Distance learning, hybrid learning, blended learning, synchronous vs. asynchronous learning, digital classrooms, these are all words that were barely part of our vocabulary back in February. Now, much like words like PPE, social distancing and flattening the curve, they are a large part of our common vocabulary. This is especially true as we look at returning to school for the 2020/2021 school year. As we make this shift, we need to make sure our kiddos don’t miss out on all of those amazing experiences that we were able to provide in traditional schooling. Experiences like field trips, educational videos, experiments, guest speakers, etc. are very important to the education and engagement of our students. Personally, I assign these to my students using Google Classroom. I also attach graphic organizers so that students can reflect on their learning.
What are Ways to Engage Students with Distance Learning?
Keeping kids engaged in learning is vital to keeping kids learning. In the classroom, we use things like videos, experiments, guest speakers and field trips to engage our kiddos. These experiences build background knowledge, and get kids excited about topics we are learning about. Thanks to video, we can continue to engage students while distance learning. Guest speakers can be brought in my assigning video clips to students. Virtual field trips can give students the feeling of being in a place. YouTube has tons of videos available of experiments that we might do in our classroom. There are lots of ways to continue to engage our kids in the topics we are teaching.
How Do I Know What My Students Gained from Engaging Activities?
Of course the question is always, how do I know if my kiddos are watching these engagement videos? One accountability strategy that I use is graphic organizers. I assign a graphic organizer to my kiddos using Google Slides. As they are watching the engagement video, they complete the graphic organizer. In addition to keeping my kids accountable, this helps them stay focused and organize the information they are receiving. Often kids just let information from videos wash over them. Graphic organizers help them to retain more information. It also lets me see what they took from these engaging, but educational videos.
If you don’t have a graphic organizer for your students to use, try my FREE graphic organizer. It allows students to write about: what they know, what they learned, what they wonder and what they most want to remember. You can use the paper format for days where you are physically with your kiddos. Then you can use the Google Slide version for distance learning days. Download this for FREE from my Teacher’s Pay Teachers store.