How to assess students one on one in Distant Learning

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Welcome Back to ~~~

Who would've ever thought we would STILL be teaching remotely in August?!?!  Definitely not me!  I was so naive I thought after Spring Break I would be back teaching in the classroom last Spring!  

Well, here we are starting the year off remotely and none of us ever could've imagined it would come to this!  

My assignment as a Literacy Specialist for the first few weeks of school has been to assess ALL first graders by giving them a DRA.  So I set up 1/2 hour time slots with Sign up Genius and have begun this task.  It seemed daunting at first as I don't know these I thought - I have to spend a couple minutes getting them to warm up to me and then dive right into testing...ugh! 

But, it has actually been really fun getting to know these kids on line and assessing them.  I've learned a lot in a short amount of time in regards to 1 on 1 testing on line.

I thought I would share some tips that make it much easier!

Google Meet:

Be sure to visit the Chrome extension store and grab Dualless.  It will give you options for sharing your screen easily in Google Meet.

Once you have dualless selected - it will have a drop down menu - select the ratio that will work best for your assessing.

This allows you to EASILY see the child and the child can effortlessly see the text to read.  

Another thing that has been super helpful is this ring light.  It easily attaches to any device with a clamp and has different brightness settings to choose from...

You can grab yours here if you are interested: { affiliate }

Another amazon product that has been super helpful is the computer stand...for a few reasons!  One, your students aren't seeing up your nose...not that they were before but it does give you a much better angle for your students viewing.  For me though, it has relieved pressure from my shoulders.  I found that I was hunching a bit without even realizing it - now the computer is eye level and it has made all the difference.

If you are interested here is the link: { affiliate }

Now onto Zoom which is super easy for adjusting your screen sharing...

If you are using phonics assessments or a benchmark assessment through F & P , DRA, etc.  you can have the book or phonics assesment page ready as a tab to share and adjust as needed. 

 I usually have the book large for the students but still want to see the student to see if I can pick up on any strategies they are using that I would normally notice easily in person but have to dig a little deeper to notice on line.  I did see a child this week point to the screen to be sure after the repeated a word and used 1 to 1 correspondence to remedy the situation.  I also noticed a child counting out syllables and finger spelling a cvc word to help them. 

 So, if you are able be sure to look for those behaviors so you can better assist them in your reading groups.

Well... there you have it, I hope this helped you out whether your district uses Google Meet or Zoom.  Let me know how it goes for you in Instagram or fb  or in the comments below.

Happy { virtual } teaching my friends,


Distant Learning Do Not Disturb Freebie

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Distant not for the faint of heart that's for sure!  Especially to all you mom's /dad's out there that are also teachers!  

I'm giving a huge SHOUT OUT to you guys that have young(er) kids at home while trying to maintain and teach your own students...yikes!  My kids are in college so I don't have the added expectation of helping them in their own virtual learning.

Well, if you are working from home for this very reason OR you have some besties at work that just may pop in for a visit I made something that I think will come in very handy to support you.

These posters are perfect for your classroom door or your guestroom door or EVEN just to put on the back of your computer so if you are in an open space your kids see the message loud and clear! 😂

So if you are in an open space, tape this to the back of your computer or hang it on the wall of the entrance to the room to TRY and have some peace....I know, I know...much easier said then  done.  But, I do think it will help...I plan on hanging it outside my classroom door  as colleagues want to pop in and chat throughout the day. 


I hope this helps - we got this!  Happy { virtual } teaching my friends! 



5 Distant Learning tips for Parents

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Here we are heading into a school year with distant learning. 😷  Last Spring I never would've predicted we would still be in this 'model' for school.  

I wanted to direct this post to parents ~ I can't imagine trying to work and teach or monitor my child(ren) at the same time, so my heart goes out to you.  I'm the mom of college aged kids so I don't feel your struggle.  However, raising kids and being an educator for 26 years I feel like I can offer some sound advice for you.

I've created a list of 5 ways you can make at home learning more structured and successful.

At home learning is challenging at best, we understand. However, as you head into this 2020 - 2021 school year understand that it will look very different from the Spring experience you had when we were thrown into this unexpectedly.  Anticipate a much more rigorous, accountable distant learning plan as we are starting the year off in this model.

Here is a poster that you can print out  - it is a great visual created by my friend Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard.  

1.) Give them a CONSISTENT place to work ( desk, work space, etc. ) and attend live meetings. Preferably not too far from an adult but also careful to be in a place that isn't too loud.

2.) Hang a poster similar to the one above or one that your classroom teacher sends you so your child can visually see expectations that they need to follow. This would be similar to rules hung in a classroom. It sets the child up to know and follow the expecations from the start.

3. ) Have a WONDERFUL attitude no matter how you might be feeling. I understand this is hard on everyone and frustrating. Your child will pick up on any stress, anger, etc. you have so putting on a smile and encouraging them will take you and them far in this journey. They need to see your great attitude so they can go into this with a similar attitude. Support the teacher the best you can. There's not much we can do about it so let's make lemonade out of lemons together.

4.) Follow a schedule consistently each day - logging in for the live class meetings, taking lunch and recess when the class is etc. But, also be flexible like teachers have to be in the classroom. If you are sensing your child's frustration level is high, give them a 5 minute break in the back yard. SET a TIMER so they know they need to get back on track when it rings.

5.) Communicate with the teacher and share any concerns you have so that you can be on the same page in moving forward to help your child.

These are just a few tips to get your year started off right!  You can do this...your teacher is there to help and support you, so definitely reach out if needed.💖


Digital Stickers for distant learning

Saturday, August 1, 2020
I'm fairly confident that most everyone would agree with me when it comes to the IMPORTANCE of SEL for kids right now.  If you are new here SEL is social emotional learning ( and support ).  Kids need social and emotional support now more than ever.  

School closures, hearing the news reports, hearing coversations, seeing face masks everywhere and possibly not seeing grandma or grandpa for a long while.  This is all so confusing for little minds.  

Just in the last few years public education has shown a greater interest/need for SEL.  My district hired social workers a few years ago to meet with children that were struggling or needing extra support. ( insert emoji  clapping hands here )

Kids are going to need lots of praise both face to face ( via Zoom ) and in response to any work they turn in digitally ( feedback ).  I've always said the most important thing you can do in your classroom is build relationships.  That's a little tricker to do on line but certainly can be done. 

 Letters in the mail, class morning meetings online, videos and more will be a good start for building those important relationships...and a step in the right direction.

One way I plan to bring a little sunshine to my students is with digital stickers.  In the Spring when we were thrown into digital learning without any notice I had printed digital stickers that I taped to skewers.  

I bounced around and danced the stickers around to praise a child in reading groups.  If I didn't have them handy for a session the kids would BEG for them. 

digital stickers for distant learning
These are the ones I used last year and thanks to Creating 4 the classroom - they came in clutch.  You can find hers here:  

I knew that I wanted my digital stickers to be both printable and able to drop into different these digital stickers can be placed directly on student work or in comments both on Seesaw and in Google classroom.

digital stickers distance  learning

digital stickers  Google Classroom Seesaw

Here's a short video tutorial on how to use them in Seesaw:  

digital stickers  Google Classroom Seesaw

There are lots of themes included and fun ones with puns your students are sure to love.  You can find them here

Happy teaching,