Posts Tagged ‘remote teaching’

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Creating Online Community

August 27, 2020

Upper Elementary and Middle School virtual classrooms

Start off the year by combining creativity and a willingness to utilize technology for the advantage of getting to know your learners and you’ll be creating a classroom culture that will serve you well throughout the year. If you’re starting the year virtually these ideas from an Edutopia article written by Susan Yergler should serve you well. We all know that unlike in March when we were forced to go remote overnight starting this year with new students provides a different challenge. Below are the authors suggestions for students in grades 3-8 to feel a sense of belonging. Use these activities during the first several weeks of class – short and meaningful to help create the culture.

ICEBREAKERS

  • Share a drawing or an object that represents their personality or interests. As you move around your virtual classroom from student to student, they will hold their item or drawing offscreen while the rest of us try to remember.
  • Students complete one-pagers or a Frayer Square on themselves on a shared Google Slides deck and then present to the class.
  • Include favorite pastimes such as Hangman, interviewing partners in breakout rooms
  • Flipgrid introductions
  • Students enjoy a round of thumbs up/down with slide shows of foods, sports, and other images. Instead of (or in addition to) the “two truths and a lie” game, try “two objects and a lie.” That calls for students to show two objects that belong to them and one that doesn’t. After completing these activities, a fun way to cement these impressions is by playing a Kahoot! or Quizizz game about the members of your class

CREATING CLASSROOM RUL.ES AND EXPECTATIONS 

  • Collaborating on a list of classroom rules. Ask them how they envision the virtual classroom that supports their individual learning and the community.
  • Consider using a plus-delta chart, so that students can indicate what worked well in remote learning in the spring and what they would like to change this school year. You can use a digital idea-sharing platform such as Mural or Google Jamboard to collaborate. The list of rules and expectations will can be displayed on the class’s virtual classroom wall or resource page.

CREATE CLASS TRADITIONS

  • Establishing classroom traditions can happen online similarly to what happens in a classroom space. Depending on your class size perhaps a bell-ringer or a short journal-writing assignment or a song, dance or art making exercise. Students can be assigned different roles in the tradition you’re establishing.
  • At the end of a class there can be an exit question like what kind of food you like that most people don’t? Or who is your superhero power? Or have the students brainstorm a list of them and you pick one for each class ending.

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

  • Service learning projects bring students together with the opportunity for them to focus on their strengths.
  • Solving a community problem – perhaps collecting food to donate to the local food bank. They still exist and food is needed more than ever.
  • Creating art together by each contributing a photograph or a line of a song. These can be publish in a Google Slide format as a book or digital notebook. Each can contribute to a script and then perform it collaboratively online.

FORGING INDIVIDUAL CONNECTIONS 

  • This is probably the most difficult component of online learning – how to get to know your students individually. Individual conferences on zoom or by google meet.
  • Emailing each one or sending individual videos for them to respond to.
  • Good old fashion phone calls make the connection unique.
  • Responding to their work individually in Google classroom can mean the world to them.

We know that the disconnect existed before with so many people communicating online and not face to face. The pandemic has exaggerated that. Continue trying ideas in a variety of formats for learner. You can make a difference!

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