What I’ve Learned About Teaching Online – Part #1 SOL21 Day #27

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This is the first of three posts.

As this school year winds down, I’ve started thinking about what I’ve learned from teaching online that I can transfer back into an in person space.

Some of you may be thinking it’s too early to be doing that. After all it’s only the end of March.

But when I return to teaching online after Spring Break, it will be April. And not just the 1st of April. It will be April 6th. After that, time will go by really fast.

Here are four ideas for now. I know my list will grow and evolve over the next few weeks, but this is a start.

(1) Targeted and frequent one-on-one and small group sessions. Although I’ve always done one-on-one conferring with students and taught small groups, this year of teaching online has been different. My sessions with students have been more intentional. More targeted to what kids present as needing or wanting to learn. Even during those times when I haven’t been sure what to address with students because I didn’t yet know them well enough, I was able to use those opportunities to get to know them.

Because I have less face2face time with students I have been more thoughtful about what I address during conferences; there’s no time to waste. Every minute counts.

(2) Focus on one or two related problems in math for the week. Build on the previous day’s teaching by privileging the idea that less is more. And, yes, we’ve always known this. But have we always practiced it?

Teaching online has taught me to focus on what’s essential. To make every minute count.

(3) Use shared Google Docs and Slides as collaborative spaces for students. Support them to use the comment feature in Google Docs and Slides to “work together” much as they would be doing if they were in person.

(4) Use shared Google Docs and Slides for students to check in with me about their personal reading and writing. This will allow me to have a public running conversation with each student, via commenting, about reading and writing.

If you taught online this year, what are your takeaways? What will you keep and what will you discard when you return to in person teaching?

Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

16 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Teaching Online – Part #1 SOL21 Day #27

  1. You’ve learned such good things. My favorites are number 2 and 4. Number 2 needs to become a best practice for all teachers, and I know you will develop strong teacher student relationships continuing with number 4.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good analysis — and good for you making it.

    I’m retired but have taught online and hybrid periodically since the late 90s, although mostly in person. Seeing so many teachers and faculty with little or no experience teaching online suddenly thrown into it, I worried about their adjustment and the extra stress of going online by necessity not druthers. Mine was by choice — sought out even because I was curious and had a hunch about its future. Mixing it up, I found carry over across modalities and that each enriched the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought I would teach online. It just didn’t seem the most effective way for kids to learn. Although I still don’t think it’s the most effective way, there are a lot of things I’m learning that I can take back to in-person that will enhance learning for students. I never would have predicted that before this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great idea and definitely not too early to start. I agree with the Google slides. I used them as a collaborative space for students to share ideas. I also used them as space for me to communicate with students. I also converted some to Peardeck for interactive lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mrssurridge says:

    I’ve been face2face this whole year, but I did notice that I brought some of my online experience with me to the classroom. Intentional conferences are one of them. I’ve been able to really focus on what’s needed. I think your math tip is really good and it will transfer back to the classroom well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, what a great idea! I agree about intentionality and collaborative spaces. This is also paramount- “Teaching online has taught me to focus on what’s essential. To make every minute count.” Thank you for getting me to reflect earlier rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m retired a nd thankful I did not have to teach online. I am however, intrigued and have wondered if teachers felt it provided more beneficial one on one or not. I look forward to this series of posts. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the one-on-ones have been one of my best times with kids, though I floundered in the beginning. But with what I’ve learned I think I can improve my conferences when I go back to in person teaching. Keeping my fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

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