While we may be teaching remotely in the next few weeks due to the Coronavirus, it will still be important to sooth our students’ anxiety – maybe even more important! As we transition to remote teaching and learning, connecting with and assisting our students will be of the utmost importance.
Here are some ideas to help you do just that!
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Addressing students’ anxiety… it’s something we do nearly every day in our teaching, but it’s kind of hard to do when your school is closed and you are teaching remotely. Or is it?
We all know students who are dealing with anxiety in school, but does that anxiety go away when students need to start working and learning remotely from home? No. Unfortunately not. And in some cases, students’ anxiety may actually ramp up with this new situation and in midst of the pandemic we are faced with.
But there are ways we can help those students even if we are not working with them face to face.
Today, I’d like to look at some ways to go about this.
The first and most important thing is to stay connected to your students. This is one of those 3Cs of a SEAL Teacher and I talk about it in more detail in this video of why it’s so important.
But even if we are not physically with our students, we can still connect with them.
There are so many ways to do this now with technology. Maybe you start a Twitter account for your class if you don’t already have one. Maybe you monitor and guide the comment section of your Google Classroom. I know a couple of teachers who have started TikTok accounts to connect with their students.
Now, if you haven’t already heard, Loom is making their services free for educators and students. Loom is a screen and video recording software which means you can record a video from your computer and send your student the link in an email and they can click it and watch it. You can do a video of your face or even share your screen in the video. So if you wanted to show instructions on how to do something like navigate Google Classroom or explain the dashboard of IXL, you could.
For me, I’ve started already by just recording a simple message for my students and their families. Why? Because I believe that seeing their teacher’s face is a good way to help with any anxiety my students may have.
Here’s my Loom video.
Now, another way I plan to help with my students’ anxiety is through music using one of my favorite SEAL strategies, Soundtracking and you can learn more about that strategy in THIS video here.
I’ve been using Soundtracking in my classroom all school year, but even if you’ve only just started or even if you haven’t tried it yet, you could still share some music with your students to help them at home as they work.
My plan is to send my students a playlist of the relaxing music that we usually listen to during work time and also send them a playlist of the upbeat songs we listen to when they are just entering the room.
I use YouTube for these playlists and I have them here on my channel under my playlists. Feel free to use them too and send them out to your students.
Next, along with the online curriculum work my students will have to do, I hope to continue some of the nice SEAL routines we have put in place in our classroom. Soundtracking is certainly one of them, but gratitude is another.
In Google Classroom, you can chat it up with your students and I’m setting up a comment thread where students can check in each day and add 3 things they are grateful for. Why? Well, acknowledging what you are grateful for is a great way to help with anxiety. It allows you to realize what you do indeed have instead of focusing on the negative.
I’ve been doing this type of exercise with my class inside of school and I think that right now is a great time to focus in on that as well.
Finally, another SEAL strategy I plan to continue with is Friendly Friday. Friendly Friday is an activity where students create something simple for another student, like a card or a note and then give it to them at the end of the day on Friday. The person they give to is chosen randomly as they pick names out of a hat and then they go off and secretly create something like a picture or a card or a note to give to them. You can learn more about Friendly Fridays in this article here that I wrote for Edutopia. I’ll link to it in the description.
Now for this to be done online, you’ll need to tell each student who their person is so they can write a friendly message to them. OR, you could start a new assignment and have students comment in with their own friendly or positive message to share with the whole class. Honestly, to get started, this is what I’m going to do. Start an assignment and invite anyone who can to add a positive message to the class.
Sharing these connections with each other is just so important as we face a new way of teaching and learning. And it certainly can help with any anxiety your students or YOU may feel as you navigate new waters.
I hope you got some good ideas to think about and try now that you may be teaching remoting all the while helping your students to feel at ease with this new situation we are faced with.
And speaking of YOU – this is a great time to join our online community of teachers, a group of other Inspiring Teachers just like you who love to share and chat about teaching and learning in a way that truly inspires their students while also inspiring and taking care of themselves.
As always, if you like this video, please let me know by liking it below, subscribe and share it with your fellow teacher friends. And comment below to let me know what ways you like to connect with your students.
I’m Elizabeth Peterson. Thank you so much for watching. I wish you health and safety in the next weeks. And remember to keep inspiring yourself so that you can be inspiring to your students.
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