Free Websites for Remote Teachers

11:50 AM

Is it me or is this the LONGEST school year ever? And it just started! Teachers are stressed to the max trying to adapt to all the new technology and changes. But we'll figure it out, just like we always do. Like you, I'm doing my best to learn all the ways to effectively teach online and I'm sharing a few free resources I've found so far.

I'm going to share some of the digital activities I've been using so far this year to encourage student engagement and interaction. This semester, I'm teaching my college- level education courses virtually, so that means I need to get creative about how I present my lessons.Since I teach future teachers, I'm constantly on the hunt for the best practices and new ideas to try out. I'm sharing a few of them with you today!

And how a fun little brain candy? I also made a silly "What Would You Rather" survey for special education teachers just the sake of fun and procrastination. I'll share that below. Everything I'm sharing today is free.

I've been looking for new ways to encourage student interaction in my virtual classes. I teach education courses at the college level so I need activities that aren't babyish. I've found that websites and activities like Jamboard can be nice alternative to the usual chat and breakout room features of Zoom. You can create sort of a bulletin board that students can interact with in real time.

This week, we learned about autism in my Introduction to the Exceptional Child course. To gauge prior knowledge, I invited my students to share one thing they already knew about autism in the beginning of class. I showed them how to use the Sticky Note feature and watched as they added their "post its" in real time. Here's what they came up with:

In the 10 minutes leading up to my virtual lessons, I usually share my screen with a countdown video playing from YouTube. I think it's a good way to get everyone into the meeting on time and gives them a few minutes chance to chat if they want. I use a different one every week, but here's the one I'm using next (It's a silent countdown with puppies playing).

During the first week of class, we discussed how remote learning affects students in special education. We talked about how the services have been modified to be delivered virtually and the potential impact on the students. Then I shared a survey with the class, asking how remote learning has affected them. It was just a slide I made in PowerPoint that I shared on my screen during our Zoom meeting. I asked my students to use the Annotations tool to "stamp" a star next to the option they most related to. Here are their responses:

I like that this was an anonymous way to get their honest responses. I'd warn teachers of younger students to be careful with the Annotations tool. I've heard of students making (ahem) "inappropriate notes" during live lessons. I'd probably disable the Annotations function with younger students, but so far it hasn't been a problem at the college level.

Next week, I think I'm going to share a survey from Apester just as a fun little activity to get my students ready for our topic of the day. They have a bunch of templates so I'll use one of those and plug in my own text. Here's a silly "Would You Rather" teacher survey I made up to test it out:

Click here to play "Would You Rather: Special Education Teacher Edition" if the widget above doesn't work.

I know a lot of the readers of this blog teach at lower grade levels, but I bet you could have some fun with these features with younger students. Oh and none of this is sponsored, by the way. These are just a few things I've tried along the way this year. I know there are a billion different websites and I'd love to learn about them all.

For those of you teaching in person, be sure to check out my TPT store. I have a ton of freebies and you can download them all right HERE. File folder games are my favorite and lately I'm getting messages from teachers raving about them being the perfect activity to send home with hybrid schedule students. Find out what all the fuss is about file folder games HERE.

If you'd rather save money, I wrote a post about How to Make Your Own File Folder Games that you can read HERE.

Here are a few of my favorite file folder games, available in my TPT shop:

I'm always looking for new ideas, so if you've found something that works for you (and is FREE because, true story, teachers are broke), share it in the comments below. Let's help each other out!

Follow Christy from Exceptional Thinkers (that's me!) on Teachers Pay Teachers, social media (links below), or the Teaching Exceptional Thinkers blog. I can't wait to connect with you!

Follow Exceptional Thinkers on TPT for freebies, sales, and new resources.

Keep teaching. Keep learning.

~Christy from Exceptional Thinkers

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by Christy from Exceptional Thinkers

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