Category: Remote Learning

Remote Learning A-Z

Remote Learning A-Z

26 tips for remote teaching
For 26 days, we will be bringing you tips, tricks, and freebies for remote teaching! Here is the list so far:

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Remote Learning A-Z: E is for Exploration

Remote Learning A-Z: E is for Exploration

In remote learning, a challenge is providing opportunities for student skill development and make it engaging at the same time. Our Online Explorations are open ended and visually appealing for students. For teachers, Online Explorations deliver formative assessment tasks that support you to differentiate learning.

Remote Learning A-Z: D is for Docs

Remote Learning A-Z: D is for Docs

With so many teachers using Google Classroom to deliver and receive assignments, we asked teacher extraordinaire Samantha Groess to create some how-to help on adding a Google Document assignment in Google Classroom.

Below is a step-by-step video tutorial, and a handy help doc to go with it. Enjoy!

Remote Learning A-Z: C is for Choose Your Own Adventure!

Remote Learning A-Z: C is for Choose Your Own Adventure!

Remember those books?  Or, did you see the Black Mirror episode? For a while now, Google Forms has had a feature that allows you to jump to a certain section based on student responses.  This is helpful for so many reasons, like being able to customize the answers you need in an assessment or only asking questions on a survey depending on the response. Think of it like a virtual flow chart.

With students in the driver’s seat, this feature can be used by kids to create Choose Your Own Adventure stories. We love this activity because there is a LOT of learning and critical thinking that goes on behind the scenes when you have students storyboard their path and then go through a revision process as they test their stories on each other. It’s the writing process in action!

Let me take you on a little tour of a sample story:

Everyone starts on the same part of the story, but you need to make a choice at the end. What would you choose?

Did you drink the bubble tea? Here’s where you go next!

Or, are you more of a rule follower? This is where you go instead.

I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, but you can take a look at the sample and see where you end up.

Ready to try your own? Here’s our handy help doc to walk you through. We hope you and your students have a lot of fun making these interactive stories!

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Remote Learning A-Z: B is for (More) Brains!

I said this before, and I’ll say it again: In a true collaborative task, the task itself cannot be completed without the thinking and work of everyone on the team. This was hard enough in the traditional classroom, but it’s even more difficult as a distance teacher and learner. In this post, I’ll show you one activity I loved using with kids and teachers, and how it’s been adapted for the remote world.

This activity, More Brains are Better, used the old teacher standby of sticky notes and paper. (Remember those good old days?) Kids were presented with a question or problem, and individually wrote their own answers on the notes. Then they got together with their groups and each post it note was put on the paper. Students shared their notes aloud, asked questions, and worked together to write a final solution or answer in the middle that represented everyone’s best ideas.

The paper for the traditional classroom looked something like this.

Now, the Remote Version!

We’ve adapted this resource for use in the remote classroom using Google Slides. Instead of students writing their thoughts on sticky notes, they create their own individual slide. Next, they paste their slide into the shared presentation of their group, present and discuss, and then work collaboratively (online) to create their final slide.

Get Yours Free!

While collaboration is still a huge challenge in the virtual world, it doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t try and find little ways for students to continue to work together. In the coming weeks we will showcase more of these resources to share with you!

This template is a freebie, available right now at Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Remote Learning A-Z: A is for Assessment

Remote Learning A-Z: A is for Assessment

All Kinds of Exit Tickets

Formative assessment is one of the most important things a teacher can utilize to collect real time learning data from students. Daily Exit Tickets: quick questions, problems, or reflections collected from students at the end of class or lesson provide a fast and easy window into student thinking. They help teachers decide who need extra support, who’s “got it,” and what to reteach in tomorrow’s lesson.

In the virtual world, formative assessment is yet another challenge for remote learners and educators. The things we used to learn by simply observing a student at work or collecting an index card isn’t so easy to do now.

Here is one more resource that can help! It’s a set of ten Tickets Out the Door (or Exit Tickets) that replace the paper we used to collect from kids at the end of a class or a lesson. There is a PDF of the paper ones for your reference, and for when you return to the traditional classroom environment. All these tickets are in Google Forms! Share the link with your students and (a bonus that couldn’t happen with paper tickets) you will have all their responses in a spreadsheet or summary to quickly figure out who got it and who didn’t.

We hope this makes your life a little easier!

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Collaboration Should Not Be Parallel Play

thoughts by audrey

Collaboration is all the rage these days.  If you have read the Common Core State Standards (as I have many, many, times) you can’t throw a rock without hitting a standard where students need to be able to work together.  Yet what we tend to see in classrooms – those activities where two kids complete the same paper, or the group projects where three kids sit together and watch the fourth kid (also known as, me)  do all the work – let’s just stop calling that collaboration.  Even tried and true teacher tricks like Think/Pair/Share and Turn & Talk, while great strategies for engagement and developing oral language, should not give us the confidence to check off that collaboration box if that’s where the buck stops.

So what is real collaboration, and why do we do it?  

First, the why.  I know it sounds crazy, but we don’t make kids collaborate just because Common Core says so.  We do it because it’s a skill they will need for all of eternity.  When you launch kids off into collaborative activities, it’s really because you want them to learn something from each other, and to see the inherent value that comes from working with people who think differently from them.  Isn’t it?    

 “In a true collaborative task, the task itself cannot be completed without the thinking and work of everyone on the team.”

So if that’s why we are doing it, what is collaboration?  In truly authentic collaboration, everyone plays a part.  This goes far beyond the jobs we are so fond of assigning to group projects.  Just because I’m the timekeeper does not make me a valuable member of the team.  If that were the case, you might as well give a participation grade to my smartphone.  In a true collaborative task, the task itself cannot be completed without the thinking and work of everyone on the team.  In true collaboration, the product you generate is better because you had more heads involved, not just many heads and hands working in parallel with each other.  Finally, in true collaboration, each one of your students should emerge from the task thinking differently than when they started.

But what about blended learning? There is no question that in the world of technological collaboration, Google is King. Don’t believe me?  Being ever the romantic, this is my very favorite video ever about the power of collaboration in Google Docs.   

Now that I’ve made my point, on to the essential question of this post:  How do we leverage those powers to their fullest potential? How do we also keep it real by using a few tools but using them well? Read on! Here are three of my very favorite collaboration activities using Google Suite:


Partner Venn Diagrams

When I was teaching, every first day of school, we did a Venn Diagram on how you are feeling – happy, excited, or both.  We actually did hundreds of Venn Diagrams throughout the year, as it’s such a great tool for comparing and contrasting, synthesizing, and analyzing.  
Using Google Drawing, students can insert images and text, as well as manipulate the diagram to suit their needs.  

SUPER TIP:  before you send the link, change “edit” to “copy” and it will force your kids to make a copy of what you’ve sent. 

Choose Your Own Adventure

Remember those books?  Or, did you see the Black Mirror episode? Google Forms has this amazing feature that allows you to jump to a certain section based on responses.  It’s not as easy as it sounds to create a CYA story, and there is a LOT of learning that goes on behind the scenes when you have students storyboard their path and then go through a revision process as they test their stories on each other.

Collaborative Newsletters

I know you know that feeling: every Sunday night…laboring over a newsletter for your families?  A few years in, I cottoned on to the fact that my kids should be writing (most of) my newsletter, not me!  But as we were pre-Google (I had an overhead projector, for goodness sake), every Friday I’d split the kids up into teams and have them write something about what we did.  Then on Sunday night, I’d still be typing all their little paragraphs into a newsletter.  

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