The Wild West of Distance Learning

These are my top 3 Middle School Distance Learning Tips after my first week in the Wild West!

I have added a new hat to my collection of teaching hats.  Introducing my Distance Learning Wrangler hat!

It's been a wild first week, but I have learned a lot:

1.  Less is more

We have been instructed to have 2 lessons per week with assignments that last no more than 30 minutes per day.

Some teachers are filling each of their 30 minutes per day.  I am taking a less is more approach.  I have posted 2 videos with a matching worksheet and one small 10 question "quiz".  Students have 7 days to complete them. As a result, I have had 100% participation and completion!

It's the less stress approach for me, my students and my students' parents.  I have even been thanked for it.

2.  Give everyone a little grace.

This is new for all of us.  We will make mistakes.  Some things will work great and others....well, not so well.  It's trial and error here in the Wild West and that's ok.

We will need time away from "school".  We cannot be on the computer for all the hours.  Make sure you take time away.  I have honestly found being on the computer all day is actually very tiring!  All.those.emails.

When giving that grace, we all need encouragement.  I made these little digital "postcards" to send to my students:

Free Verbal Encouragement Postcards to give your Middle School students some inspiration during distance learning!

They're available in my Resource Library!

3.  Think outside the box

My principal actually told us there is no box.  He wants us to try new things.  Think of new ways to deliver instruction.  So I have been thinking...

The first issue is that there is too much "out there" to look at and explore.  What we all need is a simple plan:

1.  What do we want the students to learn?
2.  How can we deliver the lesson?
3.  How will we know if the students are learning it?

NOW we can plug in the new digital tools and have FUN with it!  Yee Haw!  Some of the digital tools I am currently tinkering with are Nearpod, Flipgrid, and Padlet.  I already use Quizlet for vocabulary and Quizizz for review.  

But then again, Less is More - which is why I have focused on making videos to deliver my instruction.  Live lessons are fun, but students have too many to keep track of.  After the lesson, I include a notes or activity page (maybe I'll insert some new cool digital tool here) and a short Google quiz.  Requirements met!

Did you know you can record your voice in a PowerPoint presentation?  Click Slide Show then Record Slide Show.  When you're done recording, save the file as an mp4.  That's a video file!  Now you can upload your video to your LMS (Learning Management System) like Google Classroom or Canvas or even YouTube (if you want to impress your cowpokes).

I have been busy making these videos for my students and have converted many of my paper-based lessons into digital:

Easy to implement distance learning reading lessons for Middle School!

These lessons are ready to go with links that can be shared in any Learning Management System like Google Classroom or Canvas.  Click here to see the bundle which will show you all the individual lessons.

You can also check out my public YouTube playlist of videos that I use as introductions to many of my lessons by clicking here.  

I hope some of my experiences help you with your own Wild West Adventure.  Follow me on Instagram for more of my wrangling!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

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