I have been in my classroom the last four days, and let me tell you, it’s sad. I’m sad school is starting when summer never felt like it did. Sad I wont’ get to share my vibrant rainbow colored classroom and watch the walls fill up with student creations. Sad I won’t see my vibrant, smiling learners pushing boundaries and feeling me out for the first week.
As I sat in my room alone, presenting to 300 Kansas City Public School teachers in tiny little boxes on my laptop, I felt a sense of peace and also a ton of excitement. I shared with them TONS of ideas to start the remote teaching year off strong. I gathered ideas from my own experience, my colleagues and my friends from NY to Instagram to help teachers strike the right balance of:
- Creating a sense of a belonging for all.
- Getting to know students and honoring their many identities.
- Incorporating movement and brain breaks into your remote learning sessions.
As I created this presentation I knew that teachers might feel overwhelmed with all the “new” that we have to do and I wanted to save them some time and money by giving them some templates to DIY. I’m going to share ones that you can take and make your own, but I’ll also link to people who sell products that are completely ready for you to roll out on day one. So whatever you do, make it your own!
Creating a sense of a belonging by co-creating community expectations:
After co-creating expectations with students during remote or socially-distanced learning (this is another post for another day), you can add your final community expectations to this slide. Invite students to create the GIFs in place of you or add symbols, pictures or student drawings instead! Click here to make a copy and #makeityourown. BTW–this was NOT my idea. It was from the magic of instagram that I saw this and had to make my own GIFs with GIPHY.
Getting to know your students:
I think it’s a good idea to create many opportunities, no matter how short, for students to practice sharing and talking on the virtual meeting platform. When you click here, you’ll be invited to make a copy of “Community News” and “Student Spotlight.” For news: If you are in a primary grade, you could invite students/families to send you quick updates and add them to your news, or could type them in as students are sharing to send out as part of your newsletter or add to your website. For older grades, you might include a form or send an email students can respond to.
For your “Student Spotlight,” feel free to make a copy in the same slide deck for each kiddo and send to be completed for an assignment. Students will feel SUPER special when it is their turn to share. Or they will be embarrassed because they are in 5th grade. Either way will be great…#makeityourown!
Honoring your students’ many identities using Google Jamboard:
Start with a “four corners” version to get students opening up a bit, then you could move towards more identity work, share read alouds and have discussion about what identity means. Please use the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards to help you frame your learning targets and support your class in understanding themselves and others. Invite students to share a few things from their Jamboard identity maps and also include an option to do it as a poster on paper and upload a picture. Choice and voice! Click here to make a copy and #makeityourown.
Incorporating movement and brain breaks into your remote learning sessions:
I’m going to share our schedule soon, but one thing we will not be skipping is movement and brain breaks. Whether you phone it in and put on some GoNoodle videos, have your own virtual dance party, OR play a fun game, you’ll want to include this in your meeting time. One popular game is “This or That” with movement included. Here is very basic version so you can #makeityourown!
Here is my friend, Jen’s, awesome bundle with all of the work already done for you!
Here is another bundle from Adrienne Wiggins with SO MANY IDEAS for you…and it’s ready to go with a little help from you and your students. 🙂
Finally, here is a planning template with a daily and weekly view to help you create opportunities for community, sharing and movement! Don’t let it slip through the cracks and just #makeityourown!