When life gives you lemons, take a walk??

stephanieThis is a guest post from faculty member Stephanie Sawyer, M.S. | Fitness and Wellness. Last week was tough for many of us, and Stephanie had a great way to handle it.

I wrote a PAR blog about yesterday’s Canvas situation. I shared it with one of my mentors, Louise So, and she thought you would get a kick out of it. When life gives you lemons, take a walk?? Enjoy! Stephanie

After my refreshing quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to my office (I know this because my I-Runner app calculated the distance), I was greeted with a district-wide message stating that Canvas was down. Not believing that such a thing was possible, I logged into Canvas to find that it was true. I didn’t panic at first because the class in Canvas that I needed to access didn’t occur until the evening, still several hours away.

However, as the hours passed while I went about my day teaching other classes, the panic started to set in. I kept thinking that it was just a matter of time before Canvas was restored. Unfortunately, that was not the case as I was now two hours away from a two-and-a-half-hour night class. I needed access to two power-point presentations, a Discussion Board activity, and an interactive, web-based activity, which were all on Canvas. I can “song and dance” a class as well as any of my colleagues, but two-and-a-half-hours is a little long.

As I started looking for my power-points on my office computer, I realized that they were on my home computer since I had created them before becoming full-time faculty and having an office computer. Therefore, I had to hike another quarter-mile back to my car, drive home and e-mail myself the power-points from my home computer. This event took about an hour in all. In addition, I had to run to the copy center and print out copies of everything that was on Canvas.

I am happy to report that I made it to class on time, had all of my materials on hand and accumulated over 14,000 steps for the day. The lesson learned was to not always rely on technology, to have a backup plan and make sure that there are master copies to retrieve in a pinch.


Week of Accountability ’15 Teaching Tip: What just happened?

     At the beginning of most class periods, I had out a small sheet of scrap paper to every student.  It's about 1/4 of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  At the beginning of the semester they always ask, "What's this for?"  As we get farther on, they stop asking, they might groan, or if I do not give them one that day, they may ask for one!  In the last few minutes of class, I always ask students to write something for me:
1.  something they learned
2.  something that is not clear
3.  a question
4.  the topic they are writing on
5.  a working thesis
6.  the title of a good source they found
7.  a short rhetorical analysis
    This could be anything, and it can serve several purposes: to keep them engaged for what's coming up, as formative assessment, as communication between us (often I respond and pass it back the next class period). Students who do not like to raise a hand in class feel heard and get questions answered.  It's a quick way for me to see what they get, the direction in which they are going, and to know which students may need extra visiting during the next class.