Start using Google Classroom for Remote Learning

After this week of talking with many many teachers and of course seeing how my own 5 kids schools handle this crisis I have observed many many different things schools are doing for remote learning. What is the right way to do this? SMALL! You can not throw students, parents, teachers, and the community online and expect it to be awesome. We are all surviving!

Do Less

“I’m deliberately only sending my students small tasks that they are already used to doing from the classroom. I just want them to still feel connected and not overwhelmed. ” – @jenroberts1

Many teachers have told me they are not allowed to grade anything. Some are only allowed to provide enrichment activities. One district has a rule for each teacher of

No more than 90 minutes of work FOR THE WEEK.

This mom on Twitter went off on a rant about the stress of remote learning as a parent and it was only DAY 2!!

Parents are not equipped for this any more than we are. This article “Am I Expected to Home-School My Kid Right Now?” has a litany of resources and advice for parents. However, many of the resources are great for you to know also.

Step 1) Get the Students Into Google Classroom

This is a big accomplishment all by itself. If you were already using Google Classroom and your students are used to logging in, great! You are steps ahead. However, how they do this for remote learning is still a huge learning curve.

2) Take Attendance

Create a class. Click on the Classwork tab. Click on the Create button. Choose “Question.” Ask the students to check in for the day. Switch from “Short answer” to “Multiple Choice.”

Remember, patience and grace during this period. There are a lot of reasons kids can not log in each day. I have 5 kids, we do not have a computer per child. Like many parents, I have to work from home and am limited in how much support I am able to provide my kids. Many kids are taking care of their siblings. The whole Internet is broken right now. Every single product I am using is experiencing some level of glitching. Which is to be expected when the entire globe suddenly is doing all their work and learning online.

3) Connect

The most important things kids need right now is some interactions and support. Diving deep into curriculum isn’t helpful. Do not make tutorial videos, thousands of those already exist. Instead, find ways to connect with students. Use the Stream of Google Classroom for social space. Yes, students will act immaturely. This only proves the need to teach them, not the need to block them. Encourage them to draw something and share the picture to the Stream. Upload an APPROPRIATE selfie to the Stream.

Record a short video of you saying hello. Share about your dog. Get used to interacting on the platform before you worry about math facts.

Use Flipgrid

Flipgrid is video how students do video. Instead of managing piles of digital paperwork ask students to record their thoughts on a concept in Flipgrid. Flipgrid is 100% free.

Password is Remotelearningishard

I have created a sample Flipgrid.

4) Use the Private Comments

Hands down Private Comments in Google Classroom are the best part. EVERY Assignment has a Private Comment by default. In the instructions portion indicate to students to “Answer in the Private Comments.” This is not a comment, it is a conversation. You can reply back. Ask students to “Mark as Done.”

Consider, students learn all of the time and informal learning is the best learning. Create an assignment that asks students to tell you about what they learned. My 7 year old this week watched YouTube videos on how to draw and was copying the techniques. Students can describe this in the Private Comments and attach photos or video if they wish.

Google Classroom student view of an assignment to respond in the private comments, mark as done and add evidence
Download this image to attach to assignments in Google Classroom to help students know how to use Private Comments and Mark as Done.

5) Share to Classroom

Spend your time connecting with students and interacting instead of creating material. TONS of stuff already exists and it’s engaging! If you’ve ever played Kahoot! in the classroom, then you know how exciting it is. Kahoot! can be used in distance learning.

Use one of these (and others) pre-made activities that have a “Share to Classroom” button to make it wicked easy to assign to your students.

Go Slow Online Workshops

Join one of my Go Slow Online Workshops. The format is slow release over 6 weeks where we INTERACT! One of the best things you can do to learn Google Classroom is to experience it as a student. Go Slow Workshops take place in Google Classroom and provide opportunities for you practice, receive directions how to do it yourself, and try it with your students.

All teachers at your site can access all of the online workshops with a site license. $300 for a limited time. Email info@alicekeeler.com

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