Are you being asked to set up distance learning for your students? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the technology involved in online teaching, you are not alone! As more schools close, teachers are scrambling to adapt. These online resources for virtual learning can show you how to teach from home, meet with your students virtually, and continue their instruction online. In this post, I’ve gathered tips, tutorials, and tools that will walk you step-by-step through the process of setting up distance learning for your students.
Using Zoom for Online Teaching From Home
Zoom is an online tool you can use to share lessons, hold class meetings, and share videos with students. You can sign up for a free basic subscription using your school email address. Once you set it up, you can send your students a Zoom link to log in. You can set up predetermined times for live lessons and students just click the link you sent them to log in and join the lesson.
Tips for Using Zoom
Zoom is password protected and not accessible to the public. Parents can sign up for a free account, but they don’t have to. Students can join a class meeting without an account as long as they have the link. For students who don’t have access to devices, there is also an app. Students can access the class meetings on their parent’s phone.
As students join the meeting, the screen will keep changing to show all of the students who join. To get all of your student’s faces on the screen, have students go to the upper right hand corner at the beginning of the meeting and click the picture that looks like a grid. This enables all students to see each other at the same time. You can change the view on the screen to show everyone or just the person who is talking.
Your students will of course be delighted, and I highly recommend using the first class meeting for everyone to chat and catch up. After that, to prevent students from talking to one another while you are teaching, simply mute students when you are talking. Unmute when it is time for them to share or respond.
You can record Zoom videos and send them to kids where weren’t at the meeting or so students can watch a replay as often as they want.
- Get a free subscription to Zoom using your school email address.
Many teachers are sharing tutorials and tips online for getting started with Zoom.
- See a Zoom Step-By-Step Tutorial from Mrs. Richardson’s class.
- Download a Free Zoom Cheat Sheet for Teachers and Parents from Simply Kinder.
Google Teach From Home
Google just launched a temporary hub of information, called Google Teach From Home, with tools to help teachers keep teaching when they can’t be in their classrooms. They have compiled distance learning resources for educators with online teaching videos, tutorials, trainings, and tools from across Google for Education to help teachers keep teaching from home. Access the teacher help center for Google Teach From Home HERE.
If you use Google Classroom, this FREE Remote Learning Workshop created by a classroom teacher has 6 video tutorials for setting up remote learning, planning and structuring it, teaching with videos, and adapting your regular resources for online learning. Do not miss the FREE Google Slide Templates Kit and Teacher Planning Workbook! They are pure teaching gold.
Another helpful tool for teaching from home and implementing distance learning is Google Hangouts. It is free during school closures. With Google Hangouts, also called Google Meet, you can schedule calls and share a link with your students to join the call.
Just like with Zoom, you can share your screen with students. If your school has G-Suite or you are already using Google Classroom, add Google Hangouts too, as another way to connect with your students.
- Click HERE for support with setting up Google Meet for distance learning.
YouTube Learn At Home
YouTube Learn@Home highlights educational YouTube channels that teachers can add to their lessons and students can watch at home. They have just launched a page for educators that categorizes high quality channels by age group Inside each age group are channels with video for all subject areas. You may already use some of these channels in your classroom, but now you have them all in one place and can easily send links to your students in Zoom, See Saw, or even via email.
Click HERE to access YouTube Learn@Home.
Educational Websites for At-Home Learning
In addition to students learning at home through the online platform you’ve chosen, there are many fun, high quality educational websites for kids to practice a multitude of skills. Many of the sites also have apps that can be used on a phone or iPad. I’ve collected a huge list of over 120 educational websites for at-home learning to share with students and parents.
Setting Up Your Teaching Space
Once you have an idea of the tools and resources you will need for distance learning, you will need a space to teach from. That may be your living room or home office, or it may even be in your classroom with no students. If you will be teaching from home, set up a space with a clear wall behind you to as a back drop. During your online lessons, you may want to hang visuals or anchor charts to refer to. Set up a table to use as a desk to hole your laptop, document camera, or any other technology you will use.
If you are teaching from school, these virtual classroom setups for teaching online will give you lots of ideas to help you get started.
Keeping Students Engaged While Distance Learning
One challenge teachers face with online learning is keeping their students engaged. There can be so many distractions when learning from home that can make it hard for students to focus. Here are some great remote teaching tips to engage students that you can keep in your remote teaching toolkit!
Free At-Home Learning Activities
Many of our students don’t have access to devices at home. This makes distance learning tricky, but not impossible. I’ve put together free at-home learning menus with 3-weeks of educational activities for all subject areas, that don’t require a device.
There is always a learning curve when trying something new. Once you get your platforms in place, teaching from home is definitely doable. It’s not the same as being in their classroom, but the novelty for students makes it fun. Your students miss you and will be thrilled to stay connected to you and all their classmates.
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I continually add websites to this list as I find new ones for students to use at home.
Happy teaching from home!