Blog post by the CapCUE Board

As schools shut down last March, there was so much fear, uncertainty, and even panic. In just a weekend, most teachers were expected to move their classrooms to the virtual world. For some that meant digging out those educational tools, they had learned at the last CUE conference, reaching out to their PLN on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For others, March meant trying to figure out how to even get students enrolled in their Google Classroom. What was obvious to CapCUE was that we knew we could help all our educators.

The first buoy we sent out to our members, who were swimming in the deep pools of crisis teaching, was an EdCamp style online event. We called it QuaranCamp and it seemed to be exactly what so many teachers needed. We held our first on Sunday morning, April 26th, with more than 120 educators signed up, we talked Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Forms, and connected with teachers all over CapCUE country (and some even beyond). More than anything, so many participants were incredibly thankful to have the time to connect, share, and ask questions. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with one evident appeal: host another one! In CapCUE over-achieving style, we hosted two more. Our Lightning Rounds were two weekends in May when more than 50 educators logged in and learned from not just the CapCUE board, but from each other. Turns out the best life preserver is not just throwing edtech tools at a drowning teacher, it’s offering up actual help.

We didn’t stop there. In June, knowing that the Fall was still uncertain, we reached out to Catlin Tucker to see which book she felt would be a great introduction for a Blended Learning model. We wanted to host a book study. Catlin suggested Blended Learning in Action and we dove in. Splitting up the book into chunks, we proceeded to engage 103 teachers, TOSAs, and administrators in a series of discussions each Wednesday night over five weeks of the summer. Using breakout rooms in Zoom, participants had the chance to discuss and share ideas and not just learn from the book, but from each other.  We charged $25 for the book study, and with that money, we were able to give grants to four CapCUE educators who needed funding for their distance learning classrooms.

Even during a pandemic and shelter in place, CapCUE discovered the key to supporting our members: creating a space to connect and share. Although a teacher may feel she is alone in her classroom, teaching is not a solitary profession. We cannot survive without the help of other educators. When we moved those classrooms home, many felt even more alone. CapCUE is so thankful we were able to give our members a place to share and learn from each other.

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About Mercedes Maskalik