Teacher to Teacher: Tips and Tricks
In our weekly webinars, we have heard that many educators want to know what is working for other educators! We’ve gathered some ideas, tips, and tricks to help you make online learning fun, engaging, and as effective as possible. We’ve organized teachers’ advice by elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. That being said, keep in mind that many of these ideas can be utilized with any age group!
FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
- Host a “How To” Session ⎼ Even if you’ve been using online platforms for weeks now, there are always new tricks and ways you can make the process easier for everyone. Host an online class just for students and parents to get familiar with using your specific learning platform. This can also be used as a fun way for your class to just connect and socialize!
- Keep Parents Involved ⎼ Stay in touch with parents through regular communication via email or apps like Remind. Use this time to share lessons, activities, schedule changes or “office hour” availability.
- Record a Read-aloud ⎼ Choose your favorite book(s) and send recordings to your students to enjoy on their own time. This can also be done with music time!
- Incorporate Movement ⎼ There are many activities you can incorporate into your lessons that get students up and moving using materials you can find at home. Try simple games like bouncing a pencil into a mug, the cookie challenge, or exercise bingo. Not only do these activities keep attention but they also help your students continue to practice large and fine motor skill development.
- Adjust Your Expectations ⎼ It is difficult to manage 30 elementary students online. Classroom focus and productivity might not be as high as it is in the classroom, and that is okay! Be fair to yourself and your students during this transition and be proud of what you do accomplish!
A special thank you to Meredith Tanaka from Don Callejon Elementary School and Kaylyn De Los Reyes for sharing!
FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS:
- Set Ground Rules ⎼ It may be difficult to keep students’ attention at first online, but set aside some time to discuss video etiquette. Check-out our tips for students!
- Maximize Communication Tools ⎼ Create Google Slides Presentations that include an assignment for your students to fill out. Two options that have been successful are: 1) Ask students to each take their own slide and fill it with words & pictures of “what’s going on” in their lives, 2) ASB Meme Project: students create memes about their shared experiences in ASB. (these are only shared internally and they must get permission to use any photos of others). With any of these, students are to comment and reply with the “goal of keeping communication alive amongst my leaders.”
- Make it Interactive ⎼ Do virtual skit performances! Miller Middle School had been working on skits to represent the five bad listening skills, as described in 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teenagers by Sean Covey, before sheltering in place: “I know the students really wanted to share them, as skits are a highlight in class. I gave them a choice of either (1) a live performance, (2) make a video (3) draw a cartoon of your story. All choices were done in isolation but in virtual small teams of three or four and shared via our live Google Meet.”
- Encourage Peer-to-Peer Feedback ⎼ When performing skits or giving presentations, create a Google Form so students can say two things they liked about each and one thing that could be improved. This encourages students to engage actively and helps them grow! Organize (and filter if needed) the responses and send them in an email to each group for review
A special thank you to Ricky Castro from Kraemer Middle School and April Goodman Orcutt from Miller Middle School for your input!
FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS:
- Keep Up The Spirit ⎼ Many schools have started to try e-spirit weeks! Savanna High School encouraged students to participate in Just me Monday, Treat Yourself Tuesday, Keep it Clean Wednesday, Thriving Thursday, Red Hot Friday (their school color!). “Our staff and student body participated like crazy, and it turned out to be one of the more successful campaigns that we ran all year.” Chaminade College Preparatory also did one that you can see in their social media post here:
- Share Words of Encouragement ⎼ Create a “We are all in this Together” video, showing students and staff supporting one another!
- Create a Space for Staff ⎼ Have your staff and faculty make their own Instagram page. “It seems to be popular – people are wanting to share and seem to enjoy seeing what others are doing… Taking care of faculty and keeping them connected seems to help with morale and keeping our sanity in the midst of the chaos.”
A special thank you to Sara Daddario, Julie Sprouse, and Denise Gunter for your contributions!
Share what has been working in your classroom! Email firstname.lastname@example.org