Prepping for Next School Year

What’s next? This fall we are heading into the unknown. Educators around the world have jumped into action this spring to change how they teach and support their kids, but we do not know what exactly is going to happen when we head back to school. This week, I have put together some websites and ideas that will hopefully be useful moving forward. Also, you have a little time left to test out these sites to see how they will work for you.

Idea #1: Live Streaming

At some point you will probably have some students in your room while others are working from home or some how have to video your lessons. We have talked about Screencastify before, as well as Google Meet, which currently have many options. Another site that you are able to video from is Screencast-o-matic. It works similarly to Screencastify but also allows you to save to YouTube and trim your videos. In the free version, you do need to be aware of time limits. Having a way to video lessons will definitely be useful moving forward.

Idea #2: Whiteboard Applications

We have talked about whiteboards before with our most recent math episode, but they have really become instrumental in getting your point across during distance learning. A few Google tools that are always at your fingertips are Google Drawing and Jamboard. Many teachers are able to use these and share them with their students. Another site that is helpful is Whiteboard Fox. This graph paper whiteboard is simple to use and does not take a large learning curve. You can open it up and draw right away. The last whiteboard site is Notebook Cast. When working in Notebook Cast, you have a variety of paper options as well as a shareable link so others can join you. It is great for kids to be able work with you while they are watching you in something like a Google Meet with screen sharing on.

Idea #3: Virtual Classrooms

Creating a virtual classroom gives kids a sense of who you are. They learn more about your personality and feel more connected and they are SO much fun to make! There are many ways to create a classroom but one tool you need is a background remover. Then you are able to use pictures of your actual classroom or from other places without having the extra pieces that you don’t need. Remove.bg is a very easy to use background remover. You can just upload your picture and click a button. It also allows you to erase extra things that may show up in your image. Have fun creating and linking resources for your students!

Idea #4: Community Building

Creating a strong sense of community in your classroom is important at the start of any school year but if you have to do it virtually, it’s even more important. The big question is how do you create community if everyone is in different place? It is always great to get to know your students interests and a quick way to do that is having students create picture collages. The can created based on their favorite things or coming up with a theme and see how they can connect a picture. We have talked about several photo related sites before like Canva and Adobe Spark. Another site that you can create in is called fotor.com. It has all kinds of collage options and is easy to share. Another idea is to create a “white board Friday” where students use a whiteboard (like one of the examples from above) and they draw and create a diagram while they talk about a topic of interest. It is a great way for students to learn from one another and to show their personality.

TECH MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

While we don’t know exactly what will happen next year, we do know that we will have another awesome group of kiddos. They will have a whole new set of needs and are joining us in the unknown. Try out a few of these sites and see if they might work for you and if you create a virtual classroom, I would love to see it!

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