For our final giveaway of 2020, one lucky reader will win a $200 gift certificate to use at freespirit.com. 🎉🎁📚
To Enter: Leave a comment below telling us something you learned during distance learning that you can bring to in-person learning.
For additional entries, leave a separate comment below for each of the following tasks that you complete:
Each comment counts as a separate entry—that’s three additional chances to win! Entries must be received by midnight, December 18, 2020.
The winner will be contacted via email after December 21, 2020, and will need to respond within one week to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Winner must be a US resident, 18 years of age or older.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.
© 2020 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.
I am so excited to have found your website and the books you publish. My favorites at the moment are the Verdick series. I have learned so much from the back of the book where it has info for parents and teachers. So great to use both in class as a teachers Assistant and as a mom! I have liked you on facebook too!
I’d be so excited to add items to my office for the new year
I learned to start online sessions with something to engage the kids such as a quick sharing about something or brain teaser. This can be used during in-person classes as well.
I learned that children have a “background story” that affects their ability to learn and be present for school. As a school counselor, teachers will say that student is not doing or turning in homework. Being online with children, I have become much more compassionate about the situations/obstacles they face in “doing school.” Some family members can be very helpful; some can build barriers that the children have to overcome.
I learned just how much of the social aspect the children have missed from being around other kids.
One advantage to having virtual meetings with students, especially during this time is you get to see each other without masks on. The children are also just so excited to see and talk to someone.
following on pinterest. Love all the info there!
Liked on facebook!
Following on twitter!
I have learned that we can all use a little support and more compassion. Students need time to answer and permission to “turn off” their camera if they need a moment, in person or virtually…
I have created a Google Site with videos, links, and other useful tips for students to access.
I follow you on Instagram
I follow you on Pinterest.
I falready follow you on Facebook
I have learned about many different sites offering free membership. This allows me to have families help students navigate and see which sites are resourceful. I have been looking for activities that are different from our usual class tasks.
I have learned to sit and wait until the student does the work. If they are refusing, I need to give them a minute of silence, then tell them what I want them to do, give them another minute to decide, and if they don’t do the work still, tell them “you have 3 minutes to make a decision.” If they still refuse, I tell them that I’m going to work on other things and ignore their behaviors (I’m a special ed teacher) until they are ready to work again.
I have been reminded that it is vital we support families. To help them find creative ways to keep play alive, for children to move their bodies, nurture their imagination and minds, and express their emotions and fears. Meaningful Connections are what will make a difference for all of us.
I learned that no one is too old to learn new things.
I learned how to use seesaw.
I learned to make teaching videos and I will continue to do that.
I will continue to use Power Point presentations.
Teaching in the K-2 band, I had to communicate and plan consistently with parents during distance learning. Now that we are back in the classroom, I have kept a similar level of involvement and informing parents in what is happening when the kids are in school. I see so much improvement in my students work now!
I follow you on Twitter. (@ShauntrellLeaks)
I will continue using my Google Classroom. It’s an easy way to keep parents informed.
Pinterest follower here!
I’ve learned that aside from academic goals, we should empower and give tools to our students for strengthening their mental health.
I think that kiddos are being heard more then when in the classroom!
I am a pinterest follower
I follow you on twitter
I already follow you on Facebook!
I have learned to teach organization! My online kids are provided not only digital, but paper packets of materials to use and interact with, and they often lose their papers. So, we started a system of organization for all of our sanity!!!
I liked Free Spirit on Facebook!
Even in distance-learning models, CONNECTION is key, just as in-person relationships must be formed in order for students to reach their most success.
During our didigtal/virtual/distance teaching I have been meeting with students via Google Meet to work through papers they are writing. This has been great becuase we can see one another and we can both see the paper they are writing. It has been a blessing for writing conferneces. I plan on using this feature with face-2-face teaching too as I can meet with studetns during office hours or at other scheduled times outside of class and give feedback/answer questions on any assignments. (Twitter and Facebook follower)
I have learned to allow wait time, which is even more necessary during distance learning. I’ve also been reminded on many occasions that I need to remember that I do not always know what my students are going through, so I need to always respond to them with compassion and grace.
