During the first weeks of school, we are building our learning community. Doing this in a virtual setting presents new challenges. Here are 3 tips for setting up your class community.
Music has the ability to change the brain. In the mornings on the way to school, I throw myself a "personal pep rally" to get my mind and attitude positive for my students and colleagues. We can do this for students as they walk through the door or come into our classroom or Zoom session. When you share a screen in Zoom, be sure to check the box on the share screen that says "Share Computer Sound." This allows you to mute, but the music plays through to students.
With many school systems starting off the fall semester with virtual learning, we wanted to provide you with ideas for making virtual learning smooth and interactive!
This year, more than ever, we as educators have to address our student's mental health. No matter if we are in person or virtual, we must discuss how students are feeling, coping, and provide opportunities for socialization (in a socially distanced world). Here are some ideas I will be implementing with my students this fall.
Have you been bitten by the Bitmoji craze? Thanks to the Facebook group Bitmoji Craze for Educators, I've been creating virtual classroom spaces and lessons using Google Slides and the Bitmoji app for the last few weeks. Teachers in this group generously share creations. You can make a copy and save to your Google Drive. I created a Bitmoji folder and have made a folder for my Bitmoji images. I think students and teachers alike will find Bitmoji classrooms novel and interesting.
I have always been a big proponent of giving students experiences! Research says we remember what we experience (Dale, 1969). How do we get students to have experiences when our instruction is virtual? I loved this idea from Caitlin Tucker, offline instruction can incorporate interests, choice, and experiences. I've also been blogging for several months about enrichment experiences for students grades K-12. Give students a choice of experiences to choose from for the week. The experiences are tied to the content area of study. Students choose an experience and then read, talk, and write about their learning through that experience.
Distance learning has become a household word in the year 2020. Whether you are a parent trying to figure out how to "homeschool" or support your child or an educator trying to create meaningful learning experiences, we are all trying to navigate a just-right "distance learning" model. Will we be engaging in distance learning in the 2020-2021 school year? Maybe? In any case, we should begin thinking about ways we can use technology as an integrated part of our instructional model.