Jim Bentley (@Curiosity_Films) shared on Twitter a thread of his tips for Distance Learning. With his permission I have reposted them:

1st week #distancelearning done. Key takeaways:

1. Everything takes 3x longer.

2. Tech is not a silver bullet.

3. 1:5 = instructional min. : min. prep

4. Kids are more polite than adults w/tech snafus.

5. Use two screens.

6. Expect the unexpected.

7. Swear in your head.

8. 50:10 instructional minutes to brain breaks

9. Big publishers textbooks were crap in person and mega-crap online. [tweet]

10. @edpuzzle rules.

11. @Newsela rules.

12. @listenwiselearn rules.

13. @nearpod rules.

14. Google Classroom rules.

15. @pbsteachers rules.

16. Drink water.

17. Read picture books aloud any chance you get.

[tweet]18. Don’t try to teach like normal.

19. @Flipgrid rules.

20. Lunch/break routine: cameras on, mute, step away from the screen.

21. Sign into Zoom to run class.
Sign in on a second device.
Mute. No video.
Go to breakout rooms with students and keep an eye on the main session w/second device.
When kids start to look like they’re goofing around, rejoin main session and describe what you saw.

22. Use @Screencastify to either screen record or record yourself. It saves directly to school Google Drive w/unlimited storage.

23. Check out @gimkit. It has all the elements of so many online platforms for fun quizzing (Kahoot, Quizziz, etc.) and a LOT more.

24. Use @edublogs with your students. Create student blogs in your class and teach students how to become bloggers and use widgets as a digital portfolio. If they write on a Google Doc and embed in their blog, they can revise and it will update automatically.

25. At the end of the day…step away. Go outside. Leave the screen. Do something completely NOT related to school. I’m doing macro photography with ordinary things.

26. Connect doc cam to second device that is not in control of Zoom meeting. Run Zoom w/other device and maximize gallery to see all/most of your students.

27. Use 3rd device (phone/iPad) to run a @nearpod or @gimkit.

28. @ breaks: share screen w/countdown timer showing.

29. Find your inner TV personality/voice and talk to the green light on your main Zoom screen so you are LOOKING into your students’ eyes.

30. I start w/a daily discussion/write prompt from The Kids’ Book of Questions. Best. Book. EVER! Just write/talk. Don’t grade it. #fun

31. Use a Zoom virtual video background of…YOU! Here’s a @Screencastify tutorial on how to make a video background of you!

32. Get a comfortable pair of bluetooth, over-ear headphones w/built in mic. Wearing smaller headphones all day & my ears began to hurt & cords are a hassle. I’m loving the Jabrah 85h.

33. Check out @KQEDedspace#distancelearning resources.

34. Verbally cue students where to look on screen. “I want you to look at your Nearpod screen now.”

35. Limit chat so students can only message you for obvious reasons.

36. Ask a student to share their screen when using a platform. Teacher screens look different.

37. Communicate to students and parents the importance of finding a place where they can “professional sit” and not sprawl on a bed or couch. Laying on floor w/Chromebook can work. Sitting seems to communicate we’re serious about working.

38. Ask parents how much and in what manner they would like to receive communication from you. Districts can overwhelm parents w/comm’s. I get a text, call, email for my 3 daughters. It’s too much…

39. Smile. Laugh. Kids want to see a smiling happy teacher on their screen.

40. Do some fun things to get kids to know each other: 2-things 1-minute ->As grab two items and share why they’re important to them in 1-minute. Counts ->Go count all your door knobs both sides of door. ->Count light switches, garbage cans, recycle bins, lights, etc.

41. Introduce your students to http://Explore.org. It’s a great way to get out of the house virtually and watch line animal cameras from around the world.

42. Explore and use @ArcGISStoryMaps w/students for multimedia literacy/science experiences.

43. If you can’t take your students on a fieldtrip, go film what they would have seen if you had. This @ArcGISStoryMaps is NOT yet complete, but it shows the @CalWaste MRF where I would have liked take my class this year. I’ll build lessons w/this now.

44. While Zoom has a variety of symbols to push to communicate things: hand up, go slower, go faster, etc. Keep it simple with simple hand gestures. We used these in week 1 and will continue to do so.

45. Kids still need to go to the bathroom. A couple times a student disappeared or their camera went off, and I asked them to turn it back on. A couple times students apologized saying they had to use the restroom. Workaround: Private message me in Zoom you gotta go. Then go.

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