Simple strategies that work: a summary after four weeks of online teaching.
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
I have now completed four weeks of online teaching MYP and DP general music. Having spent hours searching for the "perfect" way to deliver the lessons and completing three online training sessions has created a significant amount of mental stress for me! I have decided to forget "the perfect" lesson and just focus on what the students really need at this particular time.
I am in the lucky position that all my students have a laptop. (We are a 1:1 school)
What worked best for me:
Logging into the meet with two different devices. On one, I have all students on "grid view" (Chrome extension) to read their body language. On the other device, I present. This works very well with a set up of your smartphone and your laptop.
Anticipating many questions students might have, has been useful. I have created several tutorials using quick time to explain the tasks. I did not spend much time on it - if there was a blooper, left it in there. I tried to copy my normal classroom routine as much as possible.
Here is a summary of what my middle school students think:
They really like having our lessons at their regular times. We always start with a google meet session. They appreciate that we spend a few minutes "socializing". They liked seeing my cat and appreciated some of my (very lame) jokes.
Having all instructions in one space, following on from the "real" classes was a huge help. My students are used to the combination of Managebac and Google Classroom.
At the beginning of each class, I talk through all the points they have to complete. They have it in writing and I physically click on all links and documents. For some reason, this reduced the anxiety of some students not understanding what they have to do.
The first task students do is film themselves explaining to me what they have to do. They use photobooth, which is already installed on their laptops. This is especially useful for ELA learners. They upload them on google classroom and I am able to watch them immediately, making sure they are all on the correct track.
Students then leave the "meet" session to work on their tasks. I, however, stay online. Students pop back in when they have a problem.
At the end of the assigned time (plus 2 hours in case of internet problems), students upload their work (completed or not!) on Managebac and I then give feedback.
To practice important keywords, we play Quizlet LIVE. It is not as much fun as in a real classroom but with using the chat function, the team members can help each other.
What works for your classes? I would love to hear from you in the comments!