Teachers working from home: What do you need?

Just as many of you, I am preparing to switch to online classes with my students for the foreseeable future. If you are using any of the materials on this website, and I can supply a file or ancillary to make your task easier, do not hesitate to ask.

In an earlier post I recommended various ways to use the pdf to enhance instruction. Below is one approach that I plan to use with my own students as I make the transition to online instruction.

Several times a week I have my students sight-read in groups and encourage them to ask their peers or, as last resort, me about words that they do not know (LLPSI is our primary text). Since students at home will not be able to rely on their peers or me, I have decided to annotate their Latin passages to make their reading experience a little smoother and less frustrating–for high and low performing students alike.

My approach is simple: (1) I annotate a copy of the free pdf of the text, (2) take a screenshot of a selected passage to create a conveniently sized jpg, and finally (3) insert the jpg into an online assignment or test (e.g. Google Classroom, Blackboard, Canvas, Schoology, etc.). Sometimes I just annotate a pdf page, skip the jpg conversion, and insert the pdf into the assignment. Below is an example from Ritchie’s Fabulae Faciles:


Annotating a pdf or jpg and inserting it into an online or in-class exercise is one of the easiest ways to anticipate and address questions students will have as they work alone at home. I can tailor my notes to the needs of that specific group of students. In addition, the ability to carve up a full-size pdf page into a selected passage (whether jpg or pdf) allows me to create exercises and tests for the desktop where students have enough room to read the passage above and still have room below to answer short answer questions, complete multiple choice, or even write out translations without scrolling.

The best part about this approach is that it just takes minutes to create from start to finish. For those of us who are teaching six classes and four preparations and now have to adjust to online instruction, there is only so much time to work each day. Annotating the pdf and creating a jpg for online assignments can be an elegant way to keep the students reading.

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