The school year is in full swing and depending on how your area has been affected by the ongoing pandemic, that ‘swing’ may feel more like a roller coaster ride! With possible adjustments in learning environments from in-class to remote instruction, teachers should be prepared. This includes classroom management procedures and routines that should be easy to implement and follow. Managing a classroom virtually has its challenges such as lack of teacher’s physical presence for monitoring engagement, and limited view of facial expressions and body language to communicate thoughts and feelings but it is not impossible. At this point in the year, routines have been established to navigate the learning day. How can these procedures be adapted to remote instruction? Review the chart below.
|In-class Learning||Remote Learning|
|Minimise distractions by having students remove unneeded items from their desks and put away extra supplies, items not related to the lesson, phones, etc.||Identify possible distractions and give students one minute or less to remove them (toys, phones, food, etc.). Encourage students to find a quiet place where they can learn and focus. This may call for the student to have headphones, so they are not distracted by background noises.|
|Review behavioral expectations such as raised hands before sharing ideas, listening to others without interrupting, and taking turns. If you are facilitating an interactive lesson on your interactive panel using MimioConnect®, use the Eyes Up feature which blacks out the screens of student devices.||Before starting a lesson presentation, review expectations same as what is done in-class. Making sure all students are focused to begin can be a challenge. Decide on a signal such as both hands up to show the class is ready to listen. Eyes Up can also be used in the virtual classroom where it is harder to reduce distractions.|
|Encourage students to engage in discussions, whether small group or whole class. If students hesitate to share ideas, use numbered craft sticks or student names on cards to randomly select speakers. MimioConnect also has a Random Pick feature that selects students from a class list.||Student engagement expectations are the same in a virtual classroom but taking turns and seeing raised hands may be a bit more challenging. Review and model proper eye contact using a webcam. Use the Random Pick feature to boost participation and ensure focus. Students will know to be ready with a comment for live sessions.|
|Create interactive learning experiences to keep students engaged and motivated to stay focused. This can mean hands-on activities, small group work, annotating on a front-of-class display, or screen mirroring what is on their device for the class. Walk around and observe students as they work to informally assess their understanding of the material. (Following all health and safety protocols, of course!)||There are more opportunities for class collaboration in a virtual classroom, such as polling, shared annotation, and interactive activities such as categorising and sorting tasks, and video which can all be done with MimioConnect. Like in-person engagement, teachers and students can get immediate feedback on questions asked via polling which can help shape how the lesson proceeds.|
|Give positive praise and feedback freely. Feedback should be specific and recognise the behaviors that helped the lesson move smoothly. Answer questions, as needed. Consistently reassure students who are not as comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in front of others. The classroom should be a safe place where every student can share ideas without worry.||Besides verbally commending positive behaviors, private messaging also helps to encourage students who aren’t very vocal or who are building their confidence with being on camera. Unlike hiding in the back of the class, cameras are on and hiding is near impossible. MimioConnect’s private messaging feature is also helpful when students have questions that they aren’t comfortable asking aloud.|
From time to time, revisit the procedures and class norms to identify where change is needed. Emphasise respect for others’ efforts and by engaging in lessons, the possibility of learning a new idea from a classmate is increased. As much as possible, put on your ‘positive face’ and smile. This is a unique time in our history and our students are trying to deal with it in different ways. By your positive presence, they are encouraged and set at ease – both in-class and remotely.
To learn more about the MimioConnect blended learning platform, go to global.boxlight.com.