COVID-19 Contingency & CANE Flash Sales

Without sensationalizing the global matter, let’s recognize that employers are considering contingency plans for unexpected, or impending work closures. What would employees need at home in order to continue working for a week, or two, or three? This extends to educators and school closures. In fact, our admin have already been asked to prepare. At the very least, having a plan is a good thing for everyone, regardless of risk. However, I’ve already observed unreasonable burdens placed on teachers to invent new expectations, routines, policies, assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. Sure, the situation is extraordinary, but what I’ve seen is missing a few key factors…

Lack of Training & Independence
Most teachers have no training in virtual or distance learning, and it’s not as simple as assigning a Quizlet. Also, some teachers can’t even create a bookmark or Google Form, so there’s that. Most districts and students don’t have the technology to hold real time classes, either, so the majority of teaching and learning in the event of a school closure will be asynchronous, and likely involve paper resources. This means gathering and creating a lot of materials for students. Last I checked, most teachers don’t have enough time in their day for even typical demands of the school day, let alone the extremely atypical school closure event!

Any district expecting their students to suddenly cope, let alone thrive with a more independent learning structure, is simply naive. For all the reasons teachers have been assigning less and less homework, these apply tenfold to actual coursework at home. First there’s the teaching materials, like PPT’s, videos, worksheets, packets, assigning YouTube videos, etc. Then, there’s creating, assigning, evaluating, tracking down, reporting of work, grading, etc. which will all be compounded by limited contact, and lack of technological access. This will also take place without any social-emotional support, which is way more a part of a student’s school day than many give credit. Also, this all applies to content to be learned. Then, there’s the matter of second languages…

Comprehensible Input & My Plan
For second languages, the independent model is a really, really, really bad idea. Only the most highly motivated students can seek out and receive CI on their own, whereas most frustrate from incomprehension. Without a language expert to make what is heard/read/viewed more comprehensible, students needing support at home likely won’t get it. In the event of a school closure, this could mean weeks of little to no input.

So, with our admin already in talks with the district, it’s only a matter of time until we’re each asked to plan something for our own classes. Therefore, given all the drawbacks mentioned above, and the need for CI, My plan is to send home students each with a couple of novellas. The assignment? Read. That’s it. Think about it…if students are bogged down with science, math, essays, etc., they won’t do any of my elective coursework anyway. Their grade doesn’t need to suffer under such extraordinary circumstances, so why deal with that at all? Also, there isn’t anything more effective than reading at one’s own pace —using a resource with a complete glossary in order to increase likelihood of CI)—especially when there’s no follow-up, and especially when I can’t be there for support. Therefore, reading a below-level novella with a full glossary is the most reasonable thing to assign students at home. Remember, “books are easy” is one of five Extensive Reading principles of Jeon & Day (2015). That means teachers are in need of some books…

CANE & Contingency Flash Sales
Due to restrictions placed on the hosting college’s campus, CANE’s Annual Meeting has been canceled. This is the first that COVID-19 has impacted me. I’ve been selling novellas at CANE since 2017. Aside from not attending or presenting, I won’t be selling books this year, even though I prepared to. Even though these books are usually print-on-demand, I’ve had to order a small stock to bring to CANE each year. Guess what’s sitting in my living room right now? In order to deal with that stock, and to help send home students with a novella or two in the event of school closures…

All novellas are $4 each (minimum order of 10) for a limited time!

In case you’re wondering, like me, what to do with “extra” copies of novellas if there isn’t a school closure after all, I’m taking a cue from Kristy Placido, a Spanish teacher author whose students read a lot of books. That is, at the very least, each student gets a copy of a book to keep, just like in many ELA classes. Those who don’t want their book donate it to the class. Not a bad way to build an FVR library, eh? So, let’s hope we don’t need to close schools, but we can prepare with a realistic and effective contingency plan that maximizes input. Oh, and you can get more books more easily.

One thought on “COVID-19 Contingency & CANE Flash Sales

  1. You are so real…I love that. I’m a noob @ C.I. but I am learning so much from your blog, & I don’t even teach Latin. Thank you so so much. ♥

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