Distance learning... we meet again! Although I am feeling a little more confident this time around, I am still sad to be distance learning as we approach the end of the school year. After spending time back in the classroom, my students took the news of having to shift back to virtual learning pretty hard. But we are all trying our best to keep a positive mindset and get through as best we can!
After having gone through virtual learning before I feel much more equipped to do it again, and wanted to share some helpful technology tools and engaging activities that will help you too. Disclaimer: I have used these products during my own distance learning journey and they have been great for getting my students engaged & excited!
Daily slides are always my go-to route for establishing a daily routine and it helps my students get settled in quickly and quietly. The big reason I started this was to create a consistent routine that my students could easily get used to.
PROJECTS, PROJECTS, PROJECTS!
Teaching a split grade? This year I am teaching TWO split grades 😅, so I am all about finding ways to reduce the amount of time that I am spending planning lessons. Projects are one of my favourite ways to engage students while also hitting as many curriculum expectations as possible. The best part? All you need to do is ASK your students what interests them. Truly, that's all it takes to spark an idea as an educator that you can then run with, and that you know your students will love. One of my students' favourites is the Passion Project, a no-prep independent research project that includes pre-made templates for your students to follow their interests and complete an inquiry project on a subject of their choice. One of my students decided that for her final project, she was going to create a comic book and I was BLOWN AWAY. Of course, this project comes with both printable and digital formats with rubrics!
GAMES & FUN STUFF
As we approach the end of the school year, it can be hard for both teachers and students to avoid that summer state of mind! Digital games are perfect for promoting learning while still adding in some fun for everyone. Here are a few of the games my students have loved using during our distance learning journey.
This spring sorting game is a great interactive activity that works on practicing vocabulary. These are easy to assign and I use them at least once a week! You can also take a look at this spring-themed verb game and this one has FOUR different games and is a great way for students to test their knowledge of les verbes du printemps! I love using these Boom cards, they are super interactive and my students look forward to using these each week because they are quick and fun.
I also like to throw in a mix of games that are just PLAIN FUN. Gina from @musicpluscoffee and I put together a Virtual Games Guide that has many suggestions for YouTube videos, activities and other fun things that are guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of your students. Click on the picture to check it out!
My biggest goal with all of these activities is to help students feel comfortable in the online learning environment, as well as to have a little bit of fun while they are at it! At the end of the day, all we want as teachers are activities that will get our students talking and interacting. If you're struggling to plan and need a one-stop-shop for digital resources so you can spend more time focusing on marking and planning, I would 100% recommend taking a look at my distance learning bundles to take something off of your plate. Each bundle comes with a unique set of activities that are no-prep; this means you assign them to your students and free up time for yourself to work on other things. Click here to check out the different bundles, and find the one that works best for you and your class!
Lastly, you and I know best that our students are missing seeing their friends and being at school. Don't forget to check in with your students, ask them how they are doing. It can be a simple question that shows them know you are thinking of them, and that you're there to support them when they are struggling. Don't be afraid to have conversations with your students about how they are feeling because it provides them with the opportunity to share and have their feelings validated, something we all need more of in our lives. We have been in this pandemic for over a year now and it’s tough, my heart aches for all students this year. Remember this situation isn’t ideal, but being “together” with our students is better than being without them at all!