If there is anything positive that resulted from the 2020 pandemic, it is that millions of teachers are now definitely more tech-savvy than they were in the pre-Covid-19 teaching era. I have always found it fairly easy to incorporate technology into my lessons. That being said, I definitely learned a ton more about technology while teaching from home. For instance, I had never even heard of Zoom before I started teaching virtually. I decided to compile a list of my top ten tips for doing e-learning successfully.
- I put this tip as my number one tip for a reason. I think it is very important! If you only have your students completing assignments but you are not checking those assignments, then the work they are doing is not as beneficial to you or them. While doing distance learning, I checked my students’ work every day and I sent them messages with constructive feedback. My students had high motivation to complete the tasks, because they knew that I was checking them. We were also able to communicate with each other which helped to keep them engaged. The parents of my students greatly appreciated all the feedback that I gave them. They told me that their children looked forward to getting my messages every day.
- I made sure that I was not doing all of the same repetitive assignments day in and day out. While there were some assignments that were consistent such as the daily language review, I tried to spice things up with fun activities as well. Some of my favorite tech tools included NearPod, FlipGrid, EdPuzzle, and Kahoot.
- I had to learn this one the hard way. I did not set up expectations for parents and students in advance, and this led to some problems. In my first virtual meeting with students, I would definitely talk about these rules with my students. I would also send them to the parents as well. I think a Zoom meeting with just parents in the beginning would also be a good idea. It would help me to lay out my expectations for the parents and students in terms of turning in assignments and attending virtual class meetings. Click here for a free Zoom Meeting Rules poster!
- The more you can model the better! Modeling through synchronous or asynchronous videos will help your students to be more successful. I like to try and include a short, asynchronous video for all of my assignments. In the video, I show them a few examples of how to do the work.
- Realize that all families are different! Some families have different work schedules and may need to complete most of the work on the weekends. Be supportive and flexible with your expectations during e-learning. The parents of your students will greatly appreciate this.
- Requiring kids to sit for hours at a time on a device is not good for their mental, physical, or social health. I created these Wiggle Breaks to help get kids up and moving either during e-learning or in the regular classroom. Click here to download them for free.
- My students’ parents really appreciated that I sent a checklist of what was required each week. It helped them to stay organized. Click here for a sample of my checklist that I sent each week.
- My school uses Schoology for its learning platform. One thing I love about it is that I can give badges to my students for excellent work. They have pre-made badges, but I also liked creating my own. For instance, I would give a badge to students who were creative writers or completed all their work for the week. It helped to motivate my students. I have also recently seen that you can give stickers online. I’m excited to try this out. I found some free digital stickers on TeachersPayTeachers that I would like to use this year. Click here to download them!
- I surveyed my students’ parents several times throughout the e-learning experience. This really helped me to gauge whether or not I was providing enough work or too much work. Click here for a free survey you can use to survey your parents about e-learning. I also sent the results of the survey to my parents so they could see what most parents wanted. I did not put names on the results. It was simply a pie chart showing percentages.
- Take care of yourselves during e-learning. The expression, “you cannot pour from an empty cup” is so true, especially with teaching. You cannot be on-call 24/7. It is not good for you. You have families to care for and spend time with. You need time to exercise and time to relax. Do not let e-learning consume you. I had parents asking for weekend Zoom meetings. I kindly told them that I could not do this, because this was my time to be with my family. You can be flexible without bending over backwards. You need to make time for yourself and your family in order to be your best. Try to find the right balance amidst all the pressures. You are worth it!
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