- This post shares a number of strategies for how to efficiently and effectively manage a virtual classroom.
- Organizational tips to make your virtual classroom work include planning your vision, using a calendar, creating announcements and meaningful assignments, and more.
It all started on fine March day where we had to teach online. Without a choice, we had to teach online without training. It was a global pandemic, without a guide how to do so. But I made it through. I give credit to the platform Brightspace since it is user-friendly for students and teachers.
I love teaching online. It got me to connect with my students and reassess my educational philosophy so that I could understand why I teach the way I teach.
Virtual classrooms can be spaces where student voices shine, parents and teachers support each other, and teaching comes alive!
Organizational Tips to Make Your Virtual Classroom Work!Virtual spaces can be spaces where student voices shine, parents and teachers support each other, and teaching comes alive! Click To Tweet
Plan Your Vision
- I learned the new online platform program by myself.
- I planned with my students and took their work to input and showcase on the banner!
- I asked them for feedback on what kind of timetable they wanted and included it in our online timetable.
- Personalize the page according to how you structure your class and lessons.
- Useful in organizing national holidays and other holidays, as well as professional development days!
- I added due dates for all assignments that were due each month.
- I included special events into the calendar like spring break and winter holidays so that we can look forward to them!
- Virtual journal entries to connect with your students are invaluable!
- I posted all my “Virtual Book Shelves,” “Virtual Classroom Manipulative sites,” and “Mindful Moment Choice Boards” each month.
- Celebrations of artwork from the class or posts where everyone in the class can comment and share links were displayed here.
- Weekly accomplishments were posted for reading and gaming in math!
- Organized lists for STEAM tasks were posted ahead.
- Schedules were posted here for reading groups and timetables so it was easily accessible!
- As: Work that we have done online together on teams to be sent in.
- Of: Tasks to display knowledge like the final projects, posters, videos of workout or specific skill set, gym or music performance.
- For: Examples of reading samples, journal entries, or progress on experiments.
The most important aspect was the individualized personalized feedback and next steps that I could offer each student. For each individual assignment, as their classroom teacher, I made contact with my students to guide them! It is something I used to do in my classroom and it was nice to be able to continue this online!
The feature of voice audio file, video files, and the typed written work with a photograph attached were our favorites this year!
Typing in the assignment, showing an example, and attaching the rubric ahead was the best part of posting engaging tasks.
The Note Book
- I posted unit tabs so that each lesson topic was organized with relevant content.
- I organized all my weekly presentations under each weekly tab for easy access.
- All class collaborative activities such as Jamboards, Google Docs, Word files, and Whiteboard tasks were displayed to revisit and learn from.
The Portfolio App
I handed this one over to my students and parents to collaborate with and send in samples of work that they want to be added to their educational journey, sort of like the memory scrapbook of our virtual learning year together!
Currently, I am using a tool that allows students to download an application. This application allows students to send in videos, voice messages, and pictures into their portfolio so that I can approve and they stay as a memory of work that we completed throughout the year.
You know when you have those projects that you can’t keep—this is that perfect place to store unlimited student work without taking storage space physically.
Instant Messaging for Quick Reference Items
- Passwords: I give my students their own password to make it secure.
- Login information: I send this information to parents to assist students, especially since I teach grade 2. So far students are good at figuring out what to keep secure in order to be digital citizens.
- Teams Meeting Links: These are sent to students’ emails so they have it for reference.
Email Feature to Connect with Students
- Past due dates of assignments that were missed were emailed out as reminders to encourage them to send work in.
- Build a positive classroom climate by teaching how to email with digital responsibility in mind.
- Give students ownership of their own email accounts as they learn typing skills.
Positive Badges for Accomplishments!
- Give badges for accomplishments (you can personalize them to your class). For example, I have badges for Best Motivator and Positive Classroom Attitude. You can create them and assign them to students with a point system so that they can look forward to earning the badge and contributing to our online classroom climate.
- Showcases class contributions on teams from our live classroom discussions!
- Showcases the individuality of each student as I differentiated to encourage and motivate my students.
- User-friendly introduction to blogging for students.
- Options to keep work private or public.
- It’s important for students to know that their voices can be heard.
Your Virtual Classroom
- Personalize it to your classroom. Include student artwork and ideas as you build the platform.
- Make your student voices come out by asking them to share links, reflect, and comment on the page.
- Ensure that your students’ accomplishments are displayed.
Just be yourself, have fun, and embrace the technical challenges and positive outcomes. Take student input as you make a dynamic engaging platform to teach this amazing generation who have lived through this historical pandemic. It’s been an adventure teaching!
Yours in Education,
About Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge
Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge teaches in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada with her family. As an Elementary School Teacher who is passionate about Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights in education, she enjoys teaching the younger generation to be global-minded citizens.
Discovering the world by connecting with others is an opportunity that we have today in our society today and she loves meeting new people! She is always learning while traveling to understand the inter-connectedness of this beautiful earth we live in! Nilmini LOVES cooking great meals, watching movies, and the latest fashion trends! Family and friends are close to her heart as she looks forward to balancing social media and navigating professional learning communities in education to network globally this year!