We have been thrust into a whole new world of teaching; one that most of us feel wildly unprepared for. But with some tweaks and a little “out of the box” thinking, we can still use our master teacher skills to teach online. So how do you teach whole group virtually? I’m so glad you asked! Let’s dive in to what successful Virtual Whole Group Teaching in Pre-K & Kindergarten could look like.
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Virtual Whole Group Teaching
The idea of teaching virtually can be overwhelming. You may feel like you have no idea where to start. But the good news is, a lot of the things you need to consider for virtual whole group teaching online are the same things you would do in-person!
Building community, setting routines, and building in brain breaks are all things you know are important for teaching young learners. Well those things are just as important online as they are in-person!
So use those master teacher superpowers and follow your instincts on the “what” of your teaching, so all you have to tweak is the “how.”
How to Teach Whole Group Online
The key is to do what you would normally do with your students in whole group. Break out those pocket charts, story books, calendar, and circle time activities.
Keep it as close to your in-person classroom as possible. This will not only give you and the kids a sense of normalcy, it will also help with your transition back into the classroom (whenever that may be).
Instead of talking to your kiddos on the carpet, you will be talking to them through a camera. Of course your students’ interaction with you will be different. They can’t come up and pick a piece out of the basket and place it in the pocket chart. But you can step in the gap, pick that piece for them, and have them respond. See how I use pocket charts virtually HERE.
What you teach might depend on what is required of you by your district and school. But whatever you teach, keep those kiddos engaged and treat your virtual classroom just like your in-person classroom.
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Keep Them Engaged
Keeping your students engaged is the goal no matter how you’re teaching, but with virtual whole group teaching, this is an even bigger challenge than when you are in the classroom. So how do you keep them engaged when they are on the other side of a screen?
Making sure you are focused is important. I know the behind the scenes of your virtual classroom probably looks like a futuristic movie, and there are a lot of potential distractions, but it is really important that you stay focused on the task at hand so your students will too.
Keep your supplies close and organized. Make sure you have that basket of pocket chart pieces close by, brain break songs are cued up, and manipulatives are at your fingertips. Even though you may only be away from your screen for 10 seconds, you will likely have lost the attention of some of your students in that short time.
I know we all think that we are animated in the classroom, but get ready to take your acting skills up a notch! We need to be even more animated and lively online than we are in the classroom. So do those character voices you’ve been wanting to try out during story time!
Another way I like to get my students engaged is by using Student Response Cards. These help your students engage with you and with the material being presented. Use them to increase engagement with virtual whole group teaching, or when you’re back in the classroom.
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