Small Group Tips for Distant Learning

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Welcome to another edition of ...

Today I want to share small group tips to help with reading instruction.  Some of these ideas can be used for small group or whole group instruction of  any kind.  Others...just for reading groups. Think of it like a smorgsboard of DL ideas. πŸ˜†


FIRST off I want to share some props that I use that have been very helpful to me during my ZOOM distant learning time.  These signal cards will save your voice and time during your important syncronous instruction.  They include lots of options that I have found through DL to be helpful to me. 

Distant learning signal cards/props

These were a freebie to my email followers and are now available in my store.  If you are interested in exclusive freebies like this be sure to join my email list by looking at the top of my blog or to the right of this post.  You will then be signed up for monthly freebies that I offer exclusively to my email subscribers.  There is no SPAM and you can unsubscribe at any time.

visual props for distant learning

distant learning signal cards/props

Other things that are useful if you want your students to remember a skill and to help make it stick is to WEAR it!  Yep, wear the skill you are trying to get them to remember.  My first grade group has seen my vowel crown now I think 7 times and they know the 5 stars of the alphabet and talk about them.  In fact they often in a lesson refer to my 'crown' by saying, " that's one of the stars of the alphabet Mrs. Moore it's on your crown. "  Dorky πŸ€“...maybe but if it helps it stick well then I have no shame.  

In fact, each time I logged in with my first grade group I always wore both the crown AND the star.  This skill has been reinforced several times and I will continue to do so.  Neuroscientist Cooke says that you need to see something 30 times for your brain to remember it.  So - Imma keep wearing it folks.

Other tips - engage your audience with things you would USE in person.  TRUST me, it will still be engaging.  Maybe not quite like in person but it is still engaging.  Listen, kids don't want just to see your pretty face. ( although they do enjoy you ) πŸ₯° They like to see different things/mediums on the screen to keep their attention.  

Sometimes I use my doc cam, sometimes I share my screen with an online powerpoint or game, I use a sensory bin, magnetic letters and white boards.   Even if your students can't DIG through the sensory bin  they still enjoy seeing me do it under the doc camera.  

October Sensory Bin

So even though I was diggin' through it with those boney, fun skeleton hands they got to say or do the activity that I pulled up as I called on them and they loved the anticipation.  They were actively engaged talking about the eyeballs, skulls, pumpkins, spiders etc they saw as I was digging.  In fact, we all laughed a few times when the boney fingers would accidentally end up with a spider ring on them.


 I even use a pocket chart for sorts...I would have them come up and place their card in the correct column if we were in person, but on line I pull a card and call on a child to tell me which column to put it in using the doc camera so they can visually see the sort.  For more engagement I've had the kids re create the sort on a white board and write or draw the picture and do the sort at the same time.

All I did for this lesson was use pictures and put them next to each other in the pocket chart.  If they rhymed I used my thumbs up/thumbs down πŸ‘πŸ‘Ž props and they engaged by showing me with their hands if the words rhymed or not.  Very engaging while reviewing a very important skill.

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to this, just think what you would do in person and try to recreate the activity even if you are on line.  

It's frustrating not being 'in person' I find myself thinking - if we were in person this would be so much easier.  Well, when I noticed some kids were struggling with one to one correspondence I realized sharing the screen on ZOOM was NOT going to help either of us.  If I wasn't sitting next to them helping them point to the screen it did me no good.  BUT what was HELPFUL was putting a hard copy of the book I would share on line under the doc camera , pull out a witchy finger and BOOM now they are watching me point to each word.  If they add/omit a word they can clearly see they are making a mistake because they are watching my finger - just like in person. πŸ‘πŸ‘

one to one correspondence

 Hope these ideas are helpful and I'd love to hear from you, visit my on fb or instagram to share some of your ideas for distant learning.

Happy teaching my friends


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