Are you preparing for remote learning? Whether your community is concerned with illness or bad weather days remote learning may be on the table. With the event of more one to one campuses and drive your own device programs, remote learning has become more of a possibility for our students.
With our current pandemic, more and more schools around the world are calling for remote learning instead of the traditional in-school classroom approach. While many schools have already been using distance learning during inclement weather, there are far more that remote learning will be brand new to.
Distance or remote learning comes with its own unique set of challenges, that is for sure. It does however also offer a unique opportunity to get creative with your students!
If you are already using a flipped-classroom approach or Google Classroom you are off to a good start!
What is Remote Learning?
In case you are scratching your head on this one, let me clarify. Remote learning is when the student and the teacher are not in the same location.
This learning is usually assisted by technology but doesn’t have to be. More traditional types of learning can still take place with a few adjustments.
Try Out the Flipped Classroom Approach
Many teachers have already given the flipped classroom approach a try. In short, a flipped classroom has students watch videos of lessons before coming to class and then does the practice that might be more traditionally homework with the teacher’s help.
This approach lends itself well to remote learning because it is video-based. Teachers record their lessons and students watch them on their own time at home.
A few tips for recording your lessons:
- Done is better than perfect. As teachers, we tend to be perfectionists, but now is not the time for that. Quick and dirty videos without a ton of editing are fine. They will get the job done.
- Shorter the better. Just because you don’t have antsy students in front of you doesn’t mean they magically have longer attention spans. Keep your mini-lessons short and sweet as well as focused on one thing.
- Find a quiet place to record. Honestly, I would recommend a closet. This way you avoid echo and outside noise.
- Subtitle your videos for access. We want all our students to have equal access to the videos and a transcript or subtitles (possibly both) are vital.
If you are not ready to jump behind the camera yourself there are a plethora of videos already out there on every topic imaginable. Check out Khan Academy, BrainPop!, and YouTube.
Update: Zoom Video Conferencing is offering free use of its platform for all K-12 teachers! Click here to fill out the form and get started.
Set Up Your Office Space
Remote learning will necessitate being organized. Take the time to choose a location in your house where you can set up all your materials.
If you have a dry erase board available to you I would include this. If not, poster paper works just as well. You want a place where you can record yourself demonstrating tasks whether you tape it or use it in a live feed with students.
In addition to a demonstration space, also make sure you have clearly outlined plans and a schedule.
Stay In Touch During Remote Learning
Working from home and teaching remotely may sound like a dream, and it can be pretty great. One of the most important things to remember is that communication is key!
You may want to schedule a call or Google Hangout with your students throughout the day to check-in and answer any questions. By making yourself available to your students and their families you show you are staying on top of their learning even when you aren’t in the same room as them.
Creating a scheduled call or Google Hangout each day might be your style, or maybe you post assignments and have “office hours” where students can login and ask questions.
Personally, I could see holding small groups like guided reading and math through Google Hangouts.
Open lines of communication will help with keeping expectations clear and make the transition easier.
Using Resources with Remote Learning
Making the transition from the classroom to remote learning can be a little tricky, but with some creative thinking, you can make it not only work but thrive!
I want you to think really hard about working smarter, not harder when it comes to adapting resources for remote learning.
A good example of this would be to have students complete a set of task cards, that you can either email to students or load into Google Classroom, and put their answers in a Google Form. Not only will this save paper, but you get instant feedback as to how students are doing.
Check out this post for how I used Google Forms with task cards. Of course, you could use this strategy with any set of questions.
If you are in the middle of test prep season, then these Test Smash resources also pair well with Google Forms.
More and more resources are being provided for free during this time. For a great list from Amazing Educational Resources click here!
Get Families Involved in Remote Learning
Odds are if schools are closed and students are working from home there are family members there with them or they are together at a neighbor’s house.
Remote learning does not have to be an isolating venture. Encourage families to get together and play learning games that will help students to review material they have learned throughout the year and stay engaged!
Digital Stinky Feet games are perfect for this because the questions and answers are built right into the game and it can be played entirely on Google Slides so it is available for almost all devices.
Want more guidance on how to make Digital Stinky Feet work for remote learning? Check out this post on using Digital Stinky Feet with individual students!
Maintain Routine with Remote Learning
You may think that distance learning means students are left to their own devices, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Encourage your students, and yourself, to maintain as much of a routine as possible.
Some ways to maintain a routine:
- Have a daily read-aloud via a Facebook or Instagram Live you create for your class.
- Establish clear expectations for assignment due dates.
- Check-in with students often about their learning.
- Hold small groups through Google Hangouts.
- Encourage students to continue reading at least 20 minutes a day.
There are of course a TON more ways to maintain routine and they will vary greatly based on the grade level and subject you teach. The important thing to remember is that students are likely confused and will need the routine and discipline you can offer them during this time.
Overall Lessons for Remote Learning
For many of us, remote learning is a new thing, especially for a lengthy period of time. There will likely be fits and starts and that is okay. Grant yourself the grace to get it a little wrong and then try it again with the knowledge you now have.
We can do this! I am here to support you in any way I can, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!
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