Hey y’all! I know this teaching world is delving deeper and deeper into unknown territory each day. The Crazy Teacher Life blog, in collaboration with #3rdchat on Twitter, wanted to bring some ideas that were recently shared on our Digital Learning #3rdchat Twitter chat the other night. Hopefully you can find some ideas that will help bring you some peace and calm in all of the unknown. The ideas will be broken down by each question topic. With each idea, I have tried to attach helpful resources about remote learning from each resource website as well as free subscription services provided by the resources to support schools shut down due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We know that this can be overwhelming, but we hope that you can find a great starting place as many districts are starting remote learning in the upcoming weeks. We hope that you will enjoy!
Q1: How do you plan on keeping up 1 on 1 connections remotely?
Google Meet and Google Hangouts – This works especially well if your district already subscribes to the Google Suite for Education.
Zoom – Many districts are choosing to use this resource instead of Google Meet, especially since they are offering a free subscription right now and click here for more information on how to use zoom effectively for digital learning. However, check with your district before using. Mine will most likely not be allowing the use of this due to privacy concerns.
Parent Square – A school-home communication platform. See more information about it here!
Screencastify – A screensharing and video recording software that is free for a limited number of videos under 10 minutes each month. I LOVE THIS ONE! I use it daily and have subscribed to the premium version. See how they can help during this time using this link.
Class Dojo – This is a resource I also use to connect with families. It is a school-home communication platform that allows you to also provide incentives and has a variety of classroom tools: timers, music, class organization, student grouping, SEL videos, etc. They have also posted resources for teachers for remote learning.
Google Classroom and Seesaw – These are two learning platforms where you can connect with students remotely to post assignments and provide activities for students to use. Here are a variety of resources Google has provided for remote learning. Seesaw also has resources on how they are helping with remote learning.
Q2: How can social/emotional learning take place remotely?
3 days of learning/2 Days to check in – Depending on your district directives, this idea implies that you give students 3 days (out of 5) to instruct/provide educational activities and two days you would take the time to connect with students and check in with them.
FlipGrid – Use videos to connect and have students respond to a variety of SEL topics you choose to post. Students can respond to both you and each other. See more on how to use this for remote learning here.
BrainPop and BrainPop, Jr. – There are several videos on these sites that can help students understand what is happening and also process their emotions. This company is offering free subscriptions until the end of the school year. They also have provided resources on how these videos can support your remote teaching. They also have a video for students (I recommend for older students) specifically about the Coronavirus.
Class Dojo – This classroom management tool has quite a few social emotional learning videos.
GoNoodle – Go Noodle is always a great resource to boost energy and keep students active through a variety of videos. I personally love the Flow or Maximo stretching videos for Yoga and Mindfulness.
Simple Check-Ins – Check in with your students via video, call, or even an email to families. The more face time you get with them, the more normal we can make this whole experience for kids.
Online Parties/Virtual Craft Days – Host a virtual craft day or party. Whether your district approves of video meeting software or if you just have the kids send you pictures to share on your school website, these can be fun and connect kids together while they are away.
Smiles and Frowns – See this post here about implementing a simple practice of Smiles and Frowns everyday to check in with students and see where their headspace is at.
Q3: What are some great math resources that you plan on using with your students?
Prodigy– This adaptive, online digital resource “can align with [your] state standards…students interact with other students, have fun, and see math as play,” says moderator Sara Kiffe (@SaraKiffe). I personally use this resource as well for students to play an enhance their math learning. It provides feedback on the skills that students are working on and tells you areas that your students are struggling with. They feel it is a game, but they are practicing essential content at the same time.
Open Middle – Challenging word problems to keep kids thinking and improving their math problem solving skills. See more about this project here and follow on twitter (@openmiddle)
3 Act Math – Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Math tasks provide students with problem solving opportunities for students of all ages. See more about 3 Act Math in this article here and find the 3 Act Math tasks here! The tasks can take a little time to explore, but are a lot of fun for students to solve.
Would You Rather Math – Follow #wouldyourathermath on Twitter or visit the website with tasks organized by grade bands. Students practice justifying their reasoning and explaining themselves in mathematical terms. See the User Guide provided on the website for more info on how to implement these tasks. It would be fun to use Flipgrid or Padlet for students to record themselves explaining their reasoning.
Khan Academy – Online digital resource for self-paced math learning on large array of math topics from Pre-Kindergarten to High School. See here how Khan Academy can help with your digital learning.
Dreambox Learning – This is a digital, adaptive online math software designed for K-8 students. Right now they are offering a free 90-day subscription to get to the end of the school year during this Coronavirus outbreak. See more information here!
