Think we all have felt like this when it comes to our online lives and education.

Unless a teacher takes great effort in building a relationship with every student they teach, distance learning won’t matter one bit.

“It just doesn’t feel like I’m in a class,” says one student.

Recognizing they do not want to hurt my feelings, I emphasize with them as it resembles the same for me.

That’s why these words continue to ring in my ears repeatedly.

Those in education know what I’m saying.  Until the relationship and bond is established, there will be no connection.  With no connection, there is no interest.

Plain and simple.

This is the second part of my two series blog that assists teachers and families gather, organize, and strengthen distance learning through the COVID crisis.

If you missed the first blog, Strengthen Special Education Accommodations for Distance Learning, please check it out!

Factors That Teachers Must Consider When Teaching Students

This simple list are factors that I have learned since mid-March.  If you haven’t thought of these, jot them down and blend them into your lessons.

  • Breakdown the lessons even more! – One of our Spanish teachers uses Tick Tock and utilizes the one minute to hone in on the particular skills she wants students to understand.
  • Conduct a special session on proper social cues.  I get it.  Kids will be kids, but if someone doesn’t tell them what is ok and not acceptable allows, then them to create a distraction.
  • Flex times and work. Some students are going to work plus those that have to watch their siblings while their parents are working during the day.
  • Schedule activity breaks. Even in a live-stream lesson, provide activity breaks.  We all need that mental time-out.
  • Record the questions that come in a chat or discussion. Upload a list of questions discussed during the lesson so students can use that to jog their memory when they complete their homework.
  • Build in real-life problems. Here’s a golden opportunity to think of the applications and places where the lesson can tie into a career or product.  That’s an easy way to build instant interest.
  • Share-a-pet day. Our crack-head dog, Brier, always knows when my wife will teach her classes.  He waits so patiently until show time.  Then during the lesson, he sits pretty so the kids can see him over her shoulder.  Best part is he doesn’t let her know when he will do it and suddenly, the kids crack up.  Side note – if you fear an animal, tell them what pets are not acceptable!
Brier waits for the class to start up so he can learn the lesson

The Star of the Show!

His Majesty waits for class to start.

Share the responsibility, students!

Students are not off the hook with their learning.  In watching and listening to teachers share their experiences with distance learning, four common points emerged!

  • Establish your routines. The sooner this gets in place, the easier time you will have for completing your work.
  • Set your digital and paper calendars. Whether it’s on the fridge, or making an appointment, the more reminders students have in place, the more they will remember that’s time for the lesson or to post their work.
  • Contact peers. Build in time in class or outside of class time, for students to discuss the lesson.  It gives them another chance to interact with a friend.
  • Specify exactly where you’re stuck. Too often kids using social media will use their own pneumonic or emojis. IDK why it’s so hard for them to remember that teachers are not mind readers and that they need as much information on how they can assist them in understanding the lesson or bridging topics.

We’re not out of the woods yet.

Even though summer is quickly approaching, I just don’t see schools completely re-opening this fall. 

No matter if you’re a parent, teacher, or student, I encourage you to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly with your distance learning experiences.

The more that you’re prepared, the easier the transition will be in September.

If you are interested in learning more about distance learning, check out some of my other blogs. From Best Practices For Distance Learning to learning what skills can develop for work through distance learning, you will see that I’m trying to take a different angle where you can get more insight on how to bridge teaching and learning digitally.

I encourage you to take the lead with distance learning and helping those receiving special education services.

Need more help with implementing distance learning more efficiently, contact me.  I’ll be glad to help.

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