Many states have closed all schools for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus. This has left administrators scrambling to find ways to continue to nurture and educate their students. For many, the classroom has moved to the home with students learning online.
Along with this being a new experience for students, most teachers have never taught online. Teachers will have to go the extra mile to get students to attend online classes and remain focused. Now more than ever, teachers will have to be creative and even entertaining to keep students interested and engaged.
Give Students Variety
As with learning in your traditional classroom, some students are visual learners while others grasp the material better via reading or writing. Be sure to incorporate a variety of learning styles like video, audio stories and reading in your lesson plans. At the end of the lesson, give students a choice of assignments. This will help them feel more invested in your class and in their learning.
You’ll lose students quickly when you’re trying to figure out where you’re going next in the lesson. Be sure to have a well thought out lesson plan that targets a learning goal. You might even want to write a script with bullet points to help keep you on task. Engage students by asking questions and welcoming their input.
Keep It Short and Sweet
With online learning, it is important to keep your lessons short and sweet. You can only keep your students’ attention for so long online. Therefore, keep your lessons brief and include supplemental materials that the kids can do individually. At the end of the lesson, have students complete worksheets or watch an attached video.
This is the perfect time to invite visitors to your classroom. Keep students notified about guest instructors via e-mail or a class newsletter. Invite guests to talk about their careers, tell stories, entertain with a puppet show, or provide information on a related topic like local government.
Make Time for Student Connections
At this unprecedented time, students are missing you and one another. Allow time for students to interact with each other during class time. Help students adapt to remote learning by setting up online groups. These groups can meet using Google Hangout or Zoom . Give the students a project that they can complete together such as doing a research project, solving a riddle, or finding the answer to a math word problem. You can also share news about students and their families through a newsletter. Welcome guest bloggers or ideas from your class.
Teachers should think of their workspace as their classroom. Remember, your students can see this space so make it kid-friendly and fun. Add colorful posters or inspirational sayings to your wall just like you would in your brick and mortar classroom. Be sure to remove distractions like barking dogs or toddlers from your work area. It just takes a little something to lose your students’ interest.