Top 5 Tips for Remote Teaching





In 2020, Pandemic Remote Teaching is a real thing.  Many of us were thrown into it in March, just around Spring Break.  For others, we began our journey of online teaching with the start of this school year in August or September.  Regardless of when you started, we have all learned some valuable lessons as we have embraced this new way of instruction.  Below are five tips that teachers find to be useful with online remote teaching.  I hope you will find something that helps you during this unprecedented time.


1. Keep it Simple:

It is important to keep your lessons simple for online learning.  Simplify how you present your material and include visuals when possible. Present material in small chunks with clear learning objectives. Simplify the task the students need to do to show mastery of the skill.  You want to make sure they can easily accomplish the task in an online environment.

2. Learn to Navigate your Online Platforms and Learning Management System:

You need a way to organize and manage your student's online learning. Most school districts now have a Learning Management System (LMS), such as Canvas, Moodle or Schoology, to manage their remote learners.  Teachers are also using platforms like Google Classroom, Google Apps and Nearpod, to provide online content and assignments.  It is important for teachers to learn how to use the apps and LMS that they have for their students. Start with the basics, but increase your knowledge as you go. 

3. Build Relationships:

You still want to build relationships with students even though you are online instead of in the classroom.  You want the students to know that you are a classroom community and that they belong whether they are virtual or face to face.  Create ways to get to know them better. One suggestion is to have virtual show and tell. Let students share something in their home that is important to them. Check in on your students. Use virtual morning meeting time to have one or two students share any celebrations or something interesting they would like to share. Each week, communicate with students by email, video messages, phone calls or other types of communication to follow-up with them on concerns or achievements. Just five minutes each day can make a difference to students in this difficult time.

4. Use Technology to Make your Online Lesson Engaging:

Whether you are using Zoom, Google Meets or Microsoft Teams to provide your online synchronous lessons with students, use that app's online features to your advantage to gain student engagement. We use Zoom with our students, and utilize several of their features during lessons. Zoom has interesting virtual backgrounds teachers can use. It allows students to communicate through chat, reaction icons and unmuting themselves. Zoom also has a whiteboard feature and annotation which allows students to interact when you share your screen.  During your asynchronous lessons, it also can help have a playlist of catchy songs or sound effects to use for attention or transitions. Random name pickers can also be found online and are a virtual form of the "Pick Sticks" teaching technique.  You can add students names to the random name pickers, and they choose a student's name for you to call on. 

Using Google slides to keep your lessons organized will help keep students engaged. When students pop on to your Zoom, you can have a slide posted with an agenda, instructions or some other activity so they know what to do as you wait for all students to log on. Here is an example of an online agenda with a farmhouse rustic theme.  Click this link for more information.





5. It Helps to Be Entertaining

Some teachers may want to fight the concept of needing to be entertaining for students. But this can be very effective in teaching students both in the classroom and online. It is important to realize that this generation of kids use technology and social media to learn and keep themselves entertained. In a day and age where students can google any question and come up with videos and websites full of information, teachers can make lessons more engaging by bringing their classroom or virtual learning to life.  Instagram is full of teachers who transform their classrooms in an effort to make learning more entertaining for students. During a writing lesson when the room looks like a hospital and students dress like surgeons to perform surgery on sentences, they are totally engaged in the revise and edit process. 

With virtual learning, you don't have to go as far as transforming your dining room or classroom staging area to be entertaining. Online, you can engage students in simple ways. First of all, think about the way you deliver your content. If you are enthusiastic in presenting the material, students will be more interested in what you are saying. One strategy is to include call and response movement actions for lessons. For example, when teaching angles, make it a game to have students use their arms to show acute, obtuse and right angles each time you say the word during the lesson. They will sitting on the edge of their seat, hanging on your every word to listen for the angles. 

Another easy strategy to increase entertainment is to have your lesson focus on a theme. For a day you are teaching addition, have everyone wear their favorite sport team t-shirt.  The lesson could be sports themed where all your real life examples could be connected to football or baseball (add up touchdowns and field goals, add up the number of yards the running back rushed during a game to find total number, or total number of runs in a baseball game.  Sports themes can be used to make many different types of lessons entertaining.  Be creative and think of other simple ways to make your virtual lessons entertaining.

So, these are the top 5 things that have helped teachers in my school be successful with remote teaching. How about you? What tips can you share that have worked well for you? Leave a comment or message me on Instagram. I'd love to hear how you are navigating this year.




Until Next Time.....




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