4 Knockout Ideas for Distance Learning

 4 Knockout Ideas for Distance Learning

Distance learning can at times feel like you were put in a blender without the top on. Just because we are distanced from our students doesn’t mean we have to feel so mixed up. Take a few pointers for the 4 knockout ideas for distance learning so you don’t feel the pressure, so much!

Keep it Simple

Remain organized and keep everything simple. It really is the key to successful distance learning. Use the same lesson plan template each week. This helps to make sure students know what to expect each week. Pick a day for grammar. Be clear what the goals are each week. Be clear with due dates. Do not lower your expectations, but make them clear. If students do not turn their cameras on in virtual meetings, then make it clear from the beginning that is an expectation. Make sure students know how they are being graded and what to expect in terms of grading. How often is your gradebook updated? Do you provide feedback on all assignments? Where should they find the feedback? (I am a big fan of Google Docs comments and Kaizena if you are looking to share your voice!) 

Stay Connected

Being connected to your students is more important than ever. Showing students that you care, you are invested in their learning, and you want them to succeed is of utmost importance during distance learning. Take time to get to know them. Do the icebreaker activities and make students feel a part of the community. You can also use a website to promote and  to display student work. You need to continue to show pride in what they are accomplishing, so they do too! (Google sites are really easy to use!) You may even have a student help you maintain the website giving opportunities to students who want to do more. 

Also, make connection with families a priority. Yes, it is time consuming, but when distanced, it is even more important for families to be in the communication loop. Social emotional health is a serious issue during distance learning and being in contact with families will avoid seeing students that are often overachievers becoming slackers. Families need to know how their children are doing to be a part of the support system. There are great resources out there like Remind that allow you to stay connected without giving out your phone number! Decide what works best for you and stay connected!

Keep it Light

Distance learning should have high expectations, but when we’re in in-person class there are so many times that you go off on tangents, or play games, or even watch movies. Don’t forget all of that just because we are distanced. Do play games.  One of my favorites is Scattergories. You can easily find lists online and choose a letter! Play with words and have some fun! You can easily share game sites like Kahoot or Quizizz in synchronous time by sharing your screen.

Also, keep up with the motivation! Continue to do rewards. Even distanced, extrinsic motivation matters.

 Here are a few ideas: 

  • Play games!

  • Watch a movie together

  • Second chance on an assignment

  •  Drop lowest grade

  • Choose a recipe the teacher makes in a synchronous meeting. (Even more interesting if you’re not a great cook or a student gets to give you directions!)

  • Choose a dance the  teacher has to do synchronously. (TikTok dances are huge right now).

The possibilities are endless. Be creative. Ask the students what they want. Let them earn the rewards and not just grades.  Grades are not motivators for many students and our ultimate goal is to help our students become lifelong learners, not just pass a specific grade.

Use All the Tools

Lastly, use all of your resources.<strong>Use the technology and use your colleagues! Reach out to your technology department. Share successes and failures with others in your department or on your team. Stay in communication with guidance counselors and administrators. Find your support team within your school and utilize it. No one should have to jump into distance learning alone.  

When distanced, your world is upside down.
 Don’t let it bog you down. Get creative and use the 4 knockout ideas for distance learning here.  Be flexible and reflective and distance learning could be one of your best years yet!


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