Cheryl Backman

Cheryl Backman

Science teacher
Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School

"Online learning has presented us with many challenges, including how to keep our students engaged with the work and how to help students who may be struggling academically or emotionally. When we were together in school, my students would start each period by filling out their Mood Meter, which helped them to identify both what they were feeling and why they were feeling that way. Another practice that occurred in my classroom was the use of Falcon Dollars to enter a weekly raffle which enabled the winner to choose out of my prize box."
 
"Since we have been home, I have taken the Mood Meter and made it into a Google Form, which the students fill out 2-3 times a week. The data from the form gives me a snapshot of how students are feeling - in general and about online learning. There is always a section that allows them to ask for help, knowing that I will get them the help that they need to address whatever is going on in their lives."
 
"I struggled with student engagement for the first three weeks, even though I was reaching out to the parents of my students. Finally, I decided to bring back my prize box, with the weekly prize being a delivery of homemade cupcakes! I found a name generator online and every student who completed work for that week had their name added to the wheel. I would then choose names during virtual class time on Thursdays. During the first week, I had only 15 names on the wheel. This week, I had 46 names on the wheel! I spend my Saturday mornings baking, frosting and delivering cupcakes all over Albany. I love socially distant visits with my students and their families."