Teaching language virtually can be a challenge! However, there are several ways to make your virtual language activities more effective and engaging. This blog will highlight digital ideas and resources that will help you teach those language and grammar skills in your virtual classroom setting.
Mini Lesson Options
These days, your mini-lessons may look a bit different. However, I have two suggestions for keeping your mini-lessons as “in tact” as possible while teaching virtually.
Firstly, pre-record your lessons. This is simple, but it may take a bit of your planning time each day. For pre-recording your lessons, I would simply gather the materials needed for the lesson and teach to your screen as if students were there. After recording the lesson, you can post it to your online dashboard with the materials linked or attached. The pros for this are: 1. Each student is able to watch the video as many times as they need. 2. You will be free to assist your students as they watch the video/complete the activities. 3. There won’t be any issues with live interruptions or technology.
The second option is the “host” live lessons. This is as simple as a zoom call (or whichever video platform you use). Similarly, you will gather your materials, making sure to link or attach the materials that the students need prior to the lesson. You will teach your lesson over the video platform, as if your students are in the same room.The pros of this method are: 1. You can answer questions and address misconceptions in the moment. 2. Your students are able to interact with you and each other. 3. You’re more likely to have similar attendance each day.
Get Another Introduction with Videos
Similarly, you can use pre-made videos to supplement your mini-lessons. Platforms like BrainPop, BrainPop, Jr., and even YouTube have a variety of educational videos that you can use!
With language and grammar, students need lots of examples and practice. And when distance learning, you will need virtual language activities. So, instead of you having to make extra videos (in addition to your mini-lesson), you can simply find one to share. BrainPop is a great place to start because the videos provide a clear explanation of the skill and come with additional tools. For example, you can access the video’s script, there are quizzes and activities that are tied to the skill, vocabulary, graphic organizers and more!
YouTube also has many high-quality videos of language and grammar skill instruction. There are some wonderful teachers out there whose videos will keep you from having to reinvent the wheel! Quick tip: be sure to purify all YouTube videos through ViewPure so that you can send your students the link without fear of inappropriate ads or suggested videos.
Seesaw and Google Classroom Interactive Activities
After creating your mini-lesson and finding supplemental videos, you are going to need some interactive skill practice for your students. Students can implement these skills using virtual language activities on their devices.
This may look like a digital worksheet or an interactive graphic organizer. As you can see in the example, this virtual language activity allows students to practice using commas in a series. To get a closer look at this and other digital language activities, click here!
Assign Time on Gamifying Websites
Another virtual language activity that I recommend is IXL. You’ve taught your mini-lesson, You may have provided a supplemental video. You assigned an interactive activity. Now, it is time for your students to practice their skills.
If you’ve never used IXL before, go check it out! IXL is a personalized learning site that has interactive practice quizzes for all of the skills that you teach! From Kindergarten to 12th Grade, English to Calculus! Coincidentally, my favorite section of IXL is their language sets. It is great skill practice for students because it provides real-time feedback and personalized guidance. So, if a student is working on a set of nouns and they get a question incorrect, IXL has a descriptive “lesson” to correct the students misconception!
You can find more virtual language activities on Education.com. This is another interactive game-type site for skill practice. It does require a membership/login, but it has lessons, worksheets, games, and more! Students enjoy the games and when they are struggling with a concept, it directs you to resources that can help them!
Learninggamesforkids.com is a collection of games from other websites. If you’re looking for educational games for skill practice that are username and login-free, here is a great place to start!
If All Else Fails, Head Back to the White Board
Finally, if you’re still in need of ways to get your students to skill mastery, head back to the whiteboard! After you have taught your lesson, provided supplemental video and material, had students work with virtual language activities, and practiced their skills online, you may need to host a live lesson!
For me, this looks like a teacher at a white board and students joining the “lesson” from their devices. Students can use mini-whiteboards or paper/pencil to interact with your “Call & Response” type lesson. For example: You are teaching a lesson on nouns. You write a sentence on the board and students need to write down the nouns that are in your example sentence. OR You are teaching a lesson on verb tense. You write a word on the board and students respond to your prompt by writing that verb in different tenses! This virtual language activity is simple. But, it is effective and surprisingly engaging for students who have become used to learning without typical classroom interaction.
Suggested Resources That Will Make Your Life Easier
- Kindergarten Digital Activities
- 1st Grade Digital Activities
- 2nd Grade Digital Activities
- 3rd Grade Digital Activities
- 4th Grade Digital Activities