Frequently Asked Questions - For Teachers

  • Dear Teachers,

    First and foremost, we want everyone to focus on staying healthy and safe during these uncertain times. We recognize that many of the routines you and your students are used to are not currently in place. As you move forward to plan for student learning in the days and weeks to come, please don’t hesitate to email us any questions you may have to elearningteacher@aacps.org and we will post answers to them in our FAQ list below.

  • 5/26/20 What should elementary teachers do about student behavior codes and reading level codes for Marking Period 4?

    Elementary teachers will not record student behavior grades/codes and a reading level for marking period 4. 

    Elementary Principals will need to ensure that the behavior grades and reading level codes are left blank for Marking Period 4. They will need to be diligent to check this as they review report cards.

  • 5/22/20 What should we do about a grade for Health for all our 5th graders for the 4th Marking Period?

    There is no need to worry.  Teachers will NOT record any grades in the Gradebook for Health.  The Health grade for all 5th graders will be ‘NG’ for the 4th Marking period.  The Instructional Data Division (IDD) will include the following comment, “No Health instruction was given during the Q4 Marking Period.”

  • 5/17/20 I HAVE LOTS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT GRADING FOR FOURTH MARKING PERIOD. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT REDOS, 50% MINIMUM GRADES, LATE WORK, STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT PARTICIPATING, “NGS”, ETC.?

    These are all good questions.  Please take a look at this eLearning Grading Guidance document designed to answer many of your questions. Additionally, here is a Grading FAQ List that will also aid you in making good grading decisions.

    Finally, here is a copy of the 5/9/20 AACPS press release that went out describing changes to second semester grading practices.

  • 5/15/20 Tell me about ECI, PreK, & K Conferences on Monday & Tuesday, May 18/19, 2020? Do ECI, PreK, & K teachers have to post work for their students to do on these days? Do teachers have to hold Office Hours & Learning Support time on these 2 days?

    Please remember that ECI, PreK and Kindergarten conferences will be held on May 18 and May 19, 2020.  There will be no Learning Support Times or Office Hours offered on these two days by these teachers. 

    Additionally, there is no school for ECI, PreK and K students on these days.  The first work to be posted in their Google Classrooms for student use will be on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.  No student materials or assignments will be posted by ECI, PreK and K teachers for student use until Wednesday morning. 

  • 5/6/20 PARENTS ARE ASKING FOR RECORDINGS AND GOOGLE MEET SESSIONS. DO I HAVE TO HOLD LIVE GOOGLE MEET SESSIONS AND POST RECORDED SESSIONS OF MYSELF TEACHING?

    Yes, you do have to hold LIVE Google Meet sessions with students.  You don’t need to hold them every day, but you do need to offer some Google Meet sessions during your Learning Support Time Block.  You can offer small group live learning sessions in both Google Meet and via Google Voice.

    Yes, you do need to offer some direct teaching for your students.  Some of this teaching should routinely include you recording yourself teaching (easily done in Google Meet without students present) and then posting the recording inside your Google Classroom for your students to watch and learn from when they are able.

  • GRADING IN QUARTER 4: HOW MANY GRADES DO I NEED FOR EACH SUBJECT/COURSE IN Q4 OR MP4?

    The general answer is that teachers need 9 grades in the gradebook per course or subject area for Quarter 4 or Marking Period 4.  Importantly, there needs to be one grade per subject area* per week placed in Power Teacher Gradebook.  You must note and inform students in Google Classroom of the weekly assignment that will be graded for the gradebook.  However, it isn’t realistic for all courses to generate the needed 9 grades in the relatively short amount of time some teachers have with their students during the marking period.

    Below you will see the number of grades that teachers need in their gradebooks for the fourth quarter/marking period by level and course area.

    Elementary grading for Q4 - # grades needed:

    • Reading:  one area - 9 grades
    • Writing: two areas – 9 total grades over 2 areas
    • Math: two areas – 9 total grades over 2 areas
    • Science and Social Studies
      • K-2 Science and Social Studies  - 9 total grades over the 2 subject areas
      • Grades 3-5 Science – 9 grades
      • Grades 3-5 Social Studies – 9 grades
    • Cultural Arts – 3 grades

    Middle School grading for Q4 - # grades needed:

    • Core Subjects that are taught daily: 9 grades
    • Core Subjects that are taught on A/B day rotation: 9 grades
    • Encore Subjects: 9 grades

    High School grading for Q4 - # grades needed:

    • All subjects: 9 grades

    *Cultural Arts courses at the elementary level will only have three grades per course placed into the gradebook.  Please try to work with your cultural arts colleagues at your school to distribute the cultural arts course graded assignments to be collected somewhat equally over the 9 week marking period.  For example, students should have engaging cultural arts activities to work on each week, but it may be that the ones collected for the gradebook for Visual Arts occur in weeks 1, 3, and 6 while the music assignments for the gradebook occur in weeks 2, 4, and 7.

