As we prepare for another period of remote learning, I have summarised some tools and approaches that Sandringham teachers have found helpful. These recommendations were suggested last term as we reflected on our experience of remote learning in the summer, shared what approaches were particularly helpful, including those we continued to use when back in the classroom.
To clarify, we use the Google platform at Sandringham and so many of the suggestions relate to the Google Suite of tools. Any words underlined in the text below include links to short videos.
1) Share your screen in a Google Meet to show your class a Google Slide deck or PowerPoint – be careful to limit text and images on each slide and/or use animations to limit overloading students’ working memory. Remember that on Google Slides there is a pointer tool which you can access by hovering at the bottom of your slide – great for pointing out details and key points.
2) Share your screen in a Google Meet to show your class the whiteboard tool Jamboard which allows you to draw, type and use a laser pen function to highlight different things as you explain – great for showing models and worked examples. It is saved automatically and can be shared to Google Classroom.
3) Share your screen in a Google Meet to show your class the view from your visualiser – really useful to be able to write/ draw with a pen or other tools.
4) Join a Google Meet with your iPad and use a stylus and the Notes app (or Jamboard) to create a visualiser.
5) Use pre-recorded explanations of different topics recorded by you (e.g. on Loom), from the Khan Academy or other reliable sites.
Formative assessment of new material
1) Use the chat function in a Google Meet to assess understanding of all students if answers are one/few words/numbers – tell students to type answers but not press ‘enter’ until they have had sufficient thinking/working out time then, pressing enter on the count of three will prevent copying, help you see answers simultaneously and quickly spot if you need to correct/re-explain.
2) Create a question in Google Classroom to assess all students’ understanding – these can be short answer or multiple choice and can be set for students to work on independently or you can allow them to see and comment on their peers’ answers.
3) Use a Google Form to set a series of questions of varying formats to all students – you can view the answers in real time within Google Forms or in one click these can be exported to a Google Sheet, you are also able to turn on self-marking functionality.
4) Ask questions verbally to your class during a Google Meet, giving thinking time before selecting a student(s) – this can be slower as students have to turn their microphones on and off and perhaps more suitable for smaller classes.
5) Use quizzing software to gauge all students’ understanding of new material (see quizzing section below)
1) Students complete set work in their books/ booklets/ folders as normal and the teacher decides if completion is to be checked (e.g. through a photo submitted on Google Classroom)
2) Students complete their work online through an assignment on Google Classroom which makes it possible for the teacher to see students working in real time and teachers can add comments at any time and give overall feedback/ a mark when work is ‘turned in’ – ensure you ‘make a copy for each student’ when setting the assignment.
3) Students can complete written work at home to be turned in and assessed via the assignment function on Google Classroom – the smoothest tools for students to use to scan and upload their work is through the Notes function on an iPhone/iPad or Microsoft Lens which they use to photograph their work and the app collates individual photos into one pdf file.
4) Students can work collaboratively on the same document through completing one part of a larger task (e.g. one question from a series, one column/row of a table, one PPoint slide) and teachers can see students working in real time – this can be set through posting a link as an assignment or lesson material on Google Classroom.
5) A tool similar to assignments on Google Classroom is Classkick which enables teachers to see students work as they go and allows them to provide feedback.
1) In-lesson whole class feedback is useful if questioning or a live task has taken place in the lesson such as through assignments or Google Forms – mistakes can be flagged for students to correct or misconceptions can be addressed through a short bit of re-teaching.
2) If students are working on an assignment or have submitted it in Google Classroom, teachers can read and comment on students’ work – see this video about how to use comments and comment banks (thanks to Andy Cracknell for this).
3) Teachers can mark work in line with pre-set rubrics/ mark bands / marking criteria through the rubric function in assignments on Google Classroom – see this video which explains how to do this (thanks to Fergal Moane for this).
There are a whole host of quizzing tools that can be used to gauge understanding of new material taught in the lesson and to assess learning and retention of knowledge from past topics. Apps used regularly by staff at Sandringham are as follows (and for Sandringham staff, they can all be accessed via MySandtorm). They all allow tracking of question completion and help to identify the most and least successful questions: