Online teaching is a whole other world to discover especially for teachers who are new to this set-up. What might have worked in the classroom might not be as effective in today’s circumstances. It is quite a challenge for educators to capture young learner’s attention through a screen, and so we are tasked to think outside of the box and come up with ways that will keep them attentive during class. Educators must equip themselves with the right engaging tools in order to give their students a fun and enriching online learning experience as if we were in the actual physical classroom.
Here are a few tips to build an engaging online environment:
1. Make use of Song and Dance
Children love singing and dancing in the classroom just as much as in the virtual world. Hearing familiar songs can excite and energize them for the activities ahead. Teaching a new lesson through a song can also help them easily remember what it is about. Dancing is another way of letting loose after sitting in front of a screen for a period of time. Introducing “dance breaks” is a good practice to release their energy and to clear their minds.
2. Show and Tell
Children love sharing stories about the toys, books, and things they have, and being in the comfort of our homes means that we can easily show our favorite things! We can make use of this and give our students the opportunity to Show and Tell to their friends. This activity allows for conversations amongst classmates to start and gives children a confidence boost since they are able to talk in front of a group. A “show and tell” segment every week can be one of the things your students will look forward to.
3. Feelings Check
Managing an online class calls for extra attention from the teacher given that the physical aspect is out of the picture. It is important for teachers to always ask how their students are feeling before, during, and after the class. This practice will help you navigate through your lesson for the day and know more or less which students you should pay close attention to during the class. To your surprise, some may feel sad or confused and so with this practice, you will know how to best steer and deliver your lesson.
4. Get Creative with Costumes
Who says we can’t play dress-up during online class? Whether it's the teacher who’s dressed in an Astronaut costume while discussing Outer Space or the kids wearing funky caps while learning about colors, playing dress-up is always a great idea! This practice allows both the teacher and students to get into character and have fun while learning.
5. Chants and Hand Gestures
Teaching your students follow-after-me chants or hand gestures, like claps, can gear them back towards the topic if they seem to be getting distracted. Make sure to teach them this before the class starts so that during the class, you can pull this trick out and grab their attention. You can even create a chant or clap together so that they can remember it even more!
There are so many ways to build an engaging online environment and with these engagement tools, you can fully maximize their learning experience. The online world may feel limiting at the start, but you’ll later realize, with patience and practice, that there are a lot of opportunities to be creative and bring the feel of an actual classroom to the virtual learning world.