So you've just found out you're going to be teaching virtually again. You're in the right place! Whether you loved the distance learning in 2020 or hated it, you're back to zoom (or google meet) and looking for virtual math teaching strategies. And you don't just want to teach math, you want to engage students in math virtually. Let's dig in to 5 tips for teaching math virtually.
#1) Take a moment to communicate expectations
One of the most shocking things teachers experienced when going virtual in 2020 was the lack of respect and general casualness of students on zoom. On day one of going virtual, make sure you establish some expectations with your students. My favorite way to do this is called the “Doing and Saying” Activity. Write two columns on a blank slide, one labeled “doing” and one labeled “saying.” Then ask students to contribute ideas. You can ask, “What can other students DO to make you feel comfortable connecting with peers and sharing your ideas? What can other students SAY to make you feel comfortable connecting with peers and sharing your ideas?” Make these your expectations and keep them visual for students by posting them in your Google classroom or other LMS. For other digital positive classroom culture building ideas, check out my bundle of 8 pre-made activities by clicking here.
#2) Create an opportunity for students to participate
My favorite activity is “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” and it’s easy to do virtually. If you’re unfamiliar with WODB, check out this blog post to learn more. When you’re facilitating WODB virtually, show the students the image, then ask them to share their reasoning in the chat. Draw connections between students who had similar reasoning, that will help build community and connection even virtually. You can watch my facilitate WODB (and 5 other engagement structures) with teachers in my Math Engagement Workshop.
#3) Use Desmos
Nothing is better than Desmos when you’re virtual. If you’re new to Desmos, check out this post titled, Desmos for Beginners: Favorite 5 Features, for a video guide showing you how awesome it is. You can start with a fun activity like, Getting to Know Each Other, so you and your students get used to Desmos. Then try it with math! Two of favorite activities are
But search the already created resources for whatever topic you’re teaching!
#4) Use Quizizz
Quizizz really does make virtual learning fun. Plus you can literally do no prep for these activities, just search the library and go! It’s also easy to find a premade activity and just tweak it a bit to fit your unique classroom. You can watch a quick quizizz tutorial here. I greatly prefer quizizz to kahoot when doing virtual learning because the answer choices will show up on everyone's screens. You can play classic (whole class), teams (divide the class up into two or more.. This one is a BLAST!), or even assign it asynchronously so students can do it for homework or while working at their own pace in stations.
#5) Make it more about connection than content
This is disruptive. There is no way around that. Make your virtual class more about connection than content. I know you’ve got content to get through. I know your kids are behind. But this is a situation that requires we put our human needs first. It’s okay if you don’t get through all the material you were hoping to this year. Focus on building a positive math experience for your students above anything else.
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