Are you and your students in a virtual classroom this year?
As distance learning has become a bigger part of education worldwide, educators have had to rethink just about every aspect of school. Many schools have opted for distance learning in lieu of in-person classes. Others have eased back into onsite classrooms using a hybrid model of distance learning and in-person learning. If you’re in a Zoom classroom or other form of distance learning, you may be wondering how to connect with students online. You can do it, and PBIS Rewards can help!
Ways to Connect with Students Online
Make Your Virtual Classroom Welcoming
Give your students a few moments as they log in to get settled and ready to learn. Play soft music in the background, show a welcome message on screen, and acknowledge each student as they come online. Just as you would greet them at the threshold of your physical classroom, find ways to greet them in your virtual one.
Host Morning Meetings
A regularly scheduled meeting will help you and your students take care of class business and stay on the same page. These meetings will allow you to restate and reinforce behavior expectations as needed. You can also do student shout-outs, celebrate birthdays, issue fun challenges, or any number of things that will keep your class engaged.
Establish Times for Follow Up and Student Questions
As you and your students work through your virtual lesson plans, there will be questions and parts of lessons that may not go as planned. Set aside some time each day or each week to address student questions and follow up with them. Some of these sessions can be group sessions, while others might need to be one-on-one. Just let your students know you’re available to help.
Do Regular Check Ins
Some students tend to “fly under the radar” – getting their work done, following expectations, and generally not drawing attention to themselves. In a virtual environment, these quiet students can be easily overlooked. Your most outgoing students may struggle with the lack of social contact. Doing regular check-ins with all of your students, including the quiet ones, will help you address social-emotional concerns in real time.
Switch up the routine in your virtual classroom to help keep it fresh and interesting. Changing from on-camera instruction to using slides throughout your classroom time will help connect with students online. Include useful tidbits of information, such as class announcements, or give students a “brain break” by showing a fun photo or student-submitted silly joke. Ask your students to suggest content in order to give them some ownership in the virtual classroom.
Ask for Feedback
Educators and students are journeying through distance learning together. It makes sense to have an ongoing conversation about what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. There may be aspects of your virtual classroom that don’t work well for your students, and it may not be obvious unless you ask. Encourage your students (and possibly their parents) to message you with both positive and negative feedback.
Take PBIS Virtual
A PBIS initiative CAN work in a virtual environment with just a few alterations. Adapt your behavior matrix for online learning by establishing expectations specific to the situation. How do students behave respectfully in a virtual setting? What are ways students can demonstrate safety online? Spell out those expectations and, most importantly, recognize and reward students for meeting them. PBIS Rewards is uniquely suited for all learning environments and makes managing your PBIS initiative simpler in a virtual one.
PBIS Rewards for the Virtual Win
As you continue to navigate the virtual/hybrid/traditional education landscape, PBIS Rewards can help you to recognize any student, anywhere, at any time. We’ve got lots of resources to help you make the most of distance learning, including some great ideas for incentives. You don’t have to give up on your PBIS initiative just because you’re not in the physical classroom! Do you want to know more?