School is starting and you are preparing to be a Virtual Teacher. Who would have thought? Have you picked a platform. Are you Google Meets, Zoom or Team Microsoft? I am a Google Girl in a Mac World. Making the two mesh has been quite easy for me.
If you haven't read my previous post Preparing to Teaching for Distance Learning, you might want to start there first.
Get a Google Voice Phone Number
Google Voice phone numbers are free and easy to set up. This allows you to call and receive calls from parents without having to give out your personal phone number. Google Voice is easy to use. I have the app on my cell phone along with all my other Google Apps in a folder. On your computer, go to voice.google.com
Write a welcome note to families and include it in their Go Home Bags or push it out via email. In it be sure to include your office hours.
Your school might set your office hours for you. Stick to those whenever possible of course there might be parents that may need to talk to you or you them and those time just won't work. When this occurs, use your discretion. You don't want to make it a habit to always have that one parent who calls you every morning at 7:00 AM because they saw the email but didn't want to read it.- no lie- it really does happen.
Before School Starts
Reach out to your students, via phone call, email or if possible a meet and greet. Another option is to do a Virtual Meet and Greet. This is what I will be doing. On the day students pick up their technology and supplies, I will have a sign-up form for families to select a time for our Virtual Meet and Greet.
The time slots are scheduled for every 15 minutes and will take place inside our Google Classroom.
I will be sending my students home with a Distance Learning Binder. Inside will be daily activities that we will either complete together while we are learning on-line or that I will assign to them.
I will also be sending the following
- glue stick
- sight word list
- dry erase marker
- log-in information
- my contact information along with my office hours
Before the first day I will make sure I have every family signed up for a meeting, or as many as possible. When meeting with each family be sure to be excited talk to the child and make the parent feel welcomed to the school. If you think you will need interpreters. Try to schedule those ahead of time as well. You might do a block schedule for translation times so your translator can just stay on with you.
Your First Day or Teaching
- Sign-on Early
- Welcome each child as they join
- Help with tech difficulties-microphone, video
- Start with a story of song
Once everyone is on it is a good time go over your expectations. I have a social stories in Google Slides that I will be using to demonstrate what is appropriate and not appropriate.
On your first day remember your students will not have had too much experience being in school, much less online learning if any at all. Don't expect them to be able to pay attention. I would plan to keep your lessons short the first week.
Think of some fun activities you can do with them to keep them engaged throughout the class. Let them know there will be something fun that you will do at the end of class. Maybe do a GoNoodle or Scavenger hunt, my class really liked both of these last year.
at the end, have students wave goodbye- let them know you will see them all tomorrow- or whenever it is you will see them next. Remind parents of your office hours and how they can contact you.
Wait for all students to sign out before you leave. There will be parents who do not know how to exit. You will need to explain.
I hope you found these tips and suggestions helpful. You can find the items referenced above in my TpT store.
Distance Learning Binder First Day of School
Includeds Google Slides Activities, Post cards, Schedule Templates, Meet the Teacher Slide Decks and More...
Distance Learning Binder
Perfect for Distance Learning or Hybrid models
Covers the basic academic skills.