My 3 Tips for Distance Learning!
March 30, 2020
This whole distance learning thing is new for all of us. Teachers are home trying to tend to their own lives and the way it has changed along with trying to teach students from afar. Parents are taking on more of the educational duties while also working their own jobs from home. Curriculum-creators (like myself) are rapidly trying to create things that work for teachers, parents, AND students. Many of us have kids at home all the time now… and you get it… it’s TOUGH!
I wanted to share a couple tips I had for distance learning. In no way am I an expert at this… because is anyone?! But these are just ideas that I thought would help based on the many emails and questions I’ve received the past few weeks.
Before you dive into this post, I wanted to let you know you can also watch these three tips in video form over on my YouTube channel. Just click play below to watch/listen:
Tip: 1 – split and share PDFs
One of the first questions I received was “can I post your unit online to share with my students?!” Generally, most TPTers and educational publishers don’t allow the sharing of their resources online because they can easily be stolen, shared, and there are all sorts of copyright issues with it, etc.
In this case, my answer was and still is a resounding YES. Please, share with your students and their parents. Make sure they’re getting what they need. Now, onto the tip part… many teachers also asked how to share just one or two pages with their class, instead of the entire document.
Now there are a few different ways to do this. The first way is to open the PDF and go to “print.” For the pages, choose only the ones you want to save. Now, instead of pressing print, go to the dropdown where you choose your printer and find the option “Print to PDF” or “Save to PDF.” Once you press print on that setting, it will actually save only those couple pages for you and create that new document. That way you can send a few pages home per week or whatever you need to do!
Now, having talked a few teachers through this, I know that sometimes it can difficult to find these settings, so I have a couple other options. They have a few easy to use and secure websites that allow you to quickly upload the PDF and then select only the pages you want/need to save. These websites include:
Tip 2: offer plenty of choices
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, life is absolute crazy-town right now. So even when assigning tasks, giving lessons, and checking in with students it is really difficult to make that equitable when your students aren’t right there in front of you. You don’t know what time and family constraints they may have. To help combat this, I like the idea of giving students a choice board to complete.
I created three free math choice boards (one for kindergarten, one for first grade, and one for second grade) that you can download and use with your students. They are filled with simple math activities or problems to solve and as the teacher, you can share one and have students complete 4 or 5 throughout the week. It’s completely up to you! If you know most of your students are at home and have plenty of parent help, you can assign more. If you know some students may struggle to find the time to complete the activities, you can assign less. Students have all the choice in which boxes they want to complete as well.
You can grab all 3 choice boards by clicking the image below:
Tip 3: connect!
My last tip is to simply connect with your students. Now, I am sure I don’t need to remind you of this, but it’s so important, I had to include it! As stressed out, anxious, nervous, confused, etc. as you are… your students are feeling a similar way! My own 5-year-old is missing his pre-K friends something fierce these days. He doesn’t understand why he cannot see them or go play where we have in the past. It can seem like a punishment and he’s a bit nervous about it all.
Your young students desperately want to see you and feel how much you care for them, just like you showed them in the classroom. This isn’t possible for all students but some ideas for connecting are to hop on a Zoom call or a Google Hangout with your students. They will be thrilled just to see your face and talk to you! You can read them a book, hold a morning meeting, or just say hello and ask them some questions about what they’ve been up to!
If you don’t have permission or access to Zoom or Google hangout, you can schedule some Facetime or regular phone calls with your students or write them letters and send them to their addresses. Anything to connect with your students and validate their feelings at this stressful time.
So there you have my 3 tips for distance learning! I hope you enjoyed them and you were able to grab some of those free choice boards above!
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