Well, “Remote Learning Day 1” is in the books! I went home more exhausted than I do on the first day of school…but it was an AWESOME DAY!
Students showed up to virtual classes! Teachers were ready! Students were engaged! Learning did not stop because F2F has been halted.
But, if we could truly see into our students’ home, what would we see?
- Kids trying to be “students” and a babysitter to younger siblings at the same time.
- A student that really wants to participate, but their internet is spotty at best.
- A house that doesn’t really support the learning environment, so there are distractions all day long.
- A house with multiple digital learners that are trying to help one another as well as stay on top of their work.
Yes, we have curriculum to cover, but we have students to take care as much as we can through a computer screen…at times like this, these connections are going to be more important that curriculum.
As I’ve been reading over the past few days, I’ve found some “tech tips” for helping our students get that SEL connection while they are at home that I wanted to share with you today.
Communication (not just about the assignment for the day)
- Spend some time with “Check Ins” to see how kids are really doing before starting the lessons.
- Share some likes/dislikes with students and give them a chance to share.
- Class discussions about the topics.
- Read a book to your students! Start the day out with a chapter from a book…kids at any age love to be read to. (or record it and send it as a daily announcement)
- I know that Remote Learning is a different realm for most of us, but have fun…your students will appreciate it!
- Change up your teaching style!
- Draw me a response – Think classroom whiteboards – have students respond to questions by drawing a picture and holding it up to the camera.
- STEM! Activities – can you get them to build things.
- One of my fondest memories during the lockdown last spring was the weekly Zoom calls that our Children’s Pastor had with the kids. One of their most engaged days was a “Scavenger Hunt.” He would say, “I want to see a brown shoe. Go!” My kids were running all over the house looking for random items for Pastor Keith. They were laughing and they were engaged! Math teachers could ask to see a measuring cup when doing fractions. Social studies teachers could ask for a map or an artifact that represents the current area of study. You get the idea.
- Encourage journaling during this time.
- I start each class period with a song playing and a warm up on the screen. When the song finishes, we start. Normally, my questions are about what we did yesterday or will do today. During remote learning, some days the questions may take a more personal turn – What did you do this weekend? What was the best part of yesterday? Things that we would normally ask as small talk in the hallways…
- Start with an inspirational quote for the day.
- Play a trivia game…not a curriculum game, but just plain fun trivia.
- Limit the “Mute” time – let the students talk to you and each other. Connections are important!!
- Use them just to say “Hello” or send a “Birthday Greeting” to your students…wouldn’t your kids love to see (and hear) you sing Happy Birthday once or twice!
- Be creative with your announcements – use images, videos, clips – don’t use simple “text” announcements.
- Encourage “Responsibility” – students are much more “in charge” of their learning than they normally are at school. Encourage them!!
- “Operation Organization” – check with students to make sure that they are organized in a manner that will help them be successful
- Remind students to use the calendar.
- Remind students to label documents.
- Remind students to use folders to organize documents and files.
- Organization nurtures success.
- Set “Weekly Goals”
- Completion of work during remote learning!
- Positive interactions from home during this time.
Don’t forget the Parents
- This is a hard time for parents as well!!!
- Try to do a “Weekly Check In” with the parents.
- How’s it going?
- How can I support you during this time with your student’s education?