Before Ohio shut down the schools on March 16th, I was able to spend quality time with my two adorable twin nieces, Maysen and Alexis Jahnke. Maysen and Alexis are Freshman at Chardon High School, and like many students, they love everything about school. They were on the flag team, debate team, track, lacrosse, and much more. School is not only a place to learn but also a place to socialize, interact, and be around people their age.
When they found out that school was going to be closed, they went through a rollercoaster of emotions. At first, Maysen and Alexis were excited and treated the first week off of school like one big giant snow day. Late-night FaceTime with friends, TicTok video creations, some homework, but mostly enjoying sleeping in. The second week came around, and they were seriously missing all of their friends, teachers, sports, and a routine. Week three is coming to an end, and the girls are now adjusting to the new normal of completing schoolwork at home, dealing with their brother, Thomas, all day, and their mom and dad requesting quiet hours so they can conduct work Zoom meetings.
The New Normal
The new normal and staying connected with students is extremely important. Humans are social beings. We live in communities, gather together, share common passions, and thrive in learning from each other. As educators, we need to make sure that we are still connecting in some way with our students. I have generated a list of five ways to connect with students during the time of quarantine. I challenge you to try one this week to see if you can connect with your students or staff members.
Five Ways To Connect With Students
Zoom.us is a fantastic tool to conduct virtual social gathers while being in quarantine. Zoom is a free online program and is easy to use with student, parents, and family members. Watch the quick video on how to get started with Zoom.
Set up a FREE Flipgrid.com account and send out simple but fun prompts to the students via Google Classroom or email. The students will love making the videos as well as seeing their classmates videos. Creating and sharing videos is an asynchronous event so the students can complete and watch when their schedule allows.
3. Google Slides
Think about using Google Slides as a show and tell activity. Use the Google Slide template or make your own template. Share out the link to the students. Make sure the setting are set up so that way everyone can edit. Note: you may want to set up the slides with numbers and ask the students to use their school magic number for their slides. Watch the video below as well as click on they image to get your free copy of the Google Get To Know Me from Quarantine.
Create a private classroom backchannel for the student to talk, share, post, and comment to each other with www.yoteachapp.com. Watch the quick video on how to set up your backchannel as well as how to share out yoteachapp.com to the students.
5. Send a Post Card
For those students that might not have internet connection, think about sending a letter or a postcard to the students. Write a quick little message about how things are going with you at home with the kids, pets, and family. Then ask how they are doing and that you would love to hear back from them. If you would like, send a pre stamped envelope with your address along with your letter so that way the kids can write you back. Try it! See if you can get all of your students to respond to you through the US Mail.
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning coach that designed the Three Phases of Blended Learning