Virtual Classroom...what is that? I'm sure many teachers across the United States are learning more and stepping into virtual teachers' roles. Many of us teachers are searching for tips and ideas about how to become the best virtual teacher we can be! After all, that is what teachers do. Right now is the time for teachers to collaborate, communicate, and share ideas. We have to come together to help navigate and tackle how to teach online from our home.
Our students are out of routines and have never experience a virtual classroom much less had to learn from home. Just like we have never had to teach from home. I encourage you to daily remind yourself of these facts! Teacher, you have got to give GRACE to yourself and your students. This is unchartered water for ALL of us, parents/guardians, too! The most important helpful thing you can do right now for your students and their families is to be PRESENT! Yes, academics are important but our nation is dealing and processing a crisis. Keep in contact with your students and incorporate fun activities in your daily or weekly meetings.
Make sure you are preparing for each week just like you did for your classroom. Think about what you really want students to accomplish each day. I recommend using Assignment Slides to keep students organized and me too! The Assignment Slides I use are editable and offers a Daily Goal and place for students to check off the assignments as they complete them. I don't know about you but a checklist is life for me! (as long as I can keep up with them, haha!)
Have you checked on your students individually using a student check in form? Most students are not going to open up and share their feelings on a zoom call in front of their entire class. Use this student check in google form to quickly check on your students privately so you can help them and connect with your students. So, whether you teaching online or in the classroom, use a student check in form to check on your students.
Host a Zoom meeting or Google Meets with your students in your virtual classroom. I prefer Zoom due to the simplicity of the app for parents. Ask your parents to download the app on their smartphone. I push out the link to join the zoom call through Remind 101 and also post in my Google Classroom. Posting the link twice will provide two options for parents to easily find the link for their child. *I also post twice for my students. We use Google Classroom daily at school so my students are very familiar with how to use it.
ZOOM tip #1
You can add a Virtual background to zoom calls and they are SO much fun!
ZOOM tip #2
Zoom has a built-in filter! You're welcome! Click settings, click meetings, scroll down to the bottom on the page, click Touch Up My Appearance
ZOOM tip #3
Use the MUTE tool! You can mute students upon entering or mute everyone when you start teaching. Request students to raise their hands if they need to ask or answer questions.
ZOOM tip #4
Use the poster below to check on your student's DAILY. At the beginning of each ZOOM call, ask students how students are feeling today. Just ask students to hold up their fingers to check-in! The students who hold up 1 or 2 fingers, write their name down and check on them when you are finished teaching.
If you are utilizing an online platform to teach your students, make sure you have clear behavior expectations for your virtual classroom in place. Just like in the classroom, students should know exactly what is expected of them. Teachers, you need to have a serious conversation about how to behave while online learning. I recommend implementing Attention Getters while teaching online. To download the FREE list of Attention Getters, click here! Explain to students this is new for everyone and everyone must work together. Have a discussion about Respect and Kindness and give examples of each. I would recommend taking a class session and discuss behavior expectations, kindness, respect, and review attention getters with your students. Think back to the beginning of the school year and implement some of the same strategies. Remember to consider what worked in your other classroom and transfer as much as possible into your virtual classroom.
I encourage you to host a Zoom call for parents only. Use this time as a Q & A session allowing parents/guardians to ask questions and give advice as needed. I would remind parents of the following...