Connecting With My Kids While Distance Teaching

Connecting with my kids is definitely a challenge as I continue to navigate teaching from home.  I have put several things in place to try and maintain and grow the relationship that I had developed with my students from September until March.

Connecting With Your Kids On Zoom

One thing I did was create a private Facebook group that I invited all of my parents and students to join.  I have found this to be a great way to reach parents, as many people are on Facebook on a daily basis.  I have had parents and students alike use this forum to reach out to me with questions and comments.  This was also the perfect place to try to keep our classroom community connected by creating posts like Throwback Thursday, which I did last week.  Throughout the day, I posted pictures of the kids that I had taken this year, and I invited kids and parents to add their own pictures from school activities in the comments.

The fifth grade team at my school knew that many of our kids wouldn't want to participate in activities at home unless it was fun.  So, it was our job to try to figure out how to offer fun opportunities for our students.  One of my grade mates had the great idea to set a time each day when kids could count on interaction with their class.  So, Monday through Friday, from 1:00-1:30 my students have the chance to engage with their teachers and classmates in a few different ways.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, that half hour is our Prodigy time.

Prodigy is a video game that involves math, and my students love to play it!  All year long we have played it on Thursdays, and the kids really enjoy it.  The game reinforces math skills, but they also have the opportunity to battle their friends within the game.  My students know if they log in to play from 1:00-1:30 on those three days of the week, they will be able to play with their friends.

Another way that my teaching partner and I are continuing to connect with our kids is with a weekly Zoom meeting.  Our meeting is every Tuesday at the same 1:00 time slot.  This isn't for instruction, but for fun with their teachers and classmates.  Click here for ten fun ways to use Zoom with your class!

So, that just leaves Thursday, which is the day that we play Kahoot!  Kahoot is another fun game that my students have enjoyed throughout the year.  If you have never used Kahoot, you need to check it out!  The kids love it, and it's free!  In class, we would play it all together, but you can easily set up the game as a challenge, so students can play from home and at a time that works for them.  I suggest that they play from 1:00-1:30 just to maintain that routine, but I set the challenge so that it's available for at least 24 hours.  As you play, you can see how you are doing against the other people that are playing.  I wanted the Kahoots that we played to be fun and not necessarily for one particular subject.  So, I spent a couple hours searching for games that had general trivia questions with graphics included for each question.  I found nine different Kahoot games that fit that bill, like the one below.

 I pinned all the games I found to a Pinterest board where I would easily be able to find them again.  You can find that board here or by clicking on the image below.

While I was searching for these games, I stumbled across a few games that people created that had questions that were specific to particular teachers, and I thought great idea!  You could create your own Kahoot with questions about you and your kids to see how much they know about your classroom family!  You could even add pictures of your class that you have taken throughout the year.  Any Kahoot game you create, can also be made private, so other people can't find or use it. 

Need ways to have more fun with your students on Zoom?  Check out 10 Ways to Have Fun With Your Kids on Zoom!

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