This is the second time I have done a Q&A episode on the podcast and it is so much fun to answer your questions! This week I am answering your classroom organization questions and a lot of them had to do with one very important topic right now- digital learning!
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Digital Learning and Teaching is new for all of us. Everyone is figuring it out as we go. Since I am not in the classroom right now, this has been a fun episode for me to prepare for because it has allowed me to put my teacher hat on and figure out what I would do if I was in the classroom.
Also, sometimes outsiders can help add a perspective you might not have while you are in the middle of the day-to-day of digital learning.
If you have questions you’d like answered then don’t hesitate to reach out and ask away! I love interacting with you. The easiest way to stay connected with me is to sign up for the weekly email organization tips that come straight to your inbox each week!
Tips to Organize for Digital Learning
On this episode I answered 7 questions. These are the questions that have to do with digital learning and/or organizing ALLLL the stuff that comes with teaching in the 21st century.
Google Classroom is overwhelming…help!
As with anything new, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to use a program efficiently. Here are a few resources I recommended for ensuring your online classroom is organized!
- Listen to my interview with Courtney on ways to use Google in your classroom
- Join the Working from Home: Teacher’s Edition course (free) to learn how to structure your day, organize your lesson plans, google drive, and resource documents, and how to organize your email and computer files
- Check out New EdTech on YouTube for tips on incorporating Google and other technology applications in your lessons
- Follow Shana (Hello, Teacher Lady) on YouTube and Instagram to get tips on how to organize and use Google applications
What do I do if students aren’t showing up to online classes?
The most important thing you can do is to call the student individually. Sending class emails or reminder emails before the call might not do it.
Is the student not showing up or not turning on their video because they are embarrassed of their home? Is it too loud? I think you might be able to come to a conclusion with the student if you talk one on one to them.
Also consider if there is some kind of incentive you can provide to get kids motivated to show up (this should not tie into their grades!). For example, are you allowing free-talk time at the beginning and/or end of lessons? Can you incorporate a “joke-a-day” into the ending of each lesson? Even a “Teacher Tour Tuesday” might be a fun way to show kids some behind-the-scenes of what is currently in your pantry or where you sit when you grade students work.
Check out Allie’s post on ways to build classroom community while students are digitally learning here.
I am doing inclusion in 6 classes this year, what is the best way to keep up with data for each student?
I recommend using a Google Sheet to organize all of this info. If I were doing this right now, I’d create a sheet with a tab for each class I was going into. Each sheet would have all the student’s listed with a spot for me to record notes each day.
I also recommend creating a color coding system- red means the student is struggling, yellow means they are doing okay or are missing an assignment, and green means “alles ist gut” (all is well in German).
The most important thing you can do is to create a routine for reviewing this information daily or weekly. The color-coding system makes this process really easy because you can, at a glance, see what students need help and with what.
Check out my interview with Brandie Rosen, and Special Education teacher. We talked all about how to organize papers and materials for your SPED students!
Any tips on how to organize a class set of Chromebooks?
With that many Chromebooks, there is no easy way to organize them! Hopefully you have a cart that stores them all. Check out how this teacher organized her Chromebooks with color-coded washi tape.
On the podcast I recommended using a filing system to house your technology. Here is a picture of that item I was referencing.
Classroom Organization Questions
These following questions were the questions not directly tied to digital learning but that I still wanted to address on the podcast!
I struggle with knowing where to put papers in my classroom?
Everything needs a home in your classroom, including your papers. You need to know which types of papers you commonly have in your classroom so you can create homes for each of those types of papers.
Inside the Classroom Paper Organization Course, I teach you how to identify those papers and create homes.
Also, be sure to check out the following episodes on how to organize papers in your classroom!
- Simply Teach #19: How to Organize Student Papers
- Simply Teach #82: 4 Ways to Conquer the Classroom Paper Mess
- Simply Teach #83: The Best Products for Organizing your Classroom Papers
How do I know what to keep and what to throw away?
I get it! It feels safer to hang on to things in case we might need them one day. However, by hanging on to things you aren’t using frequently, you are keeping that item from being used to it’s best potential.
Ask yourself, “have I used this in the last year?” and “did I know I had this item?” If the answer to both of those is no…then toss it! If you used it in the past year and will use it again, keep it. Don’t be afraid to get rid of things, especially if they can easily be replaced or borrowed from another teacher.
What advice do you have for:
This teacher asked a three-part question. So here are my answers to each of her questions. 🙂
Students that need fidgets in the classroom?
Yes! On the podcast I share about a student who had a space taped out in the back of the classroom that they could stand, move, jump, rock, etc. in whenever they needed to move.
Whatever accommodations you need to put in place to help a student be successful, I say go for it!
How do you encourage students with disabilities without singling them out?
This is hard because sometimes they will be singled out, without you even trying. The best advice I can give is to try to show fair treatment to all kids. Instead of calling the same student to your small-group table each time independent work is happening, call different groupings of students to your table. Sometimes that group will include said student, sometimes it won’t. You can also go to them and work with the students at their table.
I also recommend Kagan Cooperative Learning as a great way to have students working with their peers instead of being singled out by you as needing support.
What tips do you have for those of us in school for teaching?
- Keep a binder and/or file on your phone of pictures with all the information and tips you get from the various classrooms you spend time in during your schooling. Organize the binder by topic. Listen to my interview on the Edumagic Podcast where I talk about this exactly.
- Create a detailed plan for your classroom. I teach you how to do this inside The Organized Teacher Framework™
- Simply Teach #16: Tips for First Year Teachers with Brittany Cox
- Simply Teach #49: 10 Things You can do to Prepare for the School Year
- Simply Teach #50: Advice for Student Teachers and New Teachers
- Simply Teach #58: Tips for Pre-service Teachers with Dr. Sam Fecich
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Until next time,