Teaching remotely during the pandemic can often make you feel like you’re a first-year teacher all over again. It’s frustrating, challenging, and exhausting, but it can also be rewarding if you give it a chance.
In our current situation, lessons and activities need to be adapted like never before. As teachers, we have to get out of our comfort zones and reimagine our curriculums in completely new ways. Below are tips to keep students in elementary school and up engaged in remote learning so you can see that spark of excitement in your students again, even if it is via webcam. You can adapt these strategies to meet your needs across grade levels.
Student Engagement Tips for Remote Learning
1. Keep Cameras On and the Chat Open
A simple step you can take is to allow students to talk to each other. Online school can be isolating, especially for children who are used to socializing. In my classes, I promote keeping our cameras on so we feel like we’re all together. I also sometimes leave the chat function on so students can ask questions or respond to their classmates. While not everyone is comfortable with this, I find that students become more willing to share and participate in class discussions this way.
2. Comment on Student Work in Real Time
I was surprised to see that students really enjoy sharing their work through Zoom’s screen-sharing tool and providing feedback to one another. For a recent project, I gave the students a peer-feedback sheet that included a rubric and an area to write a “glow-and-grow.” I allowed each student to present by sharing their screen, and the others filled in the feedback sheet for them. Then we shared our feedback for the presenter aloud. One student even told me that the experience was fun. I hadn’t expected it to go so well, but I think they enjoyed the social aspect of this activity and seeing each other’s work.
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