Tips, Activity Ideas, and Resources for Virtual Learning

As you make the transition to online teaching, here are some tips, activity ideas, and resources to support your virtual classroom:

  • Communicate to parents the supplies their children will need for at-home learning. Virtual Learning at home
  • Set up your digital classroom rules or at-home learning rules: send students home with the rules for online or at-home learning and communication with you and with each other. Asking questions will help guide learning as well: Where is your learning space? How much time do you need to complete each task?
  • Consider beginning each “digital day” with a Morning Message or Responsive Advisory Meeting Announcement. This direct communication from their teacher will help students stay connected to you and their classroom. You might email this to parents or post it to a shared school or classroom chat space. You might even consider adding your student’s individual names in your messages (a few each day) for a personal connection (for example, “Rosemary, I’m so glad you enjoyed yesterday’s reading!” or “Ben, I think you’ll enjoy showing your parents Bug in a Rug.”).
  • Keep kiddos moving! Link students to daily energizers and brain breaks with GoNoodle. You might suggest 2-3 each day. For younger students, a great idea is to have them teach their family or babysitter/nanny an activity from class, such a Bug in a Rug or Baby Shark.
  • To simulate interactive learning structures, consider using an online resource like Flipgrid. Our older students could navigate this on their own; younger ones will need parental help.
  • To maintain a sense of belonging, significance, and fun, have students do “daily check-ins” with each other. This might take the form of a discussion board on Google Classroom or a Google Doc where each student posts a response to a question with each classmate responding to two others. Questions can range from academic (What do you think is the most important part of the human brain?) to personal (Describe the perfect birthday cake.); just make sure the questions are open-ended to stimulate discussions! For younger students, these could be written or drawn as part of an at-home journal that students will bring to school when they return.
  • Daily reflections simulate closing circle, and research shows that reflection helps all learners retain information. Think about how you can have students reflect on learning with something as simple as Three Words, Picture This (a drawing of something from their day), or What Stuck With Me to facilitate reflection.
Here are some additional resources to consider:

All Grades 

Grades K-4

Grades 5-8 

 

Written by Emily Parrelli and Megan Florentine, Responsive Classroom Consulting Teachers
Tags: Engaging Academics, Transitions, Virtual Learning

12 Replies to “Tips, Activity Ideas, and Resources for Virtual Learning”

  • I really like the idea of adding a couple of students names into the morning message and the energizer and brain breaks.

  • Hello,
    I found your article very interesting, I wish I had found it when eLearning had first started!
    I really liked your ideas on how to get the students to collaborate and brainstorm together. I’ve been trying to keep my sense of community together by pairing up my students and asking them to communicate with each other a few times during the week.
    The resources you provided are great, I’ll have to share these with my colleagues!
    Thank you!

  • Emily and Megan,

    Thanks for sharing tips for making virtual learning meaningful during these difficult times. I liked your focus on social-emotional well-being and helping students maintain normalcy. It would have been nice to set up e-learning rules and guidelines in person as your article mentioned, but unfortunately that was not possible. However, most of what you shared is easily adaptable, which I appreciate. I think I will try your suggestion of having students check in with each other – thanks!

  • Hello,
    Thank you for providing resources during this difficult time. I think there are many great tools that are mentioned in this article, including Flipgrid and the use of virtual discussion boards. However, I would caution teachers from using an entirely new tech tool without giving time for students to practice before it is used for school content. I think daily reflections are also a great idea, and I plan to implement self-care prompts as daily reflections for my students!

  • Hi Emily and Megan!

    Thanks for sharing some resources to support teachers during this time. I work with students who have more significant disabilities, and I know that they miss their relationships with their friends and teachers at school. I have been doing a weekly check in with my students over zoom so that they can see their friends from class, but it has been challenging to come up with ways to incorporate learning activities during this time. I love the idea of using a daily check in where students can communicate and respond to each other. I can use the statements and conversations that occur over the daily check in as a way to promote discussion during my weekly Zoom meeting with my students.

  • Hello Emily and Megan,
    Thank you for shearing this article and strategies to support teachers during this pandemic. I like the structure and outline to your E-learning in providing expectations for students, how to communicate, how to complete assignments, and these are all things we would normally see right in front of us but without seeing the classroom, it is hard to envision doing some activities. I think this article will be very beneficial in the fall in understanding how to set up our classroom if we are still using remote learning. It gives teachers ideas to prepare for and how to keep students engaged even if we are at home.

  • Hi Emily and Megan,

    Thank you for sharing these tips and activities for at home learning. I wish I had seen these when we first started at home learning because it was a hard transition. My students were missing the sense of connection to their peers and teachers. I love the idea of having students do daily check-ins with each other. They are used to checking in with me but it would be nice for them to continue their peer interaction. Adding these daily check-ins next week will be a nice way to start wrapping up our school year.

  • Hi Emily and Megan,

    This was a great article to read right now! As most of us were thrown into virtual learning, it was difficult to navigate at first. These ideas are all simple and manageable for teachers to implement. The additional resources were super helpful as well! I especially loved the idea of having daily reflections. Not only will this help them retain information, but will also help with the self-care aspect! It is important to have those daily check-ins too. I know my students are missing connecting with their peers the most. As we head into the end of the year, these ideas will help keep virtual learning interesting and engaging for my students! Thank you!

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