7 Ways To Support Students Working At Home

by | May 5, 2020 | Distance Learning, Educational Resources, Teaching Resources | 0 comments

In a very short amount of time, COVID-19 has changed the way we educate students. 

With the novelty of E-Learning quickly wearing off, how do we help our students while we teach them from home?

7 Ways To Support Students Working At Home

Show Your Face

If you’re like me, you’ve grown to enjoy the days of sweats, glasses, and a fresh face. However, your students miss seeing you! They miss the little interactions they had with you before and after class, in the hallways, and at car line. They miss YOU. 

Let your students see your face or hear your voice every day. You can do this in a lot of different ways, some easy ones are:

  • Voice recordings of “morning announcements”
  • Video recording of a read-aloud
  • A photo of you on your homepage that you change daily
  • Video recordings of you teaching live

Doing these small things will help your students feel more comfortable with their situation. This is a great time to let your students see YOU. Do you have pets? Include them in the photos. Do you enjoy dressing up for different units? Keep doing it!

Individual Interaction

Making phone calls to every student every day is a daunting task. But you should try to make contact with each of your students individually each week. 

These individual contacts don’t have to be phone calls each time. You can message each of your students through your Google Classroom or county designated student portal. Text messages can also be a great way to reach students, too.

Remember, they are even more thrown off by this as you are and could use some sort of routine with you. 

Tip 1: Some parents and students have been overwhelmed by phone calls and emails – especially if they have multiple children and multiple teachers. If you team teach or teach secondary, consider dividing students among you. For example, on a 5th grade team, each teacher could contact their home room only. If everyone wants to reach out and not divide lists, trade lists each week. Doing that keeps the phone calls from overwhelming both students and teachers.

Tip 2: If you have 30 students, try calling 10 each day. The last two days of the week, try calling the kids you didn’t connect with on your first attempt.

Be as Present as Possible

Realizing that you cannot physically be in a classroom with students, be sure to create some “office hours” for your students to connect with you. They may have a question on the material or maybe they just want to talk to you. Give them the time they need. 

If allowed, you can schedule your students at different times of the day so you don’t get overwhelmed with too many students at once. When I was a virtual teacher, we used an appointment scheduler that allowed us to set hours that were best for our day, and students picked a time that worked for them.

Don’t Expect the World

I’m not saying to lower the standards you have. But I do think we need to consider just how different our students’ worlds look like right now and take that into consideration. Also, it isn’t healthy for students (or teachers) to be expected to sit on the computer to work for hours at a time. Teachers need to take all of this into consideration before we expect students to give the same amount of attention and dedication as they gave in the classroom. (Hopefully your district does, too.)

Remember, these students may have parents who are essential employees and working while their kids are “in school”. Your students also have parents who are not working right now, which leads to various scenarios. Even worse, students may have loved ones who have the virus.

Staying at home for school might be really fun for some students. But it might be the worst thing for others. Give students grace in this time.

Give Students Work That Won’t Require Sitting With a Screen

With students and teachers alike working from home, people are sitting still and looking at screens more than ever before. 

With this in mind, think of other ways you can engage your students that won’t require sitting still and looking at a screen. Here are just a few I found:

  • Send students on a scavenger hunt around their home and yard, taking pictures of whatever you asked them to find (shapes, colors, words).
  • Have students video or phone interview a family member or neighbor about a particular topic.
  • Have students record themselves reading aloud.
  • Ask students to draw a picture that represents what they have learned, label it, and upload a photo to their classroom.
  • Consider assigning a relevant podcast to students. (There are some that are geared toward students. Assigning an episode allows you to prescreen it for appropriateness.)

Assign Group Work

Help your students connect with each other by giving them group assignments. Don’t make it anything too hard to figure out virtually, but something that will help them feel connected.

Genius Hour

Genius hour is student-directed learning. Give your students a range of topics to choose from and let them run with it for a designated time. Then, have a day for all students to show the class what they’ve learned through some sort of presentation.

These are unprecedented times, with things simultaneously rapidly shifting and not changing at all. In the middle of all the chaos, teachers are trying their best to engage students while they learn at home. 

I hope that these ideas can help you connect with students.

What are you doing to connect with students? I would love to hear other ideas. Let me know by commenting on this post.

Looking For Resources To Use With Your Students? Find Them Here!

Over twenty plus years, my educational career has spanned four continents and two states, as well as eight grade levels!

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