1. Classroom Management

Tips to Transition to Virtual Learning Environments

Photo by Jacqueline Kelly on Unsplash

With the Coronavirus continuing to spread throughout the country, schools are closing for and transitioning to online learning in order to comply with the social distancing recommendations by the CDC. Teachers around the country are thus being asked to transition their lessons to a virtual environment. The recommendations below have been curated from my personal contacts who have already been utilizing virtual learning environments for the last several weeks in other countries. 

Keep it Simple: keep your lessons simple by including direct instructions so there is no confusion about what is expected. The example below is from a teacher in Beijing who is on week six of teaching online due to the Coronavirus (source). 

  • Date – Wednesday 11th March
  • Task # (ex. Task 1 of 2) so that students know exactly how many things I have shared with them.
  • Expected Time (to complete this task)
  • Learning Outcome/s
  • Introduction (I have been doing this as a video from me)
  • Possible Audio – of the instructions, if they are complicated, to assist my second English learners.
  • Activities and provide all links to your resources.
  • For Active Tasks – I have Reminders and Safety tips as well as ideas for differentiation where required.

Be Flexible: You are not going to know what the environment is like at the home of all of your students. Small children may need adult assistance. Older children may be caring for younger siblings. Be flexible with your lessons. You may not be able to cover all of your content. Make a list containing the sections of your content that absolutely must be covered and focus on those items instead of trying to teach everything. 

Manage Anxiety: walking into an unknown learning environment during an official pandemic can raise the anxiety and fear in everyone. Even though your lessons are online, you can still be a reassuring force of positivity and calm for your students. Stay positive in your videos and messages for students. Make learning fun. Encourage off-screen activities.

Stay Connected to Parents: parents are going to feel overwhelmed quickly with supporting the learning of their children at home. Be sure to communicate with parents regularly but remember to stay positive and calm. Send surveys to students and parents so you can gauge where they are mentally and adjust your lessons accordingly. You can even suggest offering phone calls or video chats with parents to assist struggling students. 

When in doubt, Google it: there are a ton of resources online for creating virtual learning lessons so if your school is unable to provide adequate training use Google. Google your specific subject area and grade level with the term online lessons or virtual learning lessons. There are a lot of rockstar teachers out there creating helpful resources for transitioning to virtual learning environments. We are all in this together. 

Take Care of You: whether your school is closed and/or transitioning to virtual learning environments for two weeks or eight weeks, remember to take care of you. Practice self care so that you are taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the websites below for great information. 

References:

All sourced information is hyperlinked as applicable above. 

TLDR (too long didn’t read):

With the Coronavirus continuing to spread throughout the country, schools are closing for and transitioning to online learning in order to comply with the social distancing recommendations by the CDC. Teachers around the country are thus being asked to transition their lessons to a virtual environment. The recommendations below have been curated from my personal contacts who have already been utilizing virtual learning environments for the last several weeks in other countries. 

@hollandkaylah

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