Teaching is not easy, but planning distance learning lessons is even more challenging. #canIgetanamen
From technology challenges to lesson implementation issues, the challenges of virtual teaching can quickly become overwhelming. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone.
Thankfully, we have a wonderful group of supportive educators who were happy to share how to make the most of your virtual teaching lessons so that you and your students can both be successful. The teachers in Mrs. D’s VIP group generously shared their advice and expertise to help others in this most unusual time.
1. Provide consistency in scheduling.
Whether you are reading a book or doing a digital morning meeting, try to hold the virtual class on the same day and time. Not only does it make it easier for you to organize your day, but it also helps your students and their families who need to have a routine.
If possible, use the same meeting room link and password for each online lesson.
2. Take a walk together.
While most teachers rely on their laptops when dialing into their virtual meetings, consider using your phone instead. A walk into your backyard while on a virtual class can provide ideas for writing topics, class discussions, and more. It is also a great way to connect with your students on a more personal level.
3. Have students read aloud.
Encourage your students to read aloud while on a virtual meeting. If virtual meetings are unavailable or your students do not feel comfortable reading in front of their peers online, give them the option of sending in a short video or audio clip of them reading their favorite book. It gives them a chance to practice fluency and you an opportunity to assess their reading progress.
You can also have students’ parents volunteer to read a story to the class.
4. Have a dance party.
Virtual dance parties are a great way to get out some excess energy so students can focus and learn. Dance breaks can be done at the beginning of a lesson, in the middle, or at the end as a “reward” for good class behavior. So crank up some kid-friendly tunes and get moving!
Here are some tips for using music in the classroom.
5. Check-ins are vital.
Make it a priority to check-in with your students throughout the week. Personal check-ins to see how they are feeling about what is going on, how they are feeling about school, and what kind of support they need can give you insight into what they need most at that moment in time.
Often, the emotional and mental toll of distance learning can be more taxing than the academic side of things. Sometimes skipping the lessons for the day and just having a classroom chat are more helpful than any planned lesson.
6. Try some projects.
Do not be afraid to work through a project together in your virtual lessons. Whether it is a science experiment or a history project, virtual lessons allow your students to work together to complete a task. That social component is often missing in distance learning, so any opportunity to foster it is important.
No matter how you feel about distance learning, you have an amazing opportunity to positively impact the lives of your students – even from afar.
I also want you to know that you aren’t alone in how you’re feeling. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you are doing enough for you students and the families you service.
How is virtual learning going for you? What’s working and what’s not working? Tell us in the comments below!