COVID has turned life upside-down, and everyone is missing our usual interactions - your students included!
Thankfully, technology makes it easy for us to stay connected.
Even if you aren't officially doing distance learning yet, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your class this week. Believe it or not, they probably miss you, and connecting with you right now might be just what they need.
In fact, the impact you could have in these next couple weeks could be incredible! You have the opportunity to draw on all the relationship equity you've built and speak words of comfort and hope into their lives just when they need it.
Here's four easy ways to make that happen:
easy ways to connect with your class:
1. Hold a virtual meeting on Zoom
"Zooming" has become the new normal, and if you haven't tried it yet, it's time to jump on the bandwagon.
Zoom allows you to video conference with your class (or anyone). It's easy to set up, and you'll be amazed how good it feels to see everyone and talk in real time.
If you haven't had a zoom conference with your class yet, I definitely recommend trying it out this week. No matter their age, they'll love seeing both you & their classmates.
You can come together for an actual lesson or just to catch up and say hi to each other. This could also be a great time to institute a "morning meeting" with your class or homeroom group. (Check out The Respectful Classroom Workbook for help with this!)
Here's a quick tutorial on how to get set up on Zoom in just a few minutes:
For more help, check out this amazing training by my friend Adrienne on Zoom Classroom Management for Educators. She is highly knowledgeable about how to teach effectively on Zoom - as well as how to stay compliant with COPPA privacy laws.
Speaking of privacy, if you want to record your class, you may want to check with your administrator first. This might violate COPPA privacy laws in certain cases (especially for children under 13). However, I'm not sure how much privacy laws still apply in the face of a global pandemic. ?♀️This is not legal advice, so use your own discretion & check with a lawyer if needed.
2. Shoot a quick video
If syncing up schedules for a Zoom conference feels too overwhelming, shoot a quick video instead.
It can be as simple as pulling out your phone, hitting record and just talking to your students like you would if you were in the classroom.
Even a short two minute video would make such a difference to them!
If you don't have a class website, you can simply upload it to YouTube (Be sure to choose Unlisted so it doesn't appear in search). Then paste the URL into safeyoutube.net to create a link to send to your class. (Safe You Tube strips out the ads & related content to create a more safe viewing experience for your students).
3. use flipgrid
This tool is pretty freakin' cool! You create various topic prompts, and students respond with quick videos.
It's a great way to connect - actually seeing and hearing each other - without having to sync up schedules.
You can find out more about FlipGrid here, but to be honest, you kind of need to experience it to see its power, so we created an example FlipGrid for our Teach 4 the Heart community. Click the link below to check out how it works (and connect with fellow teachers in the process):
4. play kahoot!
Students love Kahoot! so why not keep the fun going, even though we're apart?
In case you aren't familiar, Kahoot! allows you to create & play gameshow-style review games with your students in real time.
However, you can also create challenges that students play on their own time, still competing against their classmates but without the challenge of syncing schedules.
This is a great way to help students review or practice actual learning content while also keeping them connected with you & their classmates.
connecting with fellow teachers
Finally, don't forget to seek out connection for YOU.
Pick up the phone and call a friend or plan a Zoom session with your colleagues.
We need connection, and we often don't even realize how much we need it until we reach out and are so glad we did!
I also invite you to join our Facebook group. There are tons of amazing conversations happening over there about how to navigate & even thrive in this crisis.
After you join, make sure you check out this conversation about how to have fun with your class virtually.
spread the word!
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