Back to School Spanish: Distance Learning Activities and Resources
It’s that time of year again! Summer is winding down and parents are stocking up on school supplies. But this year’s preparation is different.
For teachers preparing for long-distance instruction, the prospect of eight months of online classes can be daunting. Fear not! This list of essential resources and activities will help make the upcoming school year a success.
Top Teaching Resources and Activities for Long-Distance Learning
Whether or not this is your first time teaching online, preparing a whole semester or year’s worth of material and activities to be taught digitally is a major undertaking. You aren’t able to engage with the students in person, and it’s more difficult to assess their learning.
With the right tools, resources, and activities, you can be sure that your students are learning despite the physical distance. Use the following ideas to engage your students. Once you are back in the classroom, these tools make for fun online activities.
Online teaching can be limiting without the right tools. If you are used to using a whiteboard or walking students through activities step-by-step, there are some great digital tools that you can use. It won’t be quite the same as in-class resources, but they do make teaching a lot easier!
Every school district is handling distance learning differently; some are implementing video classes while others are emailing assignments. Either way, try out the following apps for easy video calls with one or multiple students.
Some of the more well-known options are Zoom and Google Hangouts (or the newer version, Google Meets). Another great choice is GoToMeeting. Each application has its strengths, but all have the capacity to teach dozens of students and utilize screen-sharing for easy teaching.
If you would like to explain how to do the homework, help out a particular student, or show detailed steps of an equation, a great option is to create your own video and send it to your students. That way, they can save the video and review it at a later date, and you also have it as a resource to reuse if necessary.
Our top options for making videos are Screecastify and Screencast O’Matic. Both options are excellent, but your choice depends on the purpose of the video. For example, if you want to draw on the screen while recording, go with Screencastify. If you want a watermark-free video to present to your colleagues or students, utilize Screencast O’Matic.
If you want a whiteboard to use in class or in your Screencast videos, some incredible options are BitPaper and Kami. Go over math problems, conjugations, and science experiments with your students by collaborating with BitPaper. Various people can work on the paper together, and it is a fantastic tool for group collaboration and teacher explanation. Kami turns existing documents into interactive documents, which is a huge help with reading assignments, math homework, and general explanations.
Foreign Language Resources
When going back to school online, one of the more difficult subjects to keep up with is foreign language, especially if your school does not offer video classes. Depending on how your school has language classes set up, there are numerous resources available to ensure your students don’t lose fluency while practicing social distancing.
Language-learning applications are popular for a reason. They are fun and easy to use, slightly addictive, and actually help you learn a language. Some of the top apps are Duolingo, Babble, Memrise, and Beelinguapp. These can be used as supplementary activities, homework assignments, or even as the main class.
If your school does not offer live classes with a language teacher, it is worth bringing up the option of online classes with an external company. There are numerous companies available, such as iTalki, Tandem, and Verbal Planet. However, these options might not be the best choice for younger students or high schoolers looking for credit. A wonderful choice for preschoolers is Panda Tree, while Homeschool Spanish Academy offers high school credit and classes for students of all ages.
Primary Education Help
Going back to school without friends and hands-on activities can be difficult for younger students. If you see your little learners getting frustrated, spice things up with some of these resources.
Both Scholastic and PBS kids offer numerous activities and videos. Scholastic actually has a special Magic School Bus page that can be paired with the updated Netflix version of the show. These videos are an interesting way to start a science class or introduce a topic. PBS offers tons of educational videos and activities to engage your students.
For some fun music classes, check out the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). They have put together an amazing list of resources for all types of music lessons for your students. If you need activities for art classes, look at Art with Jenny K. She offers various activities that you can use specifically for an art class or in other subjects.
Try using Math is Fun to supplement your classes and give your students a visual take on elementary math problems. Finally, for a little something of everything, visit Seussville. You can send the worksheets and online books to your students and work on the projects with them. This site is the perfect way to bring Dr. Seuss’s books to life.
High School Help
While older kids have a better handle on their homework, it is still important to engage them and get them excited about learning as they head back to school online. These students might even need more attention and guidance as they apply to colleges, take the SAT, and grapple with more advanced subjects.
One of the best resources for high schoolers is Khan Academy. They have clear explanation videos on every math topic imaginable, as well as on test preparation, science topics, and humanities. Furthermore, the website is incredibly easy to use and includes lessons, quizzes, and homework.
HippoCampus and Albert offer similar platforms for a variety of subjects. Albert offers specific practice exercises and quizzes, while HippoCampus provides. Combining these two options is a great option for completely online classes.
Some other fun options include iCivics and World101. Expose your students to real-world issues and engage them in deep conversation about what is going on around the globe with the fantastic teaching resources at World101. For a fun take on civics, let your students play interactive video games and learn civics at the same time with iCivics, founded by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
Interactive Online Activities
If you are teaching through video calls, there are a few key points to keep in mind to ensure your students are paying attention and enjoying the class. Feel free to take these ideas and adjust them to fit your class’s needs. These are just meant to get you started, so let your imagination run wild!
For Preschool and Elementary Students
Have props with you! These can range from stuffed animals to puppets to flashcards to costumes. Enjoy the class and be creative with how to teach them. For example, if you are teaching basic arithmetic, give examples with objects you have on hand, or have a stuffed animal act out the math. Ask the young learners to look for materials in their homes and include their pets or toys in the class.
For High School Students
The expectations and the classes are harder, but you don’t need to get bogged down in monotonous online classes. Ask your students questions, have them explain topics, and assign online group activities. The key is to help them engage in the material instead of just completing the homework. Your students can engage in group discussion (both verbal and written in the video calling apps) and give online presentations.
Virtual Field Trips
While you may not be able to physically travel to fun locations, you can still show your students the world with virtual tours from around the world. Students of all ages can learn and enjoy a “trip” to the Louvre, the Great Wall of China, the Smithsonian, and even Mars! Whatever the subject, there are numerous virtual field trip opportunities to give your students the visual interaction they need.
Start the Year Off Right!
These online resources and activities will help you get back to school with confidence as you make the transition to distance learning. Not only will you have more peace of mind, but your students will thoroughly enjoy each of their classes. If you are looking for even more resources, visit this website with options for every class you can imagine. We wish you the best of luck in the 2020-2021 school year!
Want to find out more about how to learn Spanish? Check out these posts!
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- The Ultimate Guide to Subjunctive Conjugation in Spanish - December 27, 2020
- Estar Subjunctive: Present and Past Tense Subjunctive - December 23, 2020