By Julie Diamond
This school year, many teachers have been adjusting to teaching online with students they have never met in person and many who have had little to no experience learning online. To create meaningful learning experiences, every educator knows the importance of building relationships and trust with their students before any meaningful learning can take place. But how do you do that online? Here are some ideas we have:
1. Start Later: Use the first couple of minutes online to let your student settle in, get organized and ready. With short sessions, time is important but taking these few minutes can help ease your student into the session, disarm them and get comfortable with you and this new way of learning.
2. Create a To-Do List: Show your student a To-Do list template and review what you are going to do together. Depending on your student, you may want to create this together completely and/or have it created and get their input on a thing or two. Don’t forget to add the mini breaks and fun activities. This To-Do list will help your student feel in control of their learning by checking off things as you go through the sessions. It will also do wonders for their attention knowing when their next break/fun activity is!
3. Warm-Up Exercise: Begin with an activity like a journal entry, mood metre or fun get-to-know-you game that gets your student involved. Once you grab their attention, they are more likely to stay engaged.
4. Use the Chat Box: To keep the flow of the sessions, ask your student to write any questions they have in the chat box. That way you can finish your thought and then review their question(s).
5. Give Your Student Control: Encourage your student to be the teacher. Have them prepare a presentation, lead the guided reading, create a math question for you to solve, etc. These activities push them out of their comfort zone and empowers them to believe in themselves. With all the anxiety and stress this school year, they need the confidence building and support from you now more than ever.
Did we miss something? What do you do online with your students to empower them and create meaningful learning experiences? Comment below!
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Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant/social media co-ordinator at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.
Fun Fact: Her and Julie (see above) are also sisters :)