In recent times, we’ve all had to make some pretty dramatic changes in our daily lives. Teachers have had no choice but to adapt the way they teach, and students have been introduced to a very new style of learning. The changes that have been made to how we teach and learn have been quite the challenge for many! Everything we know about education in the classroom has had to be adapted for online learning in a hurry. With online learning comes challenges most of us likely didn’t see coming. Teachers, students, and parents alike have been facing issues that are exclusive to online learning, and we here at Red Cat Reading are here to provide some relief and teaching tips!
As many teachers know, keeping students engaged and focused in class is a challenge, which becomes even more difficult when dealing with teaching online. The classroom environment, routine, and overall experience is extremely different online than in person. How can teachers keep students actively participating during lessons without disruption? While there will always be bumps in the road along the way, there are many ways to keep lessons going smoothly!
Make sure that students aren’t just sitting glued to their computer screens and seats. Keep them excited to learn by letting them feel included and knowing that they are a key part of the class.
1. Get Students Writing, Not Typing
Teachers can quiz students as a group and ask each of them to write their answer on paper and show the answer to the camera. This works best with single words or letters for younger learners, and is a great way to keep students’ hands busy! The slight element of competition will have students excited to answer the question. Sitting in front of a computer without playing with the keyboard or items around them can be tough for younger students, so this is a good way to keep control of the class as a whole.
2. Take Turns Talking
A teacher’s online lesson nightmare is when all students are talking over each other at once creating a chaotic environment. To avoid this, be sure to skillfully use the mute button and only allow students to talk when it’s their turn. You can have students raise their hands as they would in class, or you can even set an order in which students may answer.
3. Use Visual Aids
Young students tend to have a very short attention span and are visual learners, so a great way to grab their attention is with visual aids. This can include using flashcards and pictures and even sending pictures to the group chat for all to see on the screen. Teachers can even have each student watch the same video as a part of the lesson and hold a class discussion afterwards.
4. Show and Tell
Younger students tend to love showing off their prized possessions to the class and sharing why they’re so special to them. Show and Tell is a great time to get more quiet students talking and engaging with the rest of the class. Items that students can show may be related to that day’s subject, for example, something related to science, like an interesting book they have or a special rock they found in their garden. It can also be any item they like, as a way to get them connecting with their classmates. A big part of being in class is interacting with the other children, and Show and Tell can really help students maintain some socialization as they would at school.
5. Stop and Listen
Make sure to give each student a chance to speak at some point during the lesson. Students should each feel that they are an important part of the class and have something to contribute. While some students are comfortable speaking in front of others, many find it hard or even scary to speak up. Be sure to remain in control of when and for how long a student may speak at a time. This can be made easier by setting a time limit for each student that they may not exceed. For the students who have a more difficulty talking at length, try to encourage them or prompt them with questions for them to answer.
For even more effective lessons, don’t forget to share our fun songs and videos with your class! They’ll love learning to read and write with our phonics lessons and will be sure to look forward to class everyday!