On twitter I’m seeing an increasing number of teachers discussing how to teach a class when some are in the classroom and some are joining via live-stream from home. Earlier this year I was in a situation where we had some students in the classroom and some at home joining by livestream, so I thought I’d share how I managed this situation.
An important point of context is that our students all have devices (mostly chromebooks), and have relatively stable internet at home. Our school also uses Google, so we have easy access to Google Classroom, Google Meets, and Google Forms.
Plan lessons like every student is at home
The easiest way to mange a complex situation is to ensure that the students at home are not simply looking at what is happening in the classroom. I did this by purchasing a Wacom graphics pad (but any device with a stylus would work), and doing all my board work on PowerPoint. I shared my screen with students at home and projected it for students in the class. It was a bit messy (as you can see below), but it was a much better that pointing my laptop camera at the whiteboard for students at home.
Once students have completed notes, and copied out worked examples they would then work on a set of questions either in the class or at home. For this used Google Classroom, and students would either complete the work on their device, or complete in their exercise books and submit a photo through Google Classroom. At this point the advantage that students in the classroom have is that it is much easier for me to help them when they get stuck.
Let students know that you care about their work
I found it was important to let students know that I was looking at their work, and appreciated it when they worked well. A nice feature of Google Classroom is that you can see what students are doing as they are working. I spent some time of a lesson looking through student work (students loved emoji stickers) via Google Classroom and copying and pasting emoji stickers into their work, and making comments when they needed to add more and fix something.
Include students at home in the class
At my school most students did not want to turn their webcams on, and this was not a school requirement to do so. However, I tried to make students at home feel like part of the class by having the students in the classroom saying a big hello and goodbye to the online students. I also left my webcam on facing the other students in the classroom where I could, giving students at home to work and see other students working too.
Its imperfect and thats ok
Having a split class in this way is messy, and in some ways its harder than having all students at home. But if we accept the imperfections and make the best from a difficult situation we can somehow muddle through. And remember, students Students love emoji stickers.
I hope you find this blog post useful!