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Webinar Recap: How to Engage Students During Distance Learning

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first Teacher PD Launchpad webinar! Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary teachers, Keisha Cogdell and Amy Mirlisena, led an engaging, insightful session on How to Engage Students and Create Accountability in Virtual Classrooms.

If you missed our session, you can watch the webinar below and use these tips in your own classroom! Don’t forget to download your resource sheet here for links to all the materials mentioned in the webinar.

Webinar Highlights:

1. Recognize what screens represent for kids and use that to your advantage.
Before distance learning, students associated screentime with entertainment. While they may not be playing games or watching television, we as educators, can adapt our virtual teaching environments to make them an engaging, entertaining experience.

Three ways we can do that is through songs, chants, and turn and talks with stuffed animals (jump to the 16-minute mark to see how)! Jump to the 10-minute mark in the webinar to see examples of songs that you can bring into your classroom and why these tools are effective.

2. Create imaginary settings and engaging slide backgrounds for students to learn in.
Ms. Cogdell and Ms. Mirlisena shared how important it is to have engaging slides that are created with these three elements: vibrant background and settings, animations, and weaving in humor and suspense.

What do we mean? Well, teaching elementary students virtually means you can take your students anywhere. When you use your imagination and visually depict that scene on your slide, it instantly creates a more stimulating learning environment. One example Ms. Mirlisena shared was creating a candy store slide background and telling her Kindergarteners that, “Today, the store owner has told us we have 30 minutes to answer as many questions as we can using our Zoom buttons and every time we answer a question correctly, we earn a piece of candy!” Then, she’ll give students a Dojo Point (her classroom reward system) when they answer a question correctly.

Want to learn more about this and learn how Ms. Cogdell sparks her students’ attention on a tired Monday morning? Jump to the 25-minute mark of the webinar to hear more!


3. Use animations in your Google slides to catch and keep students’ attention.
Animations help direct your students’ attention to one specific place or help them refocus. Using Google Slides, Ms. Mirlisena shows teachers how to use the “Animate” feature to add dynamic images into their slide decks. Check out the resource guide for more tools to revitalize your Google slides.

4. Use specific types of music in your timers to spark emotions.
At the 31-minute mark, our hosts remind teachers that music motivates the mind. That’s why when Ms. Mirlisena or Ms. Cogwell want to inspire their students to do an activity quickly and build suspense, they’ll use this upbeat timer. Whereas, if students should feel calmer during an activity and have a bit more space for thinking time, they’ll use this mellow ‘under the sea’ timer.’

5. Use incentives to motivate students during independent work time.
In Ms. Cogwell’s class, students have to collect eight gumballs each week as a class to earn a prize. That prize could be earning show and tell or virtual freeze dance. You can edit this powerpoint template to use this gum ball game with your own class!

Find these tips helpful? Share with a teacher you know and join us for our next webinar on How to Engage Students with Exceptionalities in Distance Learning!



Published on November 20, 2020

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