I am now following Free Spirit Publishing on Pinterest.
I liked freespiritpublishing on Facebook!
I can tell while teaching online when a student has had enough and needs a brain break, just like in school.
I learned how to utilize book talks daily in the classroom.
Tech has widened the communication channel with kids – they have multiple ways to send a message and get help which is super nice.
I have learned that no matter the setting relationships are so vital.
I have learned that no matter the setting we need to follow the leads of the children and families needs. All children want engaged and fun learning, we can do this when we are attentive to what the individual needs are to reach them best!
Teaching in a non-traditional environment to begin with, and then having to go virtual with what I do, I must admit that I lost quite a few students–they simply stopped completing their work. Not that they really wanted to be here to begin with (Juvenile Diversion Program for Life Skills, etc.), but as my numbers dwindled, I found that the students remaining really enjoyed getting away from Zoom, WebEx and using FaceTime instead. I guess it felt more personal and conversational. In using that with my students and simply making the effort to have more one-to-one contact with them via email at least once a week when not holding class, that made the most difference.
I have a greater appreciation of the relationships formed in-person and will try to remember how important that is when we get back to non-virtual connections.
I learned about distance learning that all children around the world can have an education at home whether they are enrolled or not enrolled in school. The priority for families with teachers to build a foundation to love learning with experiences, explorations in the environment and being resourceful. I was able to step out of my comfort zone to teach on camera. I learned to use the tools available online by connecting with other educators around the world. Understanding the different ways to connect virtually whether is facetime, google meet, zoom and so forth. I learn to be more mindful of self-care daily when caring for others needs every day. I am competent to create a Bitmoji class with youtube tutorials and make my own sensory bag at home. The possibilities are endless and has open many opportunities about home learning goes in hand with in person school learning. Being engaged to use PBS resources and teaching SEL by checking in with families and children.
Remote learning has challenged me to find new types of activities to engage my students. Every lesson now also includes a check-in – how is each kiddo doing? The lack of in person connection means the direct activities to check in and connect are even more important now. I am grateful for the resources through Free Spirit to help me navigate this challenging process.
I have learned checking with children one on one is more educational for me and for them. Getting to know how they work and where they need the extra help is more fundamental for me. Yes it takes more time but the reward is even more than I expected!
I’ve learned all about boom cards! I love them!
spending more time working on students social emotional skils
I followed you on Pinterest
I learned more engaging students online. Not only using technology to learn and do research, but also using as a tool for live assessments and small group lessons.
It’s important to check in with every student.
The value of story telling and impact it can have on children and their families
Media literacy is extremely important for children in today’s world!
I have learned that kindergarten kids do much better learning and participating in learning in person. I am thankful that our kids have been able to come back to the building so we can help them in person with their physical and emotional needs. We found out the kids and parents have a difficult time with technology. They spent most of the learning time working on technology on not coming on at all. It is also great to be able to give them hands on materials that they can use to learn with. I would love to be able to purchase your materials to use for our kids to help them through these difficult times. Thank you!
I learned to use videos effectively to enhance my teaching. I also learned to be more expressive in my face so that it is easier for the kids to understand.
The creativity that had to be brought to lessons to engage students online! I won’t forget to bring all of that back into the classroom!
I am a counselor and learned that, for sessions online, it is a lot of fun to see kids and families learn to play together and read together to grow in their relationships.
I have learned how to expand learning from stories and creating activities that further their appreciation and understanding of what they read. How reading can be fun and how to explore it further and ask more questions.
I have learned that some children do very well with remote learning while others do not. I learned that children can enjoy my reading a book to them online as well as in person. I learned that patience and persistence are very helpful traits during this time, and compassion is critical to the hearts of all.