Freckle – A digital, differentiation tool to use with students in Math, ELA, and Science, and Social Studies. See more about this resource here!
Xtra-Math – Xtra Math is a great resource to use with students to provide focused, targeted math fact practice at home.
Boom Learning – Boom cards are great because you can assign them and they provide instant feedback on how they are doing. It also provides you with information on how they did and how many times they attempted to do the boom cards. Right now they are offering free access for teachers as well. My grade partner and I LOVE THEM! You can search for free decks on Teachers Pay Teachers and then add them to your boom card decks. Super easy and super fun for kids. I plan to use them for “centers” practice at home. Great for ALL subject areas, not just math.
Other Math Ideas – Y’all! This is also a great time to dive into your current math curricular resource to see what it has to offer on a digital level. You can also send card game ideas or YouTube videos to students that can help to enhance their learning.
Q4: Please share your best language arts and reading online resources.
Scholastic – Scholastic has been a life saver for online enhancement with reading to keep readers engaged. See these different Scholastic offerings right now
–TrueFlix and BookFlix – Most states, through their public library, have access to both of these resources for free!
Epic! – This is a digital book library for kids. They are offering free teacher subscriptions for teachers to use with their students to use with remote learning.
Read Theory – Digital, personalized reading comprehension tool to use with students… and it is always free!
Read Works – So many digital passages and articles for students to read. I love this resource and you can use it in a variety of ways. Click here for their suggestions on how to use this resource for remote learning.
NewsELA– This resource is great and is offering free access to their entire product line that includes options for students to interact with the articles and adaptive text leveling! See more information here on how to use this resource for remote learning. I LOVE NewsELA for a variety of subject areas.
Raz-Kids/Reading A-Z – I also love this resource. This is great for providing leveled books and activities for students. They are offering free access to Raz-Kids for remote learning.
Q5: Which science resources do you think will be the most successful with distance learning?
Khan Academy: Imagineering in a Box – Disney and Khan Academy have teamed up to bring this experience to students. Students learn the secrets behind how Disney Imagineers create Disney Magic!
Mystery Science/Mystery Doug – An online, digital science platform. Right now they have free digital resources for teachers organized by grade level. I have already received very positive feedback from families about the high level of engagement with the mini-lessons and full lessons that they offer.
Other Ideas – Now is a great time to encourage kids to go outside and explore, measure with rulers, graph different things that they see, and make observations to share with others. Explore resources that provide science experiments to kids and have them video what they discover or experiment with.
Q6: How can we incorporate art/music into remote learning?
Bob Ross Style – Look up Bob Ross style activities or old YouTube videos and get your #happylittletree game on!
I Love Art for Kids Hub – Free drawing ideas and videos for kids to create.
Mo Willems Lunchtime Doodles – Join Mo Willems or see his past doodles on YouTube. See more about this here! Follow #MoLunchDoodles to see all of the kids, and adults, who have joined in on this movement as they are finding ways to spend the days.
Silk Art Google App – This app for Google Chrome is fun for kids and adults to play, create and explore with.
Q7: How do we as teachers feel supported and connected during this extended break from school?
THIS IS A TOUGH TIME! It is OKAY to feel sad, frustrated, angry. We are mourning the loss of being with our students and our colleagues. We are uncertain of what is coming. Everything is new and we can’t even plan for it, something that teachers are typically REALLY good at! ALL of this is okay. But if you are feeling this way, so is everyone else. I will self admit, that I broke down in tears from pent up emotions after being given 15 minutes to go into my classroom and grab everything I thought I would need for the unforseen future, fully knowing that the possibility I wouldn’t see that classroom again until the fall was an actual possibility. I called a colleague immediately and checked in on them, because I knew if I was feeling this way, so were others. SO… what can we do?
*Call you colleagues
*Connect via video chat devices
*Schedule Virtual Happy Hour or Group Chat and Mingle times
*Find ways to make this time fun (Several teachers and I are going to do a fitness challenge!)
*Share your feelings
*Seek help if you need it – there are many digital and virtual resources out there if you are really struggling with being home
*Stick to a schedule – I know, I know this one is HARD, but try to not only schedule your day, but schedule your connection time to colleagues and families.
*Create boundaries – This one is also hard for us who have never worked from home like this before. Work and home are blurry right now.
*Hang out with us on #3rdchat on Twitter! What else are we going to do now on Wednesday nights?!
Please reach out if you have any other ideas you want to share. Be safe and we all wish you the best in this Crazy Teacher Life!
-#3rdchat Moderating Team