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Distance Learning Setup Tips and Tricks

September 28, 2020 by Emily




Whether you are teaching virtually from your classroom or home, we have some Distance Learning Setup Tips and Tricks.  I want to be able to teach from one spot in my home and not be in a different place every day.  (Too much to clean all of the time… 😂)

This space also needs to have materials ready for me to teach some whole and small group lessons, without taking over my entire dining room.  (That’s what happened this last spring… YIKES!)

So, what are some easy ways I can make my distance learning teaching space look like an actual classroom?  We polled teachers from our Fearless First Grade Group and got some awesome tips!

 

Tip #1 ~ Have a Place to Store Everything

“Have a place to store everything. I didn’t and my table became cluttered.” ~ Sarah B.

“I took over my buffet counter with supplies and sat at the end of the table.” ~ Tabytha S.

This completely happened to me during the spring.  We could no longer eat at our dining room table because all of my “school stuff” had taken over.  Our Education to the Core team loves using Iris Project Bins to organize all of our materials.  You can purchase them at Michael’s Arts and Crafts, JoAnn’s, Sam’s Club, Costco, and on Amazon.

It may also be a good idea to invest in a small bookshelf for you and your children to store their textbooks and teaching manuals on.

organize your teaching space to have materials ready while virtually teaching

#2 ~ Have a Fun Background or Blank Wall Behind You

“If you are using a webcam make sure you have a fun background. My first zoom call we watched a cat fight between my two cats happening behind me.” ~ Patricia A.

Having control over what your students see when you are teaching virtually is extremely important.  We have no say in what is happening in their homes, but we can make sure that there aren’t any added distractions on our end.  Put up a background through your virtual platform, or set up your webcam in front of a blank wall.  You can even create your “Calendar Wall” in your home or always teach in front of that space and/or the whiteboard in your classroom.

create a calendar wall or fun background your students can see while you are teaching virtually

Tip #3 ~ Individual Student Materials

“I am giving each of my students their own personal set of textbooks, clipboards, and any other materials they may need each day.  I am planning on teaching from the front of my classroom and have large walkways between desks for any needed student traffic.” ~ Jennifer H.

create personal materials baskets or bags for your students, so they don't have to share with others
Photo Courtesy of Rochelle D.

 

Tip #4 ~ Choose One Set Space

” I hopped around all over the house, dragging everything with me.  It was a nightmare!  This time, I have cleared out one spot in my house to use for “teaching”.  My family knows that they are not to mess with any materials in that area, or leave toys, clothes, or anything else. It’s like my own personal “She Shed”.  LOL” ~ Pamela S.

Having one teaching area allows you to set-up like you would for school.  It also gives your students consistency when they log in to class and see their learning space on the screen.

 

#5 ~ Shower Board Makes a Great Whiteboard

You can grab shower board from Lowe’s and stand it up behind you for an instant white board. I’ve even heard that they will cut it down to your desired size if you want. 😉  Students will be able to better see instruction as you can write much larger on the board.

when setting up your teaching space, shower board is a great substitute for a white board

#6 ~ Get Comfortable

Choose a chair that you enjoy sitting in.  You may be there many hours during the day, which is different for us teachers.  (We are definitely used to getting our “steps” in every day, so teaching virtually is going to be a little hard on our bodies.)  Find a nice chair that will support your back and behind. 😉. With teaching, answering emails, and virtual staff meetings, we will become best friends with this chair.

your teaching space should have a comfortable chair, so that you are not putting added strain on your body when in front of the computer

Tip #7 ~ Get Outside When You Can!

My daughter loved it when her teacher would “meet” with them while outside.  It was a nice change of pace and you get some fresh air.

take your teaching space outside when the weather permits; a breath of fresh air is good for all of us

#8 ~ Have Adequate Lighting

Choose a space that allows for lots of natural light, so that you are not straining your eyes.  We want to make sure that during this time, we are doing the best we can not to damage our eyes.

set up your teaching space in an area with good lighting; we don't need to put added strain on our eyes

#9 ~ Take Time to Recharge

And I don’t just mean your electronic device(s).  Set your “hours” and stick to them.  This last spring many of us were up all hours answering emails and creating virtual curriculum.  Now that we are aware of the plan and expectations, we need to also take care of ourselves.  No more late night email answering!

remember to unplug when the school day is done; even though you are teaching from home, you still need to take time for yourself to recharge

 

Hopefully these Distance Learning Setup Tips and Tricks allow you to create a comfortable “classroom” environment in your own home.  I know that I have definitely taken some of them to heart and hope that this fall brings less frustration, exhaustion, and anxiety to us all.  If you have a tip or trick that is working for you, we would love to hear it!  Please comment below with your ideas. 😊

 

-Written by Janessa Fletcher

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