Have you got used to teaching virtually and now you're wondering how you will survive when you return back in person? Or maybe you are teaching in person and you're wondering how you use all these digital resources and materials that you collected over the past several months with your in-person students? Or maybe you're wondering how can I keep myself sane and safe while doing the job that I love.
If you know me, you know that I am all about using what you have and using it for a variety of purposes so you can keep your sanity! So today I want to share with you some tips and tricks so that you can use those digital resources and materials you already have with the students you are teaching in person.
I have been back teaching the majority of my students in person since the fall and I have not used paper and pencil at all this school year. In my school, I do have access to a smartboard where I am able to display Boom Cards, Edpuzzle, and various other activities so we can do them together. My students also have access to Chromebooks so instead of handing them a piece of paper for them to work on, I can assign it on Google Classroom and have each student open it up on their devices. Sometimes I make an individual copy of activities for each student and sometimes I just give all the students access to the same doc or slide and we work together on a common goal. Regardless of if you have these same devices or not, you can still use your digital resources even if that means pulling up on your computer and having all the students watch your screen.
While I have not opened my game closet all year, my students still play games together. I love to pull up websites like Toy Theater and while we take turns doing some sort of boom deck we split the screen and play something like Snakes and Ladders in between each question. I even have used my physical task cards with only me holding them and then paired them with a game.
Another thing that I love to utilize is graphic organizers to work on different strategies with my students. I always go through a lesson on how to use graphic organizers with my students before I expect them to start using them. Below is an example of my Inferencing graphic organizers. I like to teach my students how to infer by filling in these organizers with what do I see, what background knowledge do I have or what do I know, and from that, what I can guess. I like to model my thinking for the students with the first picture and then we might do the next one together and then I’ll assign them one to do on their own on their Chromebooks. I love utilizing Google classroom, not so much for assigning things for outside of my classroom but more for just assigning things to do in class as an alternative to handing out and collecting paper. I like to schedule activities ahead of time so that they will become available right during the time when I will be working with my students that way they don’t know what we are doing ahead of time.
Another thing I like to use whether virtual or in-person is the free Google Extension called Kami. Kami allows me to write on any PDF, picture, or website page with my tools so that I don’t have to print anything and my students and I do the activities together. With all those printable resources that I would have been giving to students prior to COVID, I can now just use Kami to write on them digitally. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to touch the copier and all those germs when I know it doesn’t get sanitized in between uses.
Another free resource that I like to use is Bamboozle. I was worried that my students were going to be so bored with it but they actually love it and they are so motivated by the points. There are so many games already made for you on Bamboozle that I think I have only ever made one of my own. Also, keep in mind that a lot of these games were made by classroom teachers so we can use these games but maybe we pair it with a strategy to help our students. When we are doing this in person, I will have my little dry erase board and hold up a visual or some phrases to help get them started. I might use a graphic organizer or flip the screen. It's all about getting creative and using what you have to help your students be successful!
Want to learn more? Check out the video and the resources I mentioned for engaging, no-prep and low-prep activities to use with your students this week!
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