As school closures continue across the country, we know teachers are searching for the best ways to support their students’ ongoing learning from home.
We spoke with Jennifer Meliton, a principal at Elizabeth Forward School District, to find out how she’s been utilizing online learning to benefit her students. Here are Jennifer’s top 6 suggestions for how educators can implement successful distance learning plans, transition to working remotely, and stay connected with the community.
#1: Keep eSparking from Home!
Using eSpark at home has been awesome, and our kids are engaged K-5. It’s helpful that we can see anyone who has not logged in, so that we can check in on them.
#2: Utilize a Learning Management System
Having a learning management system has been paramount for our distance learning strategy. Teachers are putting their work out one day at a time. [This includes] videos, assignments, pages from text, and a conference feature where they video conference with the kids. Some teachers also send a daily email. Here is an example:
#3: Use Google Hangouts with Your Team
I’ve been using Google Hangouts a few ways. Our Admin team has a Hangout at least once a day, allowing us face-to-face time to debrief and update. Just seeing each other’s faces is a boost for us! We get to see pets, kids, and spouses - we feel human just by being able to have this chat time. People are kind of reserved at first, but once they get used to the format, they really open up.
#4: Video Conference with Students
Most of our teachers have had video conferences with the kids, either as a group or 1:1. Our speech teachers are running groups, SPED teachers are doing 1:1, and we can talk to parents that way, too.
#5: Call Parents to Check In
Most parents have my cell number, but teachers who are reluctant to call from their personal cell can use *67 to block their number. Power School allows us to call, text, or email parents, so I have been doing a lot of that. Today, I called to have people without Wifi check in with us - we want to be sure every family has access to the internet.
#6: Keep Up with Social Media
We are huge social media users, especially Twitter. I have live story time every night around 7 PM, where I read a story and let people vote on a story for the next day. It’s been a huge hit! We also check in on our local Facebook groups to see if there are questions or concerns. People really feel connected, because there is a way for literally everyone to reach out to us.