We’ve all gone through a major shift in the past few weeks. Our entire school community is figuring out new ways to learn, teach, parent, and entertain ourselves within novel constraints, while we also figure out a balance between school and family time that works for everyone at home.
Thankfully for teachers, there are a ton of electronic tools available, and many sites and programs are accessible for free during closures. Teachers have been spending a lot of time exploring online resources, reimagining and reworking their curriculum, and delivering instruction and learning activities in new ways.
The other day, I had a Zoom class with my 4th graders and we reviewed some vocabulary with the Google Slides Pear Deck add-on. Students had already learned and practiced the terms using one of my favorite online tools that we’ve used at school for a long time, Quizlet, and we came together (virtually) so that students could interact with each other and me while playing a fun review game. (A fun feature of Zoom is being able to add a virtual background, so I taught from the Terrasse Dufferin in Québec!)
During the activity, students saw a vocabulary term on their screen and had to draw what it was (I asked for their best 10-second stick figure drawing). We then looked through the pictures together while I gave them more comprehensible input in French. It was a great way to review the terms and giggle together when looking at fun drawings. We ended our class by listing our favorite activities in order of preference and saying what our most favorite activity is.
I’m thankful for all of the online tools we have (both old, new, and new to me) and for the willingness of students and parents to try out new things as we work through this challenging situation together.