We know that right now there is a ton of information out there about how to organize, create, and implement remote learning. As Instructional Technologists, we love all of these conversations! They are invaluable to educators as they look into creating these learning environments for their students.

However… all of this content may be information overload for some of you. We love that we have options, but also ask the question, “How do we even get started?”

Let’s just start with communication. Right now our school district is on an additional two week break. As elementary school teachers, we know that our students may want to talk with us, they may be scared, and they may want to see their friends! So, how can we make this happen?

Here are 3 tips for remotely connecting with your students:

  1. 🤳 Use the tech you normally use to communicate or the technology you & your students know. This makes it easy for you to communicate and easy for your students to access the content, even if their parents don’t know how to connect.
  2. 🎥 Add a video component to your communication if possible. This brings a connection and offers you the ability to show your facial expressions/tone to show empathy and comfort during a difficult time. The teacher creates the culture in the classroom and this allows you to continue to foster a positive culture among your students.
  3. 🙋‍♀️ Offer a way for your students to respond to your communication. Students love connecting with you and their peers. This allows everyone in the class to have a voice, even though we are not in the same physical space. This is such an important aspect to student growth and efficacy.

Here are a few examples using various technologies that you may normally use within your classroom.

Facebook

  • Post information & ideas for fun interactive activities to do at home for your parents
  • Hold a Facebook Live event
  • Record and post a video of you reading a book
  • Take a picture of the book you are reading. Ask parents to take a pic of their child with their book. Allow students to view the pictures of their friends. Foster conversations between friends about their books.
  • Make it fun! Find fun ways to connect and build community! Ask questions, post polls, and engage with your students and parents.
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Remind

  • Send links to videos you record and upload to YouTube, Flipgrid, or Wakelet
  • Direct parents to Word links with fun ideas, newsletters, and videos
  • Send newsletters
  • Offer a daily challenge
  • Allow for parents to text back or email you with responses, compile responses and send responses back to the families the next day.
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Microsoft Teams

  • Utilize Teams conversations to chat, send out polls, and stay connected
  • Utilize the Teams Meetings feature to hold live video sessions. Record these sessions for students to view anytime.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard is built right into Microsoft Teams Meetings!
  • Embed any website or partner applications for students to easily get to content
  • Utilize channels to organize your content
  • Upload YouTube videos to your Team for students to view a daily message
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Flipgrid

  • Create fun lessons offering students the ability to showcase the things they enjoy at home
  • Create daily messages for students to see
  • Have a daily question where students share their thoughts
  • Have students use items from home to demonstrate learning. For example, use various manipulatives to count and create word problems
  • Read a book daily for your students and have students respond with a book reading
  • Ask parents to read
  • Have a question grid for students and one for parents
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SeeSaw

  • Video daily challenge
  • Utilize the blog feature
  • Leave daily video messages for your students
  • Encourage students to bring their favorite things from home into the classroom
  • Have students use items from home to demonstrate learning. For example, use various manipulatives to count and create word problems
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Wakelet

  • Offer a video or article to read and have students respond with their thoughts either typed or video recorded with the integrated Flipgrid camera
  • Daily news with text and video
  • Book reading with Flipgrid camera
  • Provide a curated list of resources and study tools
  • Q&A where students can ask questions and their peers or you can respond
  • Parent’s corner where parents can ask questions and stay connected
  • Daily question or challenge – students share thier thoughts or results through text or Flipgrid video
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Sway

  • Daily Newsletter with video
  • Daily challenge for students to create their daily report on Sway and share it with the class
  • Read a book and place the video in the Sway
  • Record a morning message with the audio feature
  • Post on Facebook, Remind, or Instagram
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Buncee

  • Create a daily Buncee with news and updates
  • Include a Flipgrid and allow students to respond with video
  • Create interactive choice boards
  • Create challenges for students to create their own Buncees and post to a Buncee Board
  • Daily book reading with Flipgrid

We know that there are so many different ways to connect with your students. We hope that we have offered you a few new ideas and new ways to connect.

Check out our “3 Tips for Remote Learning” series for more tips and tricks.


TheJenalleeShow

Jeni Long and Sallee Clark are Instructional Technologists with Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD. This dynamic duo, known as #Jenallee, is passionate about technology integration and making learning accessible & fun for all! Between the two of them, they have presented across the 26 schools in their district, at their Regional Education Service Center, FETC, TCEA, TCEA for Tots, & Central America. They are both MIE Experts, MIE Trainers, Ed to the Max Consultants, and Flipgrid Ambassadors. Jeni has served in education for 20 years as a 6th grade Math Teacher, 7-12 ELA Curriculum Specialist, Technology Integration Specialist and a Science Curriculum Specialist. Sallee has served in education for 14 years as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Elementary Librarian, K-12 District Librarian, & Instructional Technologist.

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