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Getting Ready for Back to School with Distance Learning


This school year brings a lot of uncertainty. Many schools aren’t sure of when they will return or what that return will even fully look like. However, what most are certain of is that distance learning will still be a part of the 2020-2021 school year. Today I am bringing you some ideas to help with back to school for distance learning.

Getting to know you

A huge part of back to school is getting to know this new group of students. Online learning makes that a lot harder! There are some simple ways to learn lots about your students while having fun.

Thumbs up/thumbs down– The teacher asks yes or no questions and students will respond by giving a thumbs up for yes and a thumbs down for no. These questions can be simple, like “Do you have siblings?”

Image of getting to know you questions for digital back to school

All about me– Students can create an all about me page in a program you are comfortable with. This could be done in Seesaw, Google Slides, etc. When students finish you could have them share in small groups virtually, combine them into a large class book print or digital, or share a few each day in your class meeting.

Image of all about me for Google Slides

Show and tell– Allow students to share something special with the class. You can assign students a day and time to present their show and tell to the class.

Digital surveys– At the beginning of each year I did student interest surveys and throughout the year I liked to do check ins. These can be done virtually using Google Forms. Create a quick form asking questions and send it to your students. Google Forms automatically records their answers!

Read Aloud

Reading is a huge part of the classroom, so naturally it can be part of the virtual classroom. Read alouds can be done live or pre-recorded so students can access them when they need.

Read alouds are great jump off points into lessons and discussions. This can be the same for distance learning. Your students can complete an assignment or respond to questions when they finish watching the read aloud.

Establish Routine

Depending on the grade you teach you probably do either morning message or morning meeting. When I taught fourth grade my students knew the first thing they needed to do was read the morning message and follow the directions on it. This is no different for online learning. Create a routine that your students will become familiar with. That familiarity gives a sense of stability and students will know what to expect.

Have rules for virtual meetings. Make sure your students know the rules and that you enforce them. These rules can be things like:

  • mute yourself
  • come to class prepared
  • raise your hand to speak
  • be respectful
  • be on time

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    My name is Jen and I’m the face behind Endeavors in Education.

    I have a passion for ELA and science. I am even STEM certified. Now I spend my time hanging with my kids, blogging (endeavorsined.com), and creating for my TpT store Endeavors in Education.

    I’m so happy you’ve joined me on this journey!

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