     

  • How do I strike a balance between giving my students enough quality work to do and giving them too much work to complete?

    Students should have a total of no more than 2-3 hours of work daily, this includes any watching of videos or completing any readings that you assign.  Be careful to offer flexible assignments where students do not need computer access for extensive time periods as many will not have more than 30-60 minutes per day of computer access time.

    Please realize that students must do several assignments, but they should be only getting new information or assignments on an every-other-day basis as we are all on an A/B day rotation.  Try to give options for students to select the product they will produce to turn in to you; choice will allow students and their supporting adults more flexibility in reaching your expectations.

    Finally, please take a less is more philosophy for mandating work to be turned in weekly.  One assignment should be “starred” or explicitly marked as the ONE weekly graded assignment for the gradebook, but it would be good to make note of other assigned work that is necessary and work that can be viewed as enrichment or enhancement work.  Please help students and families clearly understand your expectations in this time of stress for so many.

  • 4/24/20 AP STUDENTS AND TESTING: HOW CAN I BEST SUPPORT MY AP STUDENT, INCLUDING LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE NEW AP TEST FORMAT?

    Below are the best AP resource sites for you to review. Some of these resources may also be shared with your students.

    Here is a copy of the letter sent out to AP families on April 20, 2020 that includes information regarding readying for the new AP test format and the new online AP testing procedures.

  • Should I set multiple due dates per week for student assignments or should all assigned work have one due date at the end of the week?

    We strongly recommend that you tell students that ALL your work assigned during any one school week is due by Sunday evening at 10pm.  This allows students and their families to have flexibility when planning their work-home-study schedules.  Please tell them that you encourage them to plan their week around their schedules; online learning is not designed to stress students or families.

    We have heard from a number of parents that they have little time during the week to support student learning, but can help their students on the weekend.  Please realize that eLearning is not like in-person learning.  While you may wish to suggest a schedule for turning in work, the ultimate due date for ALL work should be Sunday evening.

    We should plan in extra flexibility for the learning and their network of adults who support them.

    Additionally, it is very important that you “star” or make explicit note of the ONE assignment that you will be grading for inclusion in the gradebook each week.  Students and parents should be able to see clearly which assignments count for the “one grade per week in the gradebook”.

  • Where should I post my Google Meet recordings?

    There are numerous uses for Google Meet and as such different places to appropriately place Google Meet recordings or recorded sessions.  We want the Google Meet recordings to be meaningful for students.  We hope they can be used for tutoring of those students who need extra support and for social connection for those students who need to feel a part of a classroom-family while also getting instructional support.

    Here are our suggestions based your targeted uses of Google Meet:

    If you are using Google Meet for Directions:

    Please post your recording (movie) in your Google Stream or in the Google Classwork area.  Try to label it appropriately so students are able to find what they are looking for by title. 

    Or, if you are using a Google Meet recording to provide video directions for each assignment, you may simply want to name these recordings “Read Me First” and place them as a link next to each assignment.


    If you are using Google Meet for Direct Teaching:

    Please post your recordings (movies) in your Google Classwork area. Again, try to name them appropriately (related to content skill or concept) so they are easily found by students or families.


    If you are using Google Meet for Small Group Discussions or Problem Solving Sessions:

    Please post your recordings (movies) in your Google Classwork area. Again, try to name them appropriately (related to content skill or concept) so they are easily found by students or families.

    If you are using Google Meet for sharing Read Alouds:

    Please post your recording (movie) in your Google Stream or in the Google Classwork area, or both.  Read Alouds work well to support overall learning, but they are also valuable for comforting and supporting the social emotional needs of students.

    If you are using Google Meet for Sharing Sessions:

    If you are simply getting together with students for informal sharing or to have a snack bunch get-together on a late afternoon, you needn’t record these sessions.  However, on occasion you may want to record this type of session so that students who cannot join such a group can log in later and see friends (peers) and the teacher just socializing for 15-20 minutes over a snack.