I’ve “Liked” On FB.
My teacher candidate students are under tremendous stress. All of us struggle to focus at times which requires flexibility all around.
I’ve learned to give more grace to my students.
Following on Pinterest
Following on Twitter
Liked on Facebook
Allow for more creativity and offer more choices for ways to show knowledge and/or mastery of content.
I learned I must build in time during each Zoom class for movement. Whether it is a few yoga poses, a quick game of Hokey Pokey or movement to a learning video, Pre-K and Kindergarteners need that release and refreshment.
I learned to That using everyday items in the house make for great learning tools. As Teachers we tend to feel that everything needs to be bought or supplied and forget how we can use our surroundings for supplies. Recycling items not only work for projects it enhances the STEM. The children loved making patterns with silverware and classifying with socks! such a fun Idea.
I learned that spending that quality time with children asking them how they are doing is crucial in the beginning of the zoom is important. This can be applied to group time sessions as well.
I learned how important SEL (Social Emotional Learning) is in teaching. Checking in on Social Emotional well being will transform my teaching from here on and it will dictate how I deliver my lessons
I have learned more about the importance of giving students a place to be heard, and a safe place to just have fun and connect. i have also learned about some great resources!!!
I learned that most students want to learn, and working to make it happen. And not to let technology keep students from being able to be successful.
First I need to say Thank You!! You have helped me survive the world of technology. Being older, virtual teaching is a new animal in itself. Having been bounced between online and in school has been a challenge for all of us but having the tools and resources to create a comfortable, interesting and fun learning environment has helped ease the emotional roller-coaster and the anxiety levels of the kids…and me. Our Google Classroom has become a safe place where they can just try their best and making mistakes is okay….we do point out my mistakes and see that I too am learning.
I have followed you on Twitter
I learned that merely reaching out to students to check in via email can make a big difference in a child being heard and feeling valued.
I have followed you on Pinterest
Time and relationship with child and family. You have to expand on both. It might not be easiest but it will help.
Thank goodness for your books! I work in a school for kids with learning differences, and our S&L teachers and Psychological Services teams use them all the time!!
I learned how to use Breakout rooms on the Zoom platform, as well as poll questions. Once we are safe to return to in- person learning I will continue to use some type of pollo questiom to get the class started and offer more time for small groups for students to share ideas/ thoughts!
Utilizing student choice and Universal Design for Learning to engage all learners- in person and virtually.
I followed you on Twitter.
I followed you on Facebook.
I followed you on Pinterest.
I have learned so many new digital platforms. It has been both exciting and frustrating, but my students are so eager to learn and they have made this year bearable.
I’ve learned to give it time. Not to panic when the kids don’t show up — they will.
I realized that you can connect with students on line almost as well as in person.
You have to work at making it personal because they don’t have the social cues like available in person ( eye contact, inflection and body language). Love this Blog.
I’ve learned a lot about technology and to give time to explore the tools for me AND my students. 🙂 I’ve learned to check-in daily to see where they are in their mental space.
Patience with others. No matter if it is parents or children, I need to show more empathy towards them. Covid has been hard on all of us.
Better use of Google Classroom, Google Slides, Boom, and Jamboard. This will continue in-person.
I am reminded that it takes a partnership between parent and teacher to foster a love of learning and it is this collaboration that children can see and model going forward.
I learned to make typical household items work as learning tools. I was forced to think outside the box and be creativity. This will translate back into my classroom. Supplies do not have to always be purchased. We have repurposed can tabs, bottle tops, boxes, all sorts of items that would have been thrown out. (Zippers, buttons, socks missing a mate/match, cans, fiberfill from old pillows, liquid laundry soap caps, pringles cylinders, Unstoppables cannisters, old magazines, dried out pens, crayon stubs, used/leftover wrapping paper, bubble wrap, various packaging items like foam peanuts, plastic corners or edges, etc. Junk mail envelopes. We are helping the planet and being resourceful. That doesn’t have to stop. Save a planet and save money at the same time!
