In the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, educators, families and students of all ages had to manage the sudden shift to distance learning. As schools and districts make decisions about holding in-person classes in the fall, we thought it would be best to start preparing for the possibility of more distance learning and find tools for everyone to succeed.
Keeping students engaged in school is challenging enough during a regular school year. We’ve compiled some best practices for keeping learners on track while they’re learning from home.
These solutions were developed with educators for grades K-12 in mind. As part of our ongoing series on distance learning, we also have a list of tips for families navigating distance learning and 7 Key Considerations for educators preparing for a socially distant fall semester!
If there’s something you or other educators did that worked well for your students this spring as you navigated distance learning together, or any problems you’re still looking for solutions for, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!Beware of Zoom fatigue.
- So many have noticed the lack of focus that our students are feeling on group calls. It may be beneficial to try something different, like optional office hours or a flipped classroom if you’re able to pre-record class lessons. A flipped classroom allows teachers to spend their one-on-one time with students tutoring them and guiding them through their practice rather than lecturing. The instruction comes from pre-recorded videos that students watch for “homework.” This way students get more time to ask questions of the teacher and can practice under guidance of a pro -- you!
When you DO have to Zoom with the whole class, make sure there is an activity involved!
- Play a quiz-review like Kahoot with a study session at the end for follow up questions (free premium features during the duration of Covid-19)
- Put students into breakout rooms so they can discuss in small groups (this is a feature on Zoom if you haven’t tried it already!)
- Have the students lead their own Zoom meetings as part of their assessment (have THEM teach the class)
- Follow national guidelines for screen time limits by age group
- Don’t forget about other classes students might have to check in for and adjust appropriately!
- Math: Khan Academy, Desmos
- English: CommonLit, Quill, Essaypop
- Science: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Khan Academy, Museum of Science, Boston
- Social Studies: Library of Congress or National Archives (or your local library or museum website!)
- General resources: Screencastify for recording screen-shared instructional videos, Flipgrid for students to record videos, Quizlet for virtual quizzes in any subject
- You are going to be creating, borrowing, and adapting all sorts of new resources -- and you probably already did in the spring! You very well may use these again to supplement your teaching when we go back to “normal” school. It’s important to keep all of your resources in one place (such as a Google Drive or your preferred filing system) so you can find them easily later for reuse. Don’t go through all this trouble only to use it once!