  • What expectations for student behaviors should we have for students in our Google Classrooms? Should we set classroom rules or expectations?

    Below are a few resources that some AACPS teachers are using when setting Google Classroom expectations.  Ultimately, your Google Classroom is a space where relationships must be nurtured, trust built, and respect shared.  Please set your expectations for your Google Classroom much the way you do in your in-person classroom.

    Resources

  • Should there be a structured correlation between 'A' and 'B' Day classes and the office hours/learning time - or does it matter?

    Priority for Office Hours should be given to students who are assigned to the established A/B Day schedule.  This may vary day-to-day depending on the volume of students who need time and support.

  • I’m an elementary teacher who teaches all subjects. Please tell me how I am going to manage the teaching of all these subjects in my learning block time?

    First, it is important to remember that you will not be meeting with all your students every day and you will not be focusing on all subjects every day. 

    Please take a look at the document we placed in the center of the teacher elearning website titled, “Elementary Teacher Schedule w/ Subject Areas Included”.  It will show you how to think about planning for your week, each day, and addressing your students’ needs.

  • What is the minimum number of students that a teacher is allowed to work with in Google Meet? Specifically, is one-to-one access permitted or prohibited?

    It is suggested teachers meet with two or more students when possible in Google Meet.  However, you may tutor a single student in Google Meet during the 8am-4pm day. 

    When setting up a single-student tutor session, it is wise for you to post the topics of the session in your Google Classroom so that a few more students may join who need similar help, if they are able. Additionally, you could invite targeted students who need similar help while still concentrating on the questions posed by the single student who initially asked you for the tutoring session.

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "OFFICE HOURS" AND "LEARNING TIME" BLOCKS?

    The purpose of Office Hours is to connect with students based on their eLearning needs.  It is intended to help students manage their time, address issues they are having with Google Classrooms & other electronic tools, and support them with minor issues they are having with online learning, and answer some student content-oriented questions.

    Learning time is for engaging students in the content for the subject matter aligned to the AACPS curriculum.  We encourage small group learning time arranged through Google Meet, telephone discussions using Google Voice, or being available to assist students as they have questions related to their assignments during this time period.

    After the first few weeks of online learning, you may be able to assist more students during Office Hours, but not during our transition to online learning.

  • How can I get support for doing Project Based Learning in my new Google Classroom in this online learning world?

    Project Based Learning is challenging in the in-person classroom and it is challenging in an online learning environment, but it is doable in both with some good knowledge, tips, and strategies.  Please see these free online PBL professional development webinars below.

    You may want to take advantage of these or visit the Buck Institute’s website for more PBL resources: https://www.pblworks.org/blog/beyond-worksheet-packet-pbl-projects-adapt-remote-learning

    Free PBL Professional Development Webinars from various vendors:

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 – 3:00PM EST
    How to Adapt a Gold Standard Project for Online Learning
    Join us to learn how to adapt a project for online learning. REGISTER NOW ›

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 – 3:00PM EST
    Solutions for Sticky Problems of Practice for PBL Online
    What are solutions to teacher's top challenges teachers are encountering as they design and facilitate PBL online? REGISTER NOW ›

    THURSDAY, APRIL 23 – 2:00PM EST
    How to Structure Project-Based Learning in the Remote Learning Environment REGISTER NOW

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 – 3:00PM EST
    How Can High Quality PBL Create Equity in the Classroom? 
    Explore how Gold Standard PBL and technology can help achieve equitable outcomes in your classroom. REGISTER NOW ›

  • Is the expectation to have one Google Classroom per traditional class period? Or is the expectation to have one Google Classroom per type of course taught?

    The expectation is to have one Google Classroom for each traditional class period. The idea is that you, as the teacher, would continue to build community among the students who are in the individual classes that you had in the face-to-face environment.

  • What are the guidelines for inviting partners from the community into Google Meet or Google Classrooms?

    A teacher may have partners and volunteers record audio or video to post in the Google Classroom. These partners may not participate in a “live” eLearning setting with our students.

  • 4/24/20 How can I better organize my Google Classroom? I need some Best-Practice Tips for creating a classroom that is easy to use for my students.

    There are indeed some best practices for setting up a well-organized Google Classroom for your students.  If you are a teacher of young elementary students, these best practices will also help your students’ parents navigate your Google Classroom with greater ease. 

