As the use of technology has become more prevalent at home and school, it has become increasingly aware that boundaries need to be set on student expectations while online. As educators, we can provide those boundaries/expectations during live (synchronous) instruction. Just like we would teach our students about boundaries and expectations within a physical classroom, we can also do it during live instruction using resources such as Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum and Online Expectations posters.
This week (and next) I have the privilege of leading a training entitled "Tips & Tricks for Teaching Remotely." Below are some of the highlights of the presentation.
Teach the Tools and Programs:
Provide explicit instruction of how to use the digital tools and programs. Don’t assume students know how to use them. While many students participated in the Spring, not all did. Just like you would teach physical procedures in your classroom, teach the digital ones as well. Also, don’t be afraid to reteach...kids (and adults) need it.
Set clear expectations for live instruction. Review this every time you meet. Using visual images can be helpful for younger students. I created these visuals slides to help students.
Plan a consistent schedule that works for your age group. Have a regular routine. Make sure to include breaks in your schedule between live sessions.
Show Your Face:
Your students want to see your face! Studies have shown that students respond better to video instruction when they can see the face of their instructor.
In both your oral and written instruction and directions make sure to be specific. The more specific you are, the less questions you will need to answer in the future.
Be as interactive as possible in your instruction. Provide multiple opportunities for engagement in a fun and interactive way. Some great digital programs that support this are: EdPuzzle, Flipgrid, Seesaw, Pear Deck, Padlet, and many others.
Don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel. Share digital materials with grade-level partners. However, make sure the material is effective before using it with your students. Not everything on online is equal in quality.
Set boundaries and clearly communicate when you will respond to parent communication. It’s important for parents to understand when you are unavailable to respond due to live instruction. It’s also important to not overwhelm yourself with responding to messages at all hours of the day.
Providing feedback is not only a professional responsibility, it is also best practice. Many of the digital tools that require student response have places to provide feedback. Make sure to communicate with families how they can access the feedback. Programs like EdPuzzle and Google Forms provide instant feedback.
Document cameras can be used on Google Meet to provide instruction. Don’t have a document camera? Use your phone or tablet as a document camera instead.
Choose the Best:
Multiple sites/programs have similar functions. Start using the one(s) you’re most familiar with and slowly add more once students are comfortable. Don't overwhelm families with too many programs all at once.
Keyboard shortcuts are your friend! Simply knowing ctrl+c means copy and ctrl+v means paste can save you time. Try adding a new shortcut to your vocabulary every week or so.
We Are Teachers has a page that provides grade specific ideas for K-5th grade teachers. Click here for more ideas.
Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions about how to effectively teach remotely. I'd love to share ideas!
I want to apologize for the long absence from this site. I start my new position as an Education Technology Teacher on Special Assignment in February and was in crisis mode by mid-March when COVID shut down our school district. Since then I've been in survival mode and haven't kept up with the blog. I hope to change that with new weekly posts. Thank you for understanding!
Any elementary or English teacher can tell you that English Language Arts is typically broken down into four strands: Reading, Writing, Language, and Speaking & Listening. Most educators focus the majority of their explicit instruction on the Reading, Writing, and Language strands, while embedding the Speaking & Listening strand throughout the day. Because of this, Speaking & Listening is often not explicitly taught. In addition, many teachers assume students have the skills needed to demonstrate mastery of Speaking & Listening standards. Unfortunately, this is often not accurate and students usually struggle with listening the most.
Thankfully, there are multiple Ed Tech options that can help educators explicitly teach listening skills to their students. Three of these options are ReadWorks, Listenwise, and Adobe Spark.
1. TikTok provides student engagement.
2. Bullying can be found on this app.
3. It's important that students understand privacy and data sharing using this app.
4. Students should start a TikTok club.
While I agree that TikTok can be a useful app with high school students, I don't believe that the actual app is appropriate to use with students.
30 years ago, when I started attending elementary school, there weren't many options for EdTech. I don't actually remember using computers until the 4th grade. Now, teachers are overwhelmed with so many different options of what their students can use in the classroom. How do educators choose?
There are two main questions educators needs to ask themselves before deciding which EdTech options to use:
I have been a huge supporter and contributor to Teachers Pay Teachers for many years. It is one, if not the, premier site for teachers to purchase curriculum created by (and for) other teachers. However, a new site is starting to emerge for teacher created curriculum. Amped Up Learning started as a place for two educators to sell their engaging history activity, FRECK!. However, it has been adding more and more excellent content onto the site since it started 2 years ago. I'd love for you to check out my Amped Up Learning store and the other great products on this site.
As a teacher I often spend a LOT of time formatting my documents to make them look more exciting for the students. An amazing time saver is the paint roller. Make sure to watch this short video to learn more.
The Tech Lovin' Teacher: Ed Tech TOSA, 15 year educator, tech enthusiast, curriculum creator