It’s hard to believe that we’re wrapping up 2020. As much as I would love to bash 2020, I have a lot to be thankful for and I am a glass-half-full person! Due to the pandemic, I am so thankful for all the family time we got. We ate every meal together, had more zooms than “normal” in-person gatherings, played outside almost every day, and reconnected as a family. Even though teaching online was hard, I learned some amazing tricks that I’m going to take with me for the rest of my teaching career.
What is something you gained in a positive way from the pandemic?
Teaching Trick 1: I fell in love with chrome extensions!
If you know of any chrome extension support groups, I should probably sign-up because I am addicted! Here are some of my favorites I use on a daily basis.
Awesome Screenshot– Helpful when needing screenshots for directions etc.
Tab Resize – Takes your screen and makes it into split screens easily
Small PDF– Edit, Compress, and Convert PDFs easily
Grammarly– Edits your grammar
Screencastify– Record yourself teaching with video or audio easily. Saves to drive!
Print-Friendly– Prints clean documents and allow you to edit. Perfect for distance learning
Mote– leave personal voice comments on assignments
Grade transfer– copies grades from learning management tool to a grade book
Timer– Count down timer
Teaching Trick 2: I am never giving paper assignments again!
Besides the obvious paper waste, I hated waiting at the copier! I always hated and despised it as a teacher. The jams, the lines, feeling like I needed to choose between eating lunch or making copies and ultimately deciding to do both at the same time..
This year due to Covid, I decided I gave up on paper assignments, even my tests are virtual. I am loving google classroom and drive integration. I am never going back!
Trick 3: The mailman is my friend
I have learned to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. I met my mailman, Rich. He quickly became my kid’s favorite person and secretly mine… partially due to my Amazon addiction.
Trick 4: Increase student engagement
This year I am making a conscious effort to increase student engagement online. Last year, I barely used the chat feature of zoom except if students had questions. This year I am building in social, emotional, and academic participation into my lessons by purposely using the chat as an asset in my classroom.
For example, I had students respond to ice breakers such as a shovel or plow when we had a large snowstorm or coffee or tea as a way to get them engaged in a fun way. Incorporate gifs into your lessons such as mindful minutes.
Ask content related questions as students discuss articles in a socratic circle, questions as they watch a video, or respond to prompts anytime I would normally do a think pair share in a normal classroom setting.
I have seen a huge increase in student engagement since I started doing this. Kids who won’t turn their camera on are participating and engaged. They even answer each other’s questions. My only regret is that I wish I did it last year.
One tip: I have is to get a second device or monitor, which allows you to see the chat and their faces on one screen and the lesson on the other. Do you teach with two devices or a second monitor?
To celebrate the New Year, I am having a 20% off sale with the code: newyear.
You can get 20% off Bundles, courses, tests, activities, and projects. Everything is my store is Google Drive compatible and editable.
I want to wish you a happy and healthy new year!