by Diana Parafiniuk, founder of E-Therapy
Online learning can turn into a monotonous activity for students and teachers. As teletherapists, we know that keeping your students’ attention during online classes is not an easy task. Many students enthusiastic about being online for all their classes has waned, and at this point, they would much rather be in the classroom. We can feel their pain (and yours!). Here are 5 tested ways to break the monotony of online learning while promoting collaboration and growth during your remote classes. If you adopt some of these ideas, you will notice that your students are happier and more engaged!
1. Collaborate with other classrooms
Know another teacher in your school district or another district? Plan to meet online with your classes to do a joint lesson! Pair up students in groups of 2 or 4 and use zoom waiting rooms. The students that are in the small rooms work together to complete their lesson, assignment, or even a get-to-know-you session.
Incorporating these fun days into your online classroom will help students to become engaged and meet other students/friends through safe practices. There are many lesson plans you can use to incorporate into these sessions. And your students could make new friends virtually anywhere.
2. Use online growth charts
Have each student create their own online growth charts with the standards that you set. You can use a variety of platforms to complete this lesson- such as a standard chart you find online, creating one through PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Google Classroom. Students can add images of themselves and use their favorite colors to create a growth chart that they are excited about. Digital stickers and other digital awards can be found from We AreTeachers.
3. Use STEM/STEAM in your online classroom
In school STEM/STEAM lessons often require students to collaborate and build things with their hands. What a great way to break the monotony of just being in an online classroom. Student lessons can be prepared and picked up ahead of time and they can even include family members. Try pairing students so they can research and collaborate to complete the lesson. Sstudents enjoy the active, social aspect of the lesson while developing their critical thinking skills. It’s also fun for you to teach a virtual STEM lesson to your students.
Here are some online STEM activities to get you started.
4. Prepare micro-lessons for small groups
Mix up your week-to-week lessons by making plans for smaller group work. Interaction is key to breaking the monotony of online learning and keeping students engaged. You can mix up the classroom to create student groups that don’t normally interact with each other. These micro-lessons let students co-create and use peer interaction to engage and not get bored by watching a zoom lesson. Create small mini-lessons that require students to use a mix of learning techniques such as video, games, audio, and presentations. You can also do a fun peer review at the end where everyone gets a chance to vote for the favorite project that was created.
Find plenty of lesson plans designed for small groups at all grade levels on Teachers Pay Teachers.
5. Mix it up with pop-up sessions!
Mix it up with polls, dancing, movement, and mindfulness! Incorporate some fun interactive polls into your lesson that your students can answer with virtual stickers, emojis, and thumbs up or thumbs down emoticons. Once the polls are done you can talk to your kids about their answers and even reward the class for the correct answers.
Another fun way to keep students active is to have either a dance party or a stretch session. You can do this by acting like it is a pop-quiz time and instead play some fun music or do some stretching. There are many different ways to keep your students engaged by doing these fun interactive pop-up sessions that incorporate movement, playfulness, and learning. Here’s one of our favorites for the littles:
We hope you like our ideas and inspiration for classroom collaboration. We know your students will enjoy a little break from the monotony of sitting through another virtual class. Who doesn’t want to have a little fun throughout the day?
Need more activities, games and resources?
Every month, our teletherapists share great websites, games, and activities that they use with their students. These are useful for regular classroom teachers too, so be sure to share with your colleagues at school. Visit Teletherapy Activities on the E-Therapy blog.