i’m currently in week six of distance learning. as a instructional technology coach, i felt well-equipped to jump into it. and to be honest, it’s been relatively easy for me. i’m very grateful for that. but i’ve been observant, and i’ve fielded a lot of questions from my school’s teachers during this time. i’ve also been more active on twitter, soaking up the knowledge and experience of other teachers. so i came up with a list of resources that might be helpful during this round of distance learning (and hopefully not another!). this list is not exhaustive. however, these specific items are easy to use and helpful.
if you’re curious to see how i’m dealing with distance learning, i filmed a day in the life vlog. enjoy!
- classroom – this will run your show. this is the motherboard of all my assignments.
- stream in classroom – use it for announcements to the whole group or specific students and zoom meeting links. (i suggest shutting down the stream in the settings except for announcements).
- new topic at the top of the classwork page: this week’s lessons. it’s their landing zone for that week’s work. then, you can move them down to a more general topic below it when that week is over. it keeps the classwork page more organized.
- icons for the classwork topics – you can use emojis (click right to get them) to create little icons for your topics. it makes them stand out more.
- docs – you can use tables for them to organize info or answer questions, create hyperdocs for quick research, allow them to write narratives or longer paragraphs/essays, and use text-to-speech to ease the struggling writers.
- sheets – you can create a simple grade book and/or a system for documentation.
- slides – the possibilities are endless. a slide is a great place for a matching game, graphic organizer, or choice board. you can also, of course, create interactive presentations for them too.
- jamboard – this is great for brainstorming or quick research.
- drawings – most useful in general for graphic organizers.
- sites – you can create a portfolio that your students can add to or have them create their own site.
- mote – you can quickly give verbal feedback in google docs, slides, and sheets within a comment.
- screencastify – this one is a MUST! i film a screencast for every single assignment explaining what i want the kids to do and examples. i’ll even read the questions and rephrase them.
- screencastify submit – this is in beta currently, but you can request it on their website. but it works similarly to flipgrid in the sense that the kids can submit a video of themselves speaking directly to you. it’s super simple.
- bitly – handy for hyperdocs and slides.
- share to classroom – easy peasy.
- kami – my district has the paid version of this one, but the free one still allows the kids to write on a pdf and turn it into classroom
- equatio and insert math for math/science – you can insert more complex math and science symbols and characters
- read & write – there is a paid version (if your district has access to it) that is amazing! it reads to the kids, provides text supports, etc.
- grammarly – this one isn’t necessary, but it’s helpful!
- classroom zoom – this extension lets you look at how long students are spending on their assignments in google classroom. it’s not necessary, but it could be helpful for documentation purposes or for speaking with the student about. note: it only shows you the length of time a student is working within google docs, slides, sheets, or drawings.
- simplified grading system – i suggest simplifying to a 3 or 5 point scale. i was already using standards-based grading this year, so i moved from a 5 point to a simple 3 point scale:
- 0 – no work/needs to be redone (translates to a 50 ish)
- 1 – almost meets the standard, but may need improvement (75 ish)
- 2 – met the standard, great work (95 ish)
- planning calendar – i made one in slides (one slide for each month) and shared it in my google classroom.
- simplified lesson plans – instead of doing weekly plans, i made a table in docs that includes the topic, the activities, and the state standards for each day. since our lessons are MUCH shorter, i think it’s appropriate to make my plans more simple.
- frequent feedback – this is KEY. i sit down each day and give comments and grades on student work that has been turned in or not.
- zoom – if you’re able to use it in your district, zoom is a great resource. talking directly to your students makes a huge impact. (i know there is controversy in the educator world about zoom, but they have made good improvements and as long as you set the settings correctly, you shouldn’t have any trouble!). log in with your school google account to get a longer time in the meeting and some helpful default settings!
- google meet – google has pretty much caught up with zoom in terms of features. i like that the meet link is built into google classroom now. i suggest this extension if you want to keep track of attendance for your meeting.
- YouTube – i use this almost every day for short videos for my kids, who are very visual. but you can also record yourself or your lesson, upload it, and share it in classroom directly.
- edpuzzle – with any YouTube video (including your own!), you can stop it in edpuzzle and insert a question for your students to answer. this is an easy assignment for them to do because it’s all built in. you can make your own edpuzzles, but there is also a huge library to choose from too.
- whiteboard.fi – this is an online whiteboard resource. you create rooms for students to join. it’s easy to write on. this would be great for math or science when working problems. it’s easy to use!
- actively learn – i found this site this year. and i love it! it has so much to offer! there are DBQs (if you’re a social studies teacher), reading passages, book excerpts, current events, and more! basically, you choose a lesson and assign it in google classroom. there are built-in questions, resources, such as videos, photos, and definitions, and text supports. you can differentiate between your students if you have the paid version (which is currently free!).
- genius scan app for iPhone (and i’m guessing android?) – take any paper and turn it into a pdf. load it directly into your drive, add to your classroom, and instruct your kids to use the kami extension to write or type on it!
do you have a suggestion that i should add to my list? leave it for me in the comments, and i’ll check it out.!￼￼