Tips and Tricks for Educators in Our New Normal

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” By Margaret Fuller

Over the last several months I have been supporting teachers and educators around our new normal no matter if they are going back to school with social distancing in place or if they are doing distance learning. I have been so impressed with all the ideas that educators are doing that I wanted to find a way to share some of the ideas I have seen on Twitter and/or seen through supporting teachers. Below you will see amazing ideas educators are doing in their classrooms and to help parents. #bettertogether

  1. Organize Recorded Lessons: Beatrice Gonzelez has a great quick video to share a simple way to organize your recorded lessons to make them easily accessible to students! Here are some templates for Calendar and Emoji keyboard video.
  2. Guess Who: I love the idea that came from Amanda Sandoval. She created a guess who google slide template where you can add different historical figures or characters for students to guess by asking strategic questions (not just about appearance but students can ask things such as “a protagonist, whose name is the Spanish word for “hope.”” – the guess would be Esperanza- from Esperanza Rising.) Make a copy of her template here so you can integrate this into your classroom.
  3. Levels of Understanding: Esther Park provide lots of great free templates but one of my recent favorite is her Level of Understanding template as a quick way to get a pulse check, have an informal assessment and provide student time to reflect! To check out other great templates by Esther click here.
  4. Tech Tips: Jamie Forshey has a great Tech-Knowledge-y Rocks newsletter that comes out with so many great tips/tricks for educators. If you are not following her or getting her newsletter you need to! Check out her latest newsletter here with lots of templates for Google Jamboard and slides!
  5. Music: Use music as a way to transition from mini-lesson to guided or independent practice and/or provide reflection time when teaching asynchronous. My favorite music to use is Vitamin String Quartet (VSQ) as they perform hit songs with no words!

Tips/Tricks educators share with parents that have helped:

  1. Red, Yellow, Green Cards: As students are working they put a green, yellow or red card up to indicate that they are doing good, might need some help or they need help. This does a few things to help make learning from home easier. One it helps the parent know when to help their child and two it helps the students try to work through something. A “rule” is you can not move from green to red. When on yellow you have to try two things to solve what ever problem they are having. Then before the parent provides guidance the student/child need to share what they did to try to get “unstuck”. This allows students to have productive struggle and allows parents to not always “jump” in to help.
  2. Set Timers: Setting times for students to help them indicate that class is starting in 10 mins allows students to get all their materials they need to be ready for the lesson and mentally helps them to start preparing for a live lesson.
  3. FAQ: Create an FAQ for parents to refer to it and see the answers and or links. Making it a Google document helps create a one stop shop for parents to refer too. In addition to this you can also share a weekly tip or trick for parents too. This helps build a we verse my classroom.

As a final thought I want to give a Huge SHOUT OUT to all the Teachers, Administrators and Central Office Educators who are working SO HARD! Thank you for all you do for our students! I see you!

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