The Learn From Home model is new to everyone – teachers, staff, students, and parents/guardians. It has thrown us all into a time that none of us has ever experienced. So there is no instruction book or how-to guide for teaching in these times. We have to rely on our experience in other situations to guide us.
Remembering that students are our primary focus, what matters to them is feeling important, being connected, and engaging with others. It is our responsibility to give them as many opportunities to do that as possible. To help support your students with a personal touch even when on the other side of a screen, here are some ideas:
- Use Google Classroom’s Google Meet tool to hold face-to-face sessions with your students. This allows students to see you and to see each other.
- Build some social reconnecting time into your class meeting time so that students can connect briefly with their friends and with you. It’s important to support this since many are feeling isolated and distant from their peers.
- Think about connecting with each student individually using the Meet Nickname method. This will allow you to support students at their point of need with a face-to-face human connection. They can share their screen with you or you with them.
- Consider using a tool like Kaizena to provide audio feedback on assignments, so students hear your voice instead of just reading the comments. This makes feedback more human and meaningful.
- Using a tool like Flipgrid can allow your students to create videos to connect with others so they can “see” each other while remote.
- Consider screencasting with an included webcam so that students can see you while you are teaching. Tools like Screencastify will allow you to create short videos with both your screen and your webcam so that you can put a face to your instruction.
- Use a video recording tool to record your webcam so that you can send personalized video messages to students. Create a collection specific to each student. These can be shared with students in a Wakelet collection just for them so that can go back and watch in order to reconnect with you.
- Consider reading stories or poetry to them so they can share your love for literature and recall those special times in your physical classroom.
- As a weekly assignment in Google Classroom, have students upload one image per week of something special to them or something fun they did. Make sure and comment on these images so they feel you’re connected to their world.
- Communicate with each student individually so they know they are important to you. This can be done in email, Google Classroom, and MANY other ways.
Remember, the student comes first, and in an unprecedented time like this, all the grace and compassion we can give them will mean so much to them when they may feel disconnected and isolated.