Free eBook - Strategies for facilitating online learning for high school teachers

Apr 13, 2020

Hi teachers, 

I have created a new resource for you in the hope it assists you in your transition to providing online learning for your high school students during this challenging time. It is an eBook that contains information on the following topics: 

  • The important of providing clear learning intentions and success criteria during remote learning
  • The best online teaching tools
  • How to structure online lesson plans
  • How to differentiate when teaching online
  • How to incorporate group work into online learning
  • How to foster connection and community during remote learning
  • Tips for Year 11 & 12 students to get the most out of this year (even during a global pandemic)

You can find it in the 'How To' section in the Freebies Vault, along with many other tools, templates and supporting resources. If you are not yet a member of the Freebies Vault, you will need to sign up first here

If you know of anyone else that would benefit from this resource, please send them this...

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Tips for Year 11 & 12 - how to get through a global pandemic

Apr 12, 2020

Many students, especially those in Year 11 & 12, are finding this year very difficult. I remember Year 12 being one of the most difficult and stressful years of my life, let alone having to complete it whilst a global pandemic is going on. 

So to help both you and them,  I have created a resource that you can pass out to your students. I really hope that this provides some assistance to you all in getting through this year. 

You can find it in the Freebies Vault here. If you are not yet a member of the Freebies Vault, you will need to sign up first. 

For more articles about online learning, you may be interested in the following: 

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The importance of clear learning intentions and success criteria

Apr 09, 2020
Professor John Hattie coined the term 'Visible Learning’, which highlights the importance of making the learning process transparent to students, so that they are more able to become successful self-regulated learners. This helps them to develop the skills that they need to become independent and life long learners. 
An important part of visible learning is to make sure students are aware of what they are learning (learning intentions), and how to know when they have learnt it (success criteria). Together, learning intentions and success criteria provide a road map to students so that they can navigate the learning process. Providing students with these at the beginning of a unit or topic, and then constantly referring to them throughout, means that students can self-evaluate and track their progress as they go, and also use them as a study guide when preparing for formal assessments. They can also use them to conduct peer evaluation. 
This also has...
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Fostering connection and community during remote learning

Apr 07, 2020
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids to work together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important” Bill Gates. 
Even though a lot has changed recently, this stays the same. Yes, we are relying much more on technology to communicate with our students, and it can seem very impersonal and removed, but the role of the teacher to connect with and motivate students has never been more important. The more connected that students feel to their teacher and their classmates, the more motivated they will be to engage with the tasks that you set for them. 
This is a strange time, one that none of us foresaw. Thankfully, schools and teachers around the world have been working around the clock to make sure that kids everywhere still have access to education via online and remote learning. How this looks in each school can be very different, depending on access to technology, demographics, skills and budget. It can also depend on...
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Incorporating group work into remote learning

Apr 06, 2020
Group work has a number of important benefits - it fosters the critical skills of collaboration and teamwork, and it develops communication, negotiation and problem solving skills, all of which are very important for future success. 
In addition to this, during this time of remote teaching and online learning students are no doubt feeling quite isolated and lonely. They no longer have the daily interactions with their peers that they are so used to having. So it may be worth trying to incorporate some group work into remote learning, to try and help your students feel connected to their classmates again. 
It’s worth noting however, that this relies on everyone in your class having equal access to technology. If you are in the fortunate position where all of your students do have reliable access, then here are some ideas for how you could include group work into your lessons: 
  • Google Docs or Slides: both of these can be easily shared and...
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How to provide differentiation when teaching online

Apr 03, 2020
If you feel like you have started to get the hang of online teaching and you are ready for a new challenge, it is worth considering how you might be able to provide scaffolding and support to lower ability students so that they don’t become lost or defeated as they try to learn by themselves at home, and also how you could extend and challenge higher ability students so that they don’t get bored. Here are some ideas for how you could do this:     
  • Make the task open-ended: the advantage of open-ended tasks is they might not have just one right answer, and kids can take it as far as they like. 
  • Project work: by their nature, projects are also open-ended and they have scope to provide some student choice which helps with differentiation, as students can choose to work on something that aligns with their interests and abilities. Higher ability/ gifted and talented students can use their project work to stretch and challenge themselves. Support...
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Remote teaching: How to structure an online lesson plan for high school students

Apr 01, 2020
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our world has changed so fast over the last few weeks and as a result, our education system has been flipped on its head. Many teachers, students, and parents are now navigating an entirely new way of learning, so it’s entirely understandable that many teachers are finding it difficult to work out how to best deal with this new situation. 
First of all, let me note that it may be the case that everyone's expectations might need to be a bit lower whilst teaching through this pandemic. It’s hard to know how it might be affecting students emotionally, and we also don’t know their situation at home or how much support they have. They might have to share devices with siblings or parents, or their access to internet might not be great. Older siblings may have to look after younger siblings whilst their parents try to do some work. Teachers may also be struggling at home, trying to look after their own children whilst also...
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The best online teaching tools for high school students

Mar 31, 2020
If you are trying to get ideas together for teaching high school students online, here are some free tools that I have used with great success. I have tried to keep the list fairly concise to the most useful tools (there are so many out there), but if you are feeling overwhelmed just start by choosing one and use it until you get the hang of it, and then try another when you are ready. 
  1. : you can use this to create an online quiz and it will give you a link that you can send out to students.  Students love the interactive nature and instant feedback, especially the memes after each question.  When they complete it, it will give you all of the analytics for individual students and the class as a whole so that you can get an idea on what you may need to go over again. 
  2. : great for learning definitions or concepts. Once the basic info has been inputted it can be used in a variety of ways, including multiple choice...
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Peaceful compliance or noisy engagement?

Mar 13, 2020
What would you prefer to see in your classroom? Peaceful compliance or noisy engagement? 
Often, behaviour management is all about achieving peaceful compliance - that is the goal. Students completing the set work in order to avoid negative consequences. And yes, this is much better than a chaotic, off-task classroom for sure. 
I used to work in an all-girls private school, and here peaceful compliance was the norm. These girls LOVED PowerPoints and worksheets - because they knew how to comply with this. For them, it was a simple as listening, note-taking and then completing the activities. It was in their comfort zone, and it didn’t take a huge amount of effort or brain power. If you didn’t want them to talk, you asked them not to, and they complied (I know, this is the dream right?!). But you know what else it could be? BORING! And the minute that you did ask them to step outside of their comfort zone and try something different, or actually do...
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Engaging your students - what teachers can learn from social media influencers.

Mar 09, 2020
Social media influencers are in a constant race to gain followers and capture the attention of their audience - and in this world of constant scrolling, it is a struggle to keep someones attention for more than 10 seconds.
High school teachers, on the other hand spend on average around 4-5 hours a week with approximately 150 students throughout the year. There is so much potential here to use this time to 'influence' our students (although a better word might be 'impact'). However, whilst we are guaranteed this face-to-face time with our students, the struggle can often be keeping their attention, and more importantly, their interest, as this makes all the difference to their learning and the impact that we can have.
First, lets look at some of the features of successful social media influencers: 
  • Data analysis - social media influencers love their data. They use it to work out what demographic their audience is, what their interests are, what their...
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