Don’t take social emotional learning so seriously! It’s easier than you think. What we mean is, take it seriously, but don’t you think it’s time to lighten it up a bit? Here’s a little secret…we believe instruction is about having fun in a safe way that makes kids feel seen and heard! Below are few tips to consider when teaching online (and even in the classroom).
Some readers may know of the tips below, but you’d be surprised how many don’t. Our team trained thousands of educators in 2020. The last 10 months have shown us that just like with our students, there is also a technology gap across the nation with our teaching staff. We hope no matter who you are, there is something here for you.
1. Create a fun and inviting entrance to the call. Choose a relevant song as students enter the call, play a game while waiting for the rest of the kids to arrive, use Kahoot! or do a poll or ask students to come in wearing their favorite article of clothing and do a show and tell. Do something aside from just waiting.
2. Ask the students for group norms or what their expectations are for the ‘room’ and learning. Students need boundaries and expectations, but they don’t need us to tell them what these are. As they get older, they can share their own group norms- they know what they are.
3. Use a disguised- learning ice breaker as a pulse check to see how they are doing. You’ll want to know how your students are doing emotionally before you begin instruction, this way you can teach with empathy and understanding. For example, you will have an easier time if you know that a few of your students are feeling sad, depressed, or irritated. This would be a cue not to teach arithmetic right away and focus more on communication, connection, and kindness before you get started.
4. Make sure they know what matters to you is that they are OK first and that learning is second (this frees them up to learn). As mentioned above, if you know the emotional and mental state of your students, then you can address the mood, let them know you care about them before you grade them.
5. Don’t ignore the fact that they are home. When teaching, utilize the environment they are in. Use things from the home that they can bring into class to share and engage ie: a scavenger hunt. Acknowledging that they are and that we are all in a new space can help everyone feel a sense of belonging.
6. In order to teach with ease, learn your technology applications. Find a sense of flow and freedom. Once you understand tech and its magic, the freer you are to teach! Technology is creative and playful, learn the tools and apps so that it’s easier to get to the content of the day.
7. Use your creativity and ideas to prep and plan engaging activities- kids are SO tired of flat learning, videos, and lectures. Sometimes we forget that we can be innovators while teaching. Try new things, take risks, think for yourself, be the artist that you are and create something interesting, beautiful, and challenging! You don’t need permission! ❤️