I have learned how much I enjoy working with children and families in person. Our program is doing amazing work virtually but I realized how much I need the sound of little feet in the hallways.
Remote teaching has taught me more about technology and how to use it effectively with my students for sure. However, I have learned more that there is no substitute for in-person teaching/learning and I have learned to cherish my time with my students and use each day I can be with them to the fullest to build those lasting relationships so I can influence them not only in academic learning but also in life.
I have learned that students need multiple avenues to demonstrate their learning.
I learned to have fun and play games with the kids online – sometimes silly games get them talking – not always using the items purchased in my office – get creative when you don’t have access to everything. Kids will talk just get to their level and something that interests them.
I learned that online collaboration is VERY effective and is something that students can (and should) learn to do.
I followed you on Facebook!
I learned that parents truly are the heroes. As we go through this virtual, keeping in mind that they know their child best, bringing back to the table, engagement and communication with the families is still extremely important.
I follow on Pinterest.
I do home visits and I have learned to let parents take the lead with their children. It’s much easier when I’m not physically present.
Over this period of remote learning, I have learned so many things. One, to really allow time for processing and pausing, two, to focus on the whole child and take the time to get to know them not as students but as people, three, how to work to engage parents in their child’s learning and make them the experts on their child’s needs.
I follow you on Twitter.
I follow you on Facebook.
I’ve learned that checking in with every student every day is very important. Each child needs to feel seen.
I learned that students need extra support during remote not less.
I actually work in a center where we support children who are remote learning – my teachers have become more engaged as they are a resource for the children – they know all their schedules to ensure they go on. We also make sure that they still get outside after ‘school day’ is over.
Followed on pinterest
Social media is a great way to share SEL content with students, through an official IG account of something.
I learned of many excellent resources to bring into the classroom. I also learned how important social emotional health is and different ways of connecting to students and building rapport.
I have learned that it takes so much with the virtual students that maybe I am not giving enough to my students in person too.
The greater focus on SEL and our students’ mental health has been a great reminder during this time and will translate effectively into any kind of setting.
I have learned even more how important it is to make sure to understand someone’s learning style and not to assume that they understand.
I realized that the success of learning depends on consciously building in opportunities for connection; with hybrid learning you can’t check in as easily by noticing a facial expression or posture.
I have learned to listen more when a child wants to talk about anything and to try to spend more time with each child.
following on pinterest
I learned new apps and websites that I will definitely bring to the classroom. Children engage with technology and fun games and we can still use them in presence.
Liked on Facebook
I followed your page on Pinterest.
I liked your page on Facebook.
I have learned to be more intentional about time and transitions. Thinking and doing takes longer than I would anticipate in my physical classroom. It also takes time to build those relationships, to do social-emotional check-ins, to connect with students who tend to be quiet, shy, or uninvolved. Patience and planning!
I liked this page on Facebook.
No matter what life throws at you, you have got to be ready to modify and adjust to our ever changing world and the needs of our students.
I learned that kids rise to a challenge and are far more capable than we sometimes give them credit for in the rush of the busy day. I also learned the importance of relationship in getting kids engaged.
I have learned to support our families and our amazing high school students each day. I am also happy to see our students online each day and our Special Education students feel confident reading out loud and feeling safe each day.
I learned how to make a bitmoji classroom that I can customize and have available to students all year round.
Using different technology to engage the students.
I have learned about the power of just listening when others are speaking and giving them ample time to get their thoughts and ideas out! Also the importance of seeing and actively looking at people’s face for those important cues will be something that I will never take for granted again once more in-person and face to face contact can happen again!!
I’ve learned to be a better listener and to be ok with silence
I have learned that integrating social-emotional learning to our lessons makes our teaching more meaningful and sets a close relationship with the students. So, I will keep integrating social-emotional learning to my face-to-face teaching.
