teachin' school

lessons from distance learning

we had an interesting discussion during one of our recent faculty meetings over zoom this past week.  i had seen this topic on twitter: what have we learned that we can take into the fall when we go back to school?  so i posed this question to my teachers.  we got some interesting and thought-provoking answers!  here’s the list, plus a couple i added:

  • making polls in google classroom by assigning a multiple choice question (the question choice under the “create” button). – getting the students’ opinions or preferences can help you create more personalized lessons.
  • using google forms to do surveys – for more information than one question, you can do a quick form.  use spectrums or checklists to get more information.
  • organizing google classroom with a “this week” section at the top of the classwork page – it helps students find assignments quickly and then you can move them down into a more broad section later.
  • mote extension – to give verbal student feedback in google classroom that is more personal and targeted
  • screencastify/loom/other screensharing programs – these videos can help absent students or give students a way to go back and hear instructions again.  it’s also an easy way to do differentiation.
  • wizer.me – a cool digital worksheet platform that will also grade for you.  great for foreign language practice or lower level grades.  you can use existing interactive worksheets or create your own.
  • readworks it’s a free online reading program for K-12.  our reading teacher uses it with high school students to help them build their reading skills.
  • rubrics in google classroom to make feedback more meaningful/timely – classroom now saves your rubrics so that you can reuse them with other assignments.
  • filming yourself giving a lecture or lesson – the key here is to keep it short.  a 3-8 minute video is idea when it comes to attention span.  you can upload directly to youtube (every google account, including school ones have youtube as an available app) and set it to unlisted to keep it somewhat private.  post the link in google classroom or use it for an edpuzzle!  now, if you’re not fully comfortable with your face in the video, you can always show visuals or a slides presentation in the background and screencast over it.
  • actively learn – i’ve been using this site once a week with my kids.  each lesson includes a reading with videos and vocabulary assistance.  you can differentiate for certain students if you have the pro version, which is currently free!  you can see how long the students spent working on it and it grades everything for you except the open-ended responses.  it connects to google classroom seamlessly.  there are tons of ELA and history lessons as well as current events.
  • read-alongs using loom/screencastify, etc. – a lot of elementary teachers are doing this!  it’s a great way to differentiate because you could be reading in person to small group while also having an independent group working on their own with the video.  this works with any grade level though!  some teachers have scanned books and put the pictures into google slides and then done their screencastify over it (i would get permission first though!).
  • iReady lessons for english and math differentiation – a lot of schools use iReady for placing students in programs, but it offers a lot more than that!
  • if you teach younger students, seesaw offers a lot of the features of google classroom, but in a more simplified format.  they have lessons you can readily use along with a way for you to create your own!
  • “flip” your classroom occasionally so that you can do one-on-one conferencing with kids who are behind.  so this means the kids will have an interactive but independent lesson so that you have time to meet with students individually.

there are, of course, so many other resources out there! if there’s one that you think i should add to my list, please share it in the comments!

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