Breakout Rooms are not a thing of the Past
First of all, I know what you are thinking. As your school has started offering in-personlearning,there is no need to think about using breakout rooms or any other virtual protocols. Well, as the Pandemic continues to rage on, I am here to tell you that it will be imperative for educators to continue honing our technological instructional skills. Just as we prepare for inclement weather by having tornado drills, we should consider having Pandemic preparation drills as well.
Pandemic Preparation-Protocols to Include
Next, as you continue to think about practices you should implement into your classroom. Don’t forget about preparing students for sudden school closures. Think about the systems and routines you could put in place now which will help students transition to online or at-home learning smoothly. Educators should consider using systems that can be duplicated in both settings.
Here are a few to help you begin this process
Morning Routines: How are you including a technological component within student’s DO NOW or Morning Work?
School-wide Routines: Is there a school-wide link to virtual announcements that you could share with parents in a weekly newsletter?
Does your class have a website or class page which can be regularly updated to keep parents’ abreast of what their children are learning in class? Websites are a great way to keep in touch with students and parents. You could set up one of these types of websites for you class. This would communicate what is going on in the classroom, what students are studying, and skills/concepts to reinforce at home.
If students are on quarantine at home, what methods have you put in place to help them keep up with skills that are being learned in class? Are you routinely recording classroom lessons? Students should be able to review them at their leisure and continue learning. This method could be very useful to students who are absent.
Turning in/Uploading Classwork
Are you including processes for students to electronically turn in assignments or to electronically assess students? The goal should be for students to adapt to using these methods. If schools are suddenly closed or your school returns to virtual instruction, it will be helpful to have methods like this in place. .
Now I know what you are thinking. Schools are offering in-person learning only, so why use breakout rooms or other virtual protocols. Well, as the Pandemic rages on, we must continue to prepare.
What about Breakout Rooms?
Lastly, Mrs. Parks Shine offers some practical suggestions to integrate into classroom breakout room procedures. Suggestions inlcude:
- Assign specific roles to each student
- Use color-coding to quickly assign these roles to students
- Use email to share assigned links to students who are assigned as recorders.
One of the most difficult things to do within the virtual environment is to keep every student engaged. Be intentional about planning ways to ensure each student feels involved and apart of the virtual community. Doing this will serve as a natural motivator and encourage every student to participate.
Additional Resources to Continue Learning
This topic is covered extensively in Educator Reflection Tips, Volume I and II. Read more here. As always, you can also catch up on previous Ed Tips by visiting the Digital PD 4 You homepage.