I have learned new ways to support all of our high school students and make them feel safe each day in our Virutal Classooms. I have learned to support families as well. This is has a new and positive experience.
I’ve learned more communication techniques – especially looking at teaching and including more SEL into my virtual classroom.
I followed you on FB!
I followed you on Twitter!
I have learned that trauma sensitive teaching and social emotional awareness are worth their weight in gold no matter what the setting. Having kids work remotely has stressed the importance of the empathy we all need. I have been reminded in the value of frequent parent & family communication. It really does take a village!
I have learned that a physical presence and reassurance is very important as well as smile.
I’ve gotten much better at creating digital lessons and activities that can be used in any setting.
I followed you on Twitter
I followed you on Pinterest!
I have learned the vulnerability of students and the importance of connection. For some of our kiddos, the daily connection is so very important and makes a difference in their day!
I liked you on Facebook
I think I have learned to let the small things go…as long as my students are reading and learning, I can breathe a little better!
Something I thought I already knew and was definitely confirmed – distance learning doesn’t work well for most PreK students and families. But we’ve (my coworker and I) really enjoyed being creative and sharing with our small group of remote learners in our PreK program! As far as virtual meetings with staff – I’ve learned it’s important to have them participate via video and have their camera on rather than just audio-only. It’s important to see one another while you communicate.
As a school psychologist I think I had become accustomed to working with students who struggle in school and feel discouraged. Working remotely I appreciate how much the students have lost. When we return to the building I look forward to a renewed focus on community and a celebration of all of the things about school that bring children joy.
I learned to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the life of my students at home so I can be more sensitive to their needs that they may have in the classroom.
I’ve learned that we don’t ever have to return to “in-person* the way it has been. I do a lot of work around family engagement- and having a hybrid structure really does allow for greater access- families can join in person when it is safe to do so, but can also jump into the conversation online and be with us virtually as well. Also, the resiliency of my own child has really opened my eyes to just how mature she is, even at age 10. It has reminded me that she will keep growing no matter what the world throws at us, and I must ride the wave and support her through it all.
I have learned that flexibility is just as important as relationships. Yes, they stay home all day, mostly, but we have no idea what they are having to deal with at home. I have all seniors and many of them have to work during the day since they are available and many have to help care for younger family members. Put yourself in their shoes.
The most important thing I have learned is to pay more attention to the quiet students. Those students who do not ask for help, do not reach out, and do not SEEM to need me. They are the ones who need me most. In the beginning of distance learning last March, I found myself giving attention to the students who were most vocal during distance learn. after a few weeks, I realized I wasn’t hearing from those who do not speak up in class. This caused me to check in with them more frequently. Now that we are back in class, I am going to those students and purposely giving them more attention, asking them what they need, how can I help, and even just jumping in to help whether they ask or not. I have seen such an improvement with their work. Their hesitation to get started due to fear of failure has been slowly disappearing! It was such an eye opener to realize it only took some extra attention to help them. In the past, when students didn’t ask for help, I took it as them not wanting help. In reality, they were just shy and needed me. I felt I should have known.
Be present and listen
I followed you on Pinteret!!
I followed you on Twitter!
Using my google classroom.
I learned a lot of mindfulness strategies that I plan on bringing into my classroom
I have learned to enjoy the time I have with my students. I also will bring the idea of giving grace, everyone has a different story and life outside school so we just need to support each other and give grace.
I learned how important it is to explain the at-home working space the students should create with parents to make sure they are able to work effectively and efficiently on homework assignments.
I liked you on Facebook 😀
I have learned that my child does much better than going to brick and mortar because she isn’t pulled in to all of the distractions which caused her anxiety.
I learned that taking 5 minutes for social/emotional activities is crucial. In person learning, sometimes we’d do it “if I had time”. Now I know to make the time.
I learned new websites and boom cards! I know the students will enjoy that whether in-person or virtual!
I have learned that I need to give the children more time to answer any of my questions.