected through emails and Schoology at all odd hours of the day in the event a student has a question or I have to keep up with grading.”

Shubnell says that this style of lesson planning, where everything is well planned out and easy to access, has worked well for students. He is very optimistic about the years to come. 

“I believe that this process will stick with me when we are back to life in the building and the classroom,” Shubnell remarked.  “It has also forced me to get to know Schoology better and as long as Schoology is part of life at North, I am going to be able to utilize it much more effectively.  I really believe my classes will look a lot different when we are back to normal.”

According to Shubnell, many students have benefitted from this process and have exceeded his expectations for work quality. He believes that more students are being helped by online school than hurt, while acknowledging that it all depends on the individual student.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to motivation,” Shubnell said. “I can empathize with students who find it difficult to get work done while being locked in their homes.”