Trust & Hope: We Can’t Tell Who’s Reading, But We Can SEE Who Isn’t (via Google Docs)

As many of us discussed, this remote year has been the time to put faith into the input hypothesis, by just providing input, and not demanding much more than reading from students during a pandemic. Of course, remote learning has been 100% homework, and there’s no way to know what students do at home, much less monitor and support it. So in addition to trusting the input hypothesis—that input would be sufficient for language acquisition expectations within a K-12 context—there was a hope that students were reading. Trust & Hope. Well, today I discovered that my hopes didn’t really pan out, although I cannot say I’m surprised. There’s a pandemic. Full stop. By chance, I clicked on the “trend” arrow that I’ve somehow ignored for a while, and found that it’s quite handy…

“Read something old, and read something new” has been part of my class expectations, not only to get an A(95), but to learn some Latin. I mean, there’s no documented case of someone acquiring a language without input, and reading is self-paced input that’s more effective than any exercise—as long as it’s understood—so include those full glossaries, people! That’s trusting the input hypothesis. The hope was that students would actually do it. The image above is of one class library we’ve been adding to each week. By now, there are a LOT of texts in there, and reading something from September should feel reaaaaaaaal good right now. But today, I found that not many students have been reading, like, at all…

Viewers (i.e. students) & Viewer Trend (i.e. overall)
By looking at the viewers, you can see the last time a student logged in. Again, we can’t say this is evidence they ARE reading—they could be logging in each day for 10 seconds—but we CAN see who definitely isn’t. As you can see below, one student hadn’t been reading for over two months. In fact, there were students who hadn’t even viewed the class library since November—yikes!

As a result, I’ve updated my expectations so that I’ll check the document views each week, and reflect that in PowerSchool as “reading expectations.” Keep in mind that this isn’t punitive. This isn’t a “gotcha” moment. It’s an “I know” moment. I don’t assign grades for individual assignments, either, so no single score can negatively affect a student’s grade. If they’re not understanding much, or if they think they should get a 100 in the class come self-assess time, this is good evidence to have on hand. And yeah, of course there will be the student who figures out that they can open the Doc that week and get the score. Of course, this is just “view” and not really “reading,” but there’s nothing we can do about that. We still can’t be any more assured any student IS reading at home, but we’ll definitely know who hasn’t even made it look like they did! THOSE are the students to support the most.

Post Pandemic
Yeah, I have no idea when this will be, either, but I’m betting on 2022-23 school year fully in-person from the start of the year with no hybrid whatsoever. Yes, I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect a hybrid and/or remote start to 2021-22. Vaccine rollout has been slow, with not enough in supply, COVID rates are now 10x they were when we shut everything down a year ago, there are impending variants among us, and schools are now looking like the highest risk for COVID exposure. Shut it down! SHUT IT DOWN! Although sadly, our country’s economic structure is in the way of this one, and we don’t have enough politicians doing the right thing, even if they promised during the campaign trail.

Regardless, I’m planning to keep the digital libraries in Google Docs rather than printing off copies. There are only a handful of activities that can’t be done on screen, and for those I’ll just print one-offs. That said, checking the Doc weekly will be a simple way to see who isn’t reading (to support those students), as well as more EZ evidence in the gradebook.

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