Hey teachers! I don’t even know where to begin. My emotions are all over the place. I haven’t been to school in two days and I am going crazy. I miss my students, my coworkers, my routines, and everything else that is taken away from us for the safety of everyone! I live in Illinois and the governor declared no school from March 17-March 30th. Our district has declared these “Act of God” days, meaning we will not be making these up. These are NOT e-learning days either. We have not heard if or when we will be doing e-learning, but we are all expecting it soon. We are very fortunate that all students in our district grades 6-12 are 1:1 with Chromebooks.
In preparation for e-learning, I wanted to put together a list of resources I will be utilizing, as well as suggestions from others via Instagram. I am honestly overwhelmed myself with where to start with all of this. I just knew that I wanted to help everyone else out as well. Please feel free to share with anyone and everyone. We are all truly in this together.
Google Classroom is the #1 tool I will be using if/when we go to e-learning. Thankfully the students have been using Google Classroom all year. In order to set this up, your students do have to have a Google email address through your school. Through Google Classroom I can post questions, videos, assignments, links to other websites and resources, and more. The students can comment on posts to communicate with each other and me. The set up is super easy and the students just need a code to enter your private classroom. Since I teach 5 sections of science, I have a classroom for each section. I would HIGHLY recommend looking into this if you know your students have Google accounts.
Google Forms can be used for so many different things such as digital escape rooms (Ty from Cook in the Classroom has the best!) to assessments. I have seen so many teachers on Instagram use Google Forms as a way to do “attendance” and check in with their students every day. (Check out @alattelearning and @hellomrsharwick on Instagram for more info on student check ins.)
I have only used Google Hangouts from a business point of view. I have had a few calls with companies and districts using Google Hangouts. It is basically a video conference call! You just set up a time and send the link out to whoever you want to meet with! They click the link at that set time and it is like a group FaceTime! I would love to do this with my students in the future. You can see your students and they can see you! My brother just said that he signed my niece up for a Google Hangout with her teacher and 5 friends for later this week. How cool! They plan on talking about what they have done this week, as well as just catching up and talking with each other.
Google Hangouts & Zoom are the two most popular ways to have online “class.” If you are asking for my opinion, I plan on using Zoom! SO many teachers have been sharing their computer screens with the faces of their coworkers or students! Zoom is a way to have “class” online while still seeing your students face to face. Many schools have been having faculty meetings using this sight, as well as weekly classes so teachers can meet with their students. If we do go to e-learning, I would love to meet with each of my classes at least ONCE a week. The main difference between Zoom & Google Hangouts is that Zoom can hold a lot more people at once. On Zoom you can also have a little more fun and change the background behind you! Want your background to be of outer space? Done! Want it to be of your classroom? Done! If we do get the green light for e-learning, Zoom will be my new #1 resource.
Screencastify is an extension of Google Chrome! My students use this all the time when they are creating projects. They love recording themselves, so we use this! From an e-learning point of view, I would use Screencastify to record myself giving lessons. What is cool about this video recording site is that it can record YOU, while also recording your screen! You can be talking as you are walking your students through a new website, assignment, etc.
Canva can be used for so many different things! I used Canva to create the images you see here! My students have used Canva to create posters and brochures. This is a fun platform for your kids to get creative! Once they have done the background or the research, they get to choose how they complete the project. There are thousands of free templates or they can start from scratch!
Quizizz is a great review game for students. My kids love playing this before a quiz or test. The best part is that you can either create your own questions or you can search the thousands of quizzes that are already made! You can search through the question bank and add premade questions. SO EASY. Playing LIVE is the best, but not being with your students can be difficult. There is a “homework” option where the students can play the game at their own pace as many times as they want! I just post this on Google Classroom and then the kids can play it at home!
Quizlet is another review website. This is mainly for reviewing vocabulary. You create a deck of cards that the students can study. They can review flash cards or play a couple of games. @iteachalgebra on Instagram has been playing Quizlet LIVE! with her students while everyone is at home! She just posts when she is going to make the game live and students jump on. How fun?!