    Please take some time to review the two resources below to see what steps you may want to consider taking to strengthen the organization of the materials, resources, and assignments in your Google Classroom.

  • Until we obtain parent permission for recording video/audio of students, what do I do with my current Google Meet recorded sessions that are posted?

    We should have permissions by the end of this week (4/20/20).  However, in the meantime, below are the steps to “hide” your Google Meet recorded sessions that may contain student photos or voices for the time being, most likely just this week:

    1. Go into your Google Drive and then go into your Google Meet Recordings folder.
    2. Once in their Google Meet Recordings folder:

      1. Right click
      2. Click “Share Settings”
      3. Click on “Advanced”
      4. Click “Change”
      5. Click “Off Specific People”:  Make sure you (teacher or teachers) are the only name(s) on the list that can see the Google Meet recorded session in question.

    NOTE:  Remember, that you only have to “hide” the Google Meet sessions for the time being where student faces/voices were present, not all Google Meet recordings.

  • One of my students lost the code I gave them to log into my Google Classroom. What do I do?

    You, the teacher, are key to assisting your student. There are two options for you to help your student get access to your Google Classroom:

    1. You can enroll your child directly into your Google Classroom.  When your student goes to log into Google Classroom they will see your classroom.  They will simply click on the classroom and they will be able to “enter” your Google Classroom.
    2. You can give the initial code to your student again and it will still work.

     

    Please NOTE: 

    1. Please do not generate a new code for the student who lost the initial code you gave him.  If you generate a new code, sadly the old code will no longer work for any of your students.
    2. Please do not tell your student or their parents to call the help desk or the number to ask for a password reset.  You, the student’s teacher, are the only person who can help your student access their Google Classroom.

  • I shared a Google resource with my students. Why do I keep getting emails from them that they can’t access the files?

    If you are sharing a resource from your content area Shared Drive, you must make a copy of that resource (including videos, PDFs, and other documents that students will just view).

    These directions will help you make a copy of Shared Drive resources. Never open a file and copy the web address that appears across the top. This does not share the file with others.

  • How do I move eLearning materials for my course from the AACPS shared drive into my Google Classroom?

    We have produced this Shared Drive Materials Transfer Document that contains the directions for moving AACPS lessons, materials, and resources from the shared drive into your Google Classroom.

  • Do you have anything I can post inside my Google Classroom to help families understand how to deal with turning their microphone and camera on and off?

    This Google Meet Microphone & Camera Infosheet can be used inside your Google Classroom with  students and parents.

  • I RECEIVED A GOOGLE VOICE PHONE NUMBER. NOW WHAT?

    Google is providing every AACPS educator Google Voice during this time away from school.  This means that you have received a Google Voice phone number.  Teachers/Administrators can use this number to reach out to students and parents.  This allows for educators to contact families from home without the ability for families to see their personal phone numbers.

    Educators can also give this Google Voice phone number out to parents/students for them to use to contact their student’s teacher.  There is a voicemail hooked to these phone numbers so the teacher can access the after-hour messages left by students/parents when they begin their next school day. 

    We are asking teachers to make calls only between 8am and 6pm. Before 8am and after 6pm, teachers should not call students.  Teachers should not answer their Google Voice number before 8am nor after 4pm; allow calls to go to voicemail.

    Go to ClassLink to the Google Tile that says, “Introduction to Google Classroom, Meet, and Voice for Teachers” to learn how to use your Google Voice phone capabilities.  You will also be shown how to use Google Voice in the PD sessions most of you are enrolled in this week.

  • What can I do to support families who are upset about the eLearning load on their students?

    Here are a few things to think about:

    These are stressful times for many families without online schooling.  Now, we add in the responsibility to support a student with eLearning and this can cause a tipping point.   Most parents have never been directly responsible for the instruction/teaching of their students; this has been the job of the classroom teacher.  Parents provided the secondary support to help their children practice and acquire the skills initially taught at school.  Then, we increase the volume of stress when we add in the “online” environmental factors.  What works in the classroom on our machines does not necessarily work the same way in in Google Classroom with the iPad, tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop families are using at home.

    What can we do as educators to relieve some of the stress?

    • Try to adopt a Less is More attitude about the remaining 8 weeks of this quarter or marking period.

    • Think about addressing the essential elements or big rocks in the curriculum without trying to duplicate what you would have done in you in-person classroom.

