Teachers, you are AMAZING. Last March, the idea of distance learning in kindergarten seemed impossible. And yet, many of you made it work literally overnight. Because we’re teachers and that’s what we do.
Many of you are now getting ready to start the year virtually. Some of you are starting kindergarten in person but preparing to go remote at some point. Either way, I thought it would be helpful to put together this list of distance learning tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Tip #1: Spend Time Going Over Procedures
This seems so obvious, but it can be easy to overlook when we are virtual. If possible, try to dedicate the first week of distance learning to getting students used to being virtual.
This is a great time to get students used to whatever platform you are going to be using for virtual learning. You can do this with non-academic activities that teach students how to use the platform.
For example, my digital centers for Google Slides™ and Seesaw™ have digital practice centers designed to help students learn to use these tools. My Boom Card centers also have a drag and drop practice included to teach students what is expected.
You can also assign fun things like a video of you doing a read aloud or YouTube dance videos. Activities like Count Around the House and Write Around the House would also be fun (see how you can easily make these digital here).
You can also practice using visuals in a fun way:
Tip #2: Use Visuals
I have talked before about how important visuals are in the classroom, but they are even MORE important when doing a virtual meeting!
Just print these visuals and attach to popsicle sticks. You can hold them up each time you give a direction.
As you are practicing procedures the first week of school, you can use your Zoom meetings to practice using these visuals! Who doesn’t love Simon Says? You can play a version of Simon Says where you hold up a visual and say, “Simon Says mute yourself.”
Grab the free distance learning visuals here.
Tip #3: Make It As Interactive As Possible
When you have virtual meetings, try to break up the time as much as possible. Kindergartners have a short attention span in general, but it’s even shorter when sitting in front of a screen!
Some ideas for your virtual meetings:
???? Read alouds
???? Directed drawings
???? Scavenger hunts
???? Exercise and count
It’s also important to make the independent activities that you assign to students as interactive as possible. My digital centers are a great way to do that!
Tip #4: Limit The Number of Platforms You Use
Your district may require you to use a certain platform for distance learning. Either way, you will want to limit the number of platforms and websites you send parents to. The more you have, the more confused they will be!
Still, you will most likely have to use a few different websites. If you do, consider sending families a page with all of their log in information in one place.
There are some great options on TpT.
Tip #5: Record Yourself
No, you don’t need a ring light to record yourself! But videos are a great way to let students see you without you having to actually be there.
I do record some of my actual lessons, but that will depend on what your district tells you. Even if you don’t record your actual lessons, you can still record yourself doing the morning message or reading a story or doing a directed drawing.
This is especially important if your district opts to do paper packets instead of virtual, because it will help your students connect with you.
Tip #6: Have a Consistent Daily Schedule
Just like in the physical classroom, your students thrive on routine. Having a set daily schedule can help keep them in a routine. It will also help parents know what they are supposed to be working on each day:
I like to post this for families each morning. You might also choose to post the night before so families can prepare. Your district may tell you when you have to post your assignments for the week. Even if they do, you can still send this schedule daily.
You can grab the editable PowerPoint version of this schedule here.
Do you have any other distance learning tips? Leave them in the comments below!