I have always been intrigued by distance learning. I just never thought I, along with all the teachers around the world would have to do it immediately after Spring Break last year!
Luckily, I have been using digital devices in my classroom for the last four years and have quickly found out that by applying simple routines and FREE resources that are already available, distance learning was and is completely DOABLE even in the primary grades!!!
Here are some Distance Learning Tips and Resources for all of my K-2nd Grade Teachers out there!
1. Create a Routine and Set Expectations
Going virtual can be difficult for young children and their families, if they have not already had the experience. To help make the process easier, create a simple schedule for your students to follow at home. This is the best way for parents to get a good idea of your expectations and how much time their child should be learning each day. Read more below to download these EDITABLE Schedules for FREE!
Setting up rules for video meetings is also essential as you start the school year virtually. Norms help students understand expectations, which helps them to become successful!
Some rules can be:
-Listen and be respectful.
-Mute when the teacher is teaching.
-Raise your hand to share.
If you need a resource to help your students learn the rules for video meetings, click to the link below.
2. Encourage Choices
This is a challenging time as students are transitioning to learning at home and parents are learning to help their child learn at home while also juggling their own workload. Choices give students a voice in their own learning and make it more personal and relevant for them! Here’s an example of my Writing BINGO! Read more below to download this EDITABLE Writing BINGO for FREE!
For more virtual activities and party ideas, check out the 20 EDITABLE Activity Boards and Party Ideas for Video Meetings below. These activities are perfect for getting to know your students better at the beginning of the year and can be used throughout the year as well!
3. Meet Online
To meet your kids or communicate with them, here are some FREE resources to use to continue the learning online!
For class meetings, I recommend Google Hangouts, Zoom Video Conferencing, and Webex Meetings! Zoom allows you to change your background to a picture of your classroom or an ocean or out of space! Here I am in my classroom without physically being in my classroom!
4. Use Digital Resources to Enhance Your Instruction
Here are some digital apps and websites that I have love and used throughout the years. Most are FREE and will definitely help keep your students on the right track while they learn at home.
For math, I love using XtraMath (a website that you can add to the Home Screen to use like an app), Schoolkit Math, and Math Limbo to help my students build math fluency and practice their basic math facts. These apps for FREE!
IXL, a paid program, allows kids to work on specific math skills and really gives them extra time to practice at their own pace.
For reading, I like to keep it simple with these two apps: Reading A-Z allows students to read books at their level, below level, and above level! I can also easily assign books to students that allow them to read, to be read to, and then answer comprehension questions when they are done. EPIC is a wonderful app that allows students to read popular book straight from their iPads! My kids absolutely love this!
Scratch Jr is one of my students’ favorite coding apps! Using different characters, backgrounds, and coding functions, students can create stories, retell stories, and even have their characters talk using the recording option.
Codepillar App– If you already have the Codepillar, you know how easy and fun it is for students to code and control how the Codepillar moves. However, if you only have one Codepillar for the entire class to code, that can difficult. Using the Codepillar App, students can either work with a partner or by themselves to code their Codepillar on their own tablet! Simply choose and drag the movements then tap on the Codepillar on the app to make him move to complete the tasks!
Daisy the Dinosaur is another simple but fun coding app for little engineers! Students can choose from the Free-Play Mode or Challenge Mode to help Daisy the Dinosaur get to the STAR. Students can drag the simple commands into order for Daisy to move. Some independent reading is required regarding the different tasks. Therefore, working in pairs would work best for beginning and emerging readers.
Hopster Coding Safari is a fun, animated, and interactive app that my students really love! As students from different tracks to help different animals find their food, they also get to take a trip around the world! It’s self explanatory and so easy to use!
For more FREE Coding resources, I go directly to CODE.org and Khan Academy Hour of Code. In addition to plugged activities, Code.org also has many unplugged activities including my favorite the Binary Bracelets!
5. Use Google Classroom and Google Slides
If you are assigning or sharing work with your students, Google Classroom is a great tool to push work out to students quickly and efficiently. You can share a link, picture, or an editable file that your students can complete on their own!
One of my most favorite Google Apps for instruction with my first graders is Google Slides. Once I send out an interactive digital notebook via Google Classroom, they can easily open it up on Google Slides to work on it immediately! It’s so easily and fast! If you want to try it out for FREE, click to the links in the captions below!
If you need additional resources to help you plan your distance learning, check out the resources below! Happy Distance Teaching, teachers!
We CAN do it… TOGETHER! 🙂