Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, many schools across the country have hit a roadblock when it comes to hybrid learning — accommodating both at-home and in-person instruction. Yet, these experiences are more important than ever. Here are five ways to make them happen successfully.
Get creative and test drive new ideas
Don’t be afraid to try new things that may engage your students. We’ve had students act or perform out some of the concepts we’re learning about in class. This is a good alternative to basic quizzes or questions that students answer simply. Another student recorded an interpretative dance representing the three phases of matter to share with her classmates, for example.
Continue project-based learning outside of the classroom
Some of our students worked on a project that outlined their steps for doing laundry, and then recorded themselves going through the process. This project facilitated computational thinking without the students even realizing it. There are many projects out there that can be used to teach core concepts, which students can just apply naturally.
Offer activities that nurture community
There are some things that don’t have to change between in-person and virtual meetings. For example, our students meet to set goals for the future and discuss their online robotics club projects. It gives them something to look forward to, and something to interact with outside of traditional instruction and nurtures a sense of community.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Think about what you can do better with the experiences you’ve already had as a teacher. We all have things that worked for us in our classrooms and we now have the opportunity to “virtualize” these experiences. For example, just as you would reward students in the classroom for achievements, you can do the same by starting your virtual lesson with student “shout outs.”
Bring the real world into it
Try phenomenon-based content, and challenge students to research real world connections. Now especially, they have the opportunity to connect everything to our current situation. Talk about the pandemic with your students. We want to empower them to be innovators of change, and to do that they need to be informed about what is happening in the world.
There are so many resources out there to help you plan your hybrid model. We are all learners, and we can learn from each other. You can also use your families and students as resources. Learn best practices from colleagues and people outside of your network to create the best experience possible. Remember, you are not alone.
Wyman Khuu is a science teacher at KIPP Infinity Elementary and Jane Chavez is a science teacher at KIPP NJ Seek Academy. They use CoderZ for their online robotics program.
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