I use Flipgrid a TON at the beginning of the year. It is a great tool to get to know your students. Flipgrid acts like a social media app, but for the classroom! You create a “class,” similar to Google Classroom. Your students enter the class through a code. The students can do this through the Flipgrid website or the app! My students prefer the app. You create a topic with questions and the students record a video to answer the questions. The time limit is 5 minutes. The students can comment, like, or reply using a video! My students love this because they all want to be YouTube stars! You could have your students do book talks, go outside and tell us the type of clouds that are outside, or just share what they have been doing. I just assigned an optional Flipgrid assignment yesterday and I love seeing videos of my students! I miss them!! My friend, Ty, from Cook in the Classroom made this Google Doc of directions for Flipgrid.
EDpuzzle is a great website that I utilize during “normal” instruction! You choose from the millions of videos on YouTube. There are pre-made puzzles or you can make your own. Once you choose a video, then you can choose when to stop or pause the video and ask your students questions! What I love is that the students cannot skip or fast forward the video 🙂 They cannot move on until they answer the question! I assign this through Google Classroom. Highly recommend!
These are my favorite science YouTube channels that I use in my classroom! I usually use these to introduce or review a topic. Some of these channels are quick, informational videos whereas others are videos of labs that can be done at home!
I have loved on Generation Genius for almost a year now! Think Bill Nye, but updated! These are 10 minute videos on almost every science topic you can think of! They are categorized by grade level. There are videos for K-2, 3-5, and coming in the fall is 6-8. I teach 6th grade and I still show the 3-5 videos! There are 3 videos out now for 6-8 grades and the rest will be released in the fall! Usually, Generation Genius is $120 a year, but considering the state of the world right now they have opened it up for teachers, students and parents. I absolutely love these videos and so do my students! They are informative, engaging, and also include an “at home” piece so your students can do a mini lab at home! Just share the link with your students and they can watch it from home.
This is a website that encourages students to ask questions! Doug answers a question a week that is submitted by a student. Throughout the video, Doug will help your students find the answer the the question. The videos range from 1-5 minutes. This is a great video series that encourages our students to become scientists and ask questions!!
BrainPop is another video website that I use in my daily instruction. This too was a paid for resource, but they have made it free for everyone to use. There are BrainPop and BrianPop Jr. for younger kids. I use BrainPop in my classroom. These are animated videos that are around 3-5 minutes long. My students love Tim & Moby!
Science Podcasts for Kids
Podcasts are HUGE right now! I listen to them daily and I just started using them in my classroom last year. I would use them as stations, but you can easily send out a link to a specific podcast for your students to listen to. You can access them through the websites linked, as well as the Apple Podcast app.
NatGeoKids has science labs that students, parents, and families can do at home! A few of these would be great to put on an activity board for your students to complete while they are at home!
Every weekday at 3pm EST the Cincinnati Zoo has a Home Safari where they highlight a different animal! After, they provide at home activities on their website. This is SO COOL! I know so many kids of all ages who would love this. Hannah West from Miss Wests Bests created recording sheets for students to complete during the videos! Those can be found here.
Phet Colorado Simulations are for Elementary, Middle School, High School students.I used to use these simulations ALL THE TIME when I taught only physical science. These simulations are great for showing students science that is not always easy to see. My favorites are: Build a Molecule, Energy Skate Park, Force and Motion Basics. Make sure your computer is compatible before you send them to your students! Click “launch” to make sure they work on your device!
Mystery Science is another paid for subscription for K-5 science lessons. They have opened up their most popular lessons and posted them for free for teachers, students, and parents to use! There are full lessons with videos, hands on activities, and lesson outlines with materials needed. This is a GREAT tool to utilize during this time!!
Please, please, please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone. We all need to stick together! Please let me know what else would be helpful during this time. Stay safe everyone!!