Digital Learning in the English Language Arts Classroom

We all know that learning is going to look A LOT different next year. As of right now, most of you are unsure what will take place come back to school season. It's a very strange feeling. Will we be back in school? Will we have a mix of in-school and online teaching? It's all up in the air right now. While we all had a short introduction at the end of the school year, as to what we may be able to expect in the fall, we are still very much under uncertain times. The aim of this post is to help both new and veteran teachers get things organized digitally for the unknown 2020-2021 school year.

My best advice for you right now would be to become familiar with some sort of online platform to use with your students. If you are not already using Google, it's FREE to set up and most teachers are using this platform for their students to complete digital resources. It's fairy easy to navigate and students can easily send you the resources via the 'share' button once it's ready to be graded. Here are a few things that you can do NOW to ensure you are as prepared for whatever is thrown at you for the fall!

1. Organize your digital files!

Yes, this is a thing! I just discovered this myself. Kuddos to you if you are a step a head of me! I just finished color-coding my folders and got rid of a bunch of files that I did not need anymore!

I usually do this every year on my laptop anyway, so I figured this poster would come in handy for teachers now and students in the fall.

Grab a copy of this FREE poster HERE!

You can link this document as a back to school activity for your students to follow the steps, as well as to create a folder for your course. They will thank you later!

2. Convert your resources into digital activities

I know, the last thing you had planned to do this summer was to convert your resources into digital files. However, being that you will also be juggling a thousand other things, creating some fun activities for your students to get them going is a start in the right direction! For this reason, I created these Digital Escape Room Templates for both personal and commercial use. Create engaging activities for your classroom with the ready-to-go templates.

You can also give the templates to students to build their own digital activities using the information they learned. This gives them a hands-on activity to be creative and demonstrate what they learned. When they are done, these games can be shared amongst other peers to try out! (Don't forget to tell them to create a 'copy' first before they begin sharing it!)

Here's a sample of an activity that is simply an interactive matching game. For this particular activity, students will have to be able to make a connection with the nine words chosen. You can match anything: people to places, people to subjects, cities to countries, words to various terms, first names to last names, and so much more! It can also work in any subject area. 

Ready to use these in your classrom? Click HERE to learn more about these digital templates! The best part? They can be done remotely at home, should distance learning be here for a while!

3. Create an Interactive (Bitmoji) Classroom

If you haven't already considered creating your own virtual classroom, now might be the time! It's a fun and interactive way to communicate with your students, while they are out of the classroom. The interactive elements of the virtual classroom allow students to access their assignments, websites, etc. Click HERE to check out a video on how to set up your very own virtual classroom!

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Open up a blank Google Slide
2. Add a background, then insert the image. (Google image search " transparent wall and floor")
3. Add images to your classroom. (Google image search "transparent white board")
4. Include any items that you may already have in your classroom: desk, whiteboard, bookshelf, etc.
5. Add links to your images.
6. Add your teacher Bitmoji to the space if you have one! :)

*Add the word "transparent" when searching images on the web.

4. Become familiar with some sort of online learning platform

You might consider taking time this summer to learn about a few more online platforms. Perhaps the one you used this school year worked for you, but maybe there are more out there that would work better for you or have more feature options. Here are a few you might consider.
  • Edmodo
  • Moodle
  • BrightSpace
  • WizIG
  • Udemy
Read more about each of these HERE

5. Remote teaching tips

Hold your students accountable

Engage your students with participation activities and hold them accountable. How can you do this? Ask them questions!

Set reasonable expectations in terms of communication

Whether it be a Zoom call or a quick email, touching base doesn't have to happen daily necessarily (especially if they aren't right in front of you). However, making time once a week will surely make a huge difference.

Promote collaboration

When possible, promote collaboration among your students. Using shareable documents like Google Drive can make it easily accessible for students to work together, when they are not face-to-face.

Check out these other digital resources and ideas for your classroom:

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