    • Offer activities to students where the Internet is not needed for more than downloading or uploading for a few minutes.
      • Challenge students to play more, read more, build more, write more, play their instrument more, dance more, etc.
      • Ask them to think, compare and contrast, synthesize, create, explore, prepare and argument, etc. with the information or resources you have given them.
      • Ask them to present their thinking in written, oral, or hybrid formats to share with you or others in Google Rooms inside Google Classroom (You can do this using Google Meet).
      • Think about engaging activities that offer them the opportunity to use something they are trying to learn with their family members.

    • Less, less, less….  Give the key lesson/lessons for the week and then post enhancements that are optional for families.  Those that want to do the optional activities are welcome to do so, but everyone does not need to complete them.

    • Try not to use all the cool tech-based tools in every lesson.  Many parents are frustrated at the number of different tech tools that are being used.  Each one of them can offer frustration for students and families.  Perhaps, spreading them out over many days will help relieve stress.  Additionally, if you have directions to post on how to use them, that will help too.
    • Ask students to talk with their parents about different topics – give them “good” topical stuff to talk about with one another so that family time can be happy.  Many students and parents are struggling to get along inside our eLearning world.  The more we give them opportunities for joyful conversation, the better life at home will be. 

  • How can I help parents plan their student’s online learning daily schedule?

    Please point them to our suggested schedules that are online on the public elearning site at www.aacps.org/elearning  These are schedules that show parents/guardians that it is their choice as to how their student’s day should be structured.  Certainly, learning support time hours from the teacher may influence this, but a family’s schedule needs to fit them first; their lives are the priority.

    Additionally, it is important for parents/guardians to realize that 2-3 hours of learning time each day for elementary and middle school students and 2-4 hours daily for high school students is appropriate.  Students should not be sitting studying or sitting in front of the computer for 6 hours each day.

  • When does the 3rd Quarter end, when are my Quarter 3 grades due in the gradebook, and when does the 4th Quarter begin?

    Quarter 3 (marking period 3) ends on 4/3/20 and the Quarter 4 (marking period 4) begins on 4/6/20.  Quarter 3 grades are due in your teacher gradebook by 4/14/20.  

    No student work assigned from 3/16/20 – 3/29/20 is allowed to be counted for a grade in Quarter 3.  This was a student break; no new work should have been assigned during this time.  If you would like some of this work to count, you will have to post it as newly assigned work in your Google Classroom beginning 4/6/20.

     The first student assignments in Quarter 4 can be collected and graded (counted) during the week of 4/13/20.

  • How many grades do we need in the gradebook for Quarter 3? Is it the same for all grades and all courses?

    The general answer is that teachers need 4 grades in the gradebook for Quarter 3 or Marking Period 3.  However, it isn’t realistic for all courses to generate the needed 4 grades in the short amount of time some teachers had with their students in the third quarter of this academic year.

    Below you will see the number of grades that teachers need in their gradebooks for the third quarter/marking period by level and course area.

    Elementary grading for Q3 - # grades needed:

    • Reading:  one area - 4 grades
    • Writing: two areas – 4 total grades over 2 areas
    • Math: two areas – 4 total grades over 2 areas
    • Science – 3 grades
    • Social Studies – 3 grades
    • Cultural Arts – 2 grades
    • Behaviors – Mostly P and CD; if an NI is chosen, teacher must provide a comment and have evidence to support giving an NI
    • Comments – comments are not mandated for 3rd MP; however, if a low grade is given, a comment must be included to support the grade

    Middle School grading for Q3 - # grades needed:

    • Core Subjects that are taught daily: 4 grades
    • Core Subjects that are taught on A/B day rotation: 3 grades
    • Encore Subjects: 3 grades

    High School grading for Q4 - # grades needed:

    • All subjects: 4 grades

  • What should I do if students can’t get the remainder of their work to me for Quarter 3 so I can grade it? What if I don’t have 9 grades for Quarter 3?

    In these unsettling times, please, please, please be compassionate with students regarding the acceptance and grading of assignments for Quarter 3.  Remind them of work they can turn in and allow the work to be somewhat different than originally planned as the materials they have to use may have changed. Feel free to give them the opportunity to work on an alternate assignment(s), if they need to do so to improve their performance.

    Quarter 3 has been reduced significantly.  Teachers will need at least four grades in the gradebook for this marking period.  You may use more, if you have more grades.  However, if some students need some leeway due to the unforeseen crisis, please think about how to best support them at this time.