Tips for Distance Learning

Hello friends! Wow...these past few weeks have been more like a movie than real life. I hope despite everything going on, you and your loved ones are well and healthy! That is the most important thing!!

On Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday... I honestly can't even keep track of the days anymore...) I recorded myself for my students. As much as I would love to interact live with all students I know that is not possible, although I will try with some :) so I made some videos that they can access at their convenience.

This was WAY out of my comfort zone. I don't know why but teaching online scares me! Fortunately we have a really awesome tech department who provided  some training on this. At our school, we use Screencastify. You can access some parts for free because it is a little pricy. However, you can always record yourself on your laptop or phone. If I didn't have this tool available to me, I would definitely be doing just that!

So, with using whatever is available,  my first tip is....

1. Don't overthink the video and don't stress the little things:

Sometimes I can be a perfectionist. When I have done recordings in the past, even if I make the smallest mistake, I stop and start over. Don't do this!! Just like in your real teaching, you will stumble over your words, you'll make little mistakes, you'll need to go grab something you forgot, you'll forget something in your lesson and go out of order... it's OK. You're going to drive yourself crazy doing multiple takes on these.


2. It's OK not to be fancy!

I'm sure you have subscribed to some pretty awesome teacher YouTubers too. They have cool effects and text in their videos. They edit out mistakes or random things. Nope not me... you'll see me awkwardly look for the stop button at the end of my video, rather than editing that part out. I have a dry erase board and marker to separate out each day. Yes, I could probably add in some fancy effects or text here...but NO. This works just fine! We all have enough on our plate to worry about this. Of course if you enjoy this and feel comfortable with the fancy stuff...go for it!!! Do what works best for you, just don't stress yourself out. We're all doing the best we can in such an odd situation.

3. Teach like Elmo

Nope not a typo....As I write this blog post my son is currently watching Elmo's World on Sesame Street. #dontjudge. If you haven't seen this or other children's shows lately, you will notice that when a character talks to the viewers, they pause. They pause because the kids are going to answer. When you ask a question, pause and wait. In my video below, you will see me do this a lot. I like to remind my kids that if they got a question right, to pat themselves on the back or kiss their brains. Yep, it feels weird when you're in a room by yourself... but try it!

During my guided reading lesson, I ran through sight words and other review concepts. I asked questions and waited. During sight words, I paused for students to answer and then read the words in case they were unsure of it. Along with answering questions, make sure you give sufficient time for students to turn pages, do a picture walk (totally forgot to do this in my video BTW), get materials, etc.

I always like to have my students highlight sight words word chunks, etc. in books. If you do too, remind students to pause the video and start it back up after they have done so. :) It's a great way to engage them.

*As I rewatch my video...I think I could have even waited a little longer. Just something to improve on for next time! 😉

4. Use Familiar Visuals:

Your students, and everyone, are so out of routine. If you can, use some visuals that they are familiar with to enhance your lessons. 

Psstttt. Grab this free printable and MORE on a previous blog post HERE!

5. Stick with Familiar Activities:

I've had a few teachers reach out to me for tips on interventions. I would just suggest trying to stick with things that the kids are familiar with doing. You are not there to guide them through the activities so try to keep the activities simple. Flashcards, blending drills, even read alouds are great to share with students!

6. Have your materials close by

It's important that your video isn't too long so students can stay engaged. Make sure you have your materials close by so you don't have to keep getting up to get them. If you want students to do a worksheet or activity after, make sure you have it close by so you can show students exactly what they should be doing. 

7. Give Yourself Grace

Please be kind to yourself and others during this time! We are all doing the best we can! 

With that...please remember to give me some grace if you choose to watch my guided reading video lol.... Again, I'm nervous to share this because I didn't anticipate anyone over the age of six seeing this....

Hopefully this blog post helped you! What tips or resources do you have to share for distance learning? Leave me a comment below! Don't forget to check out some of my resources below too!

Grab the guided reading book and more FREE printables below.
Check some more of my no-prep printables from my TpT shop below too!






This includes the guided reading book and some printables!


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