The Remote WL Classroom: What has been working for me?

Last year when schools shut down, I was lost.  I didn’t know who my professional self was without being able to teach. Without knowing what this year was going to be like, I kept busy this summer by planning units and creating scope and sequences. In August, I was asked to be my district’s World Language Coordinator so I was so excited and pleased to be able to fill my time with the responsibilities of this new position. In my new role, I had to provide three 1-hour sessions of World Language professional development during our in-service days. I spent so much time on all these things and in retrospect, I did this to avoid my fear of starting the year remotely. I didn’t know how to teach Spanish through a camera. My classroom and in-class funky personality was my identity. Who am I without those things?  I began doubting myself as a teacher and thought that maybe I didn’t want to be in the classroom anymore. 

Let’s fast forward 8 weeks, and I have less doubt. I love being a teacher and I am finding my footing as a remote learning teacher.   After 11 years of teaching, I have a plethora of resources, but knowing how to make those same activities work while teaching remotely has been challenging.  There have been many teachers pushing out so many great ideas. A few are Claudia Elliot, Meredith White and Sally Barnes. There are so many  so if you are looking for ideas; go on Twitter and search #langchat.  I won’t pretend that it is easy, but I hope to offer some ideas today.

Here are a list of resources that I have used: 

  1. Peardeck– I really like this add-on for Google Slides. I do not have a premium version, but I use this to have students answer with short answers and multiple choice.
  2. Nearpod– This Google Slides add-on has been really nice for the collaborate board feature. Nearpod and Peardeck are very similar so it is based on preference. 
  3. Go Formative–  This website is AMAZING! I did buy the premium version and it has been worth every penny.  I have used it a few times now, but the possibilities are great.  I have used this site for vocabulary checks, reading comprehension, listening dictation, presentational writing, and presentational speaking.  I have uploaded storyboards and pictures for the different activities. One of my favorite features is the batch grading!  You can choose a group of students’ answers and grade all together while also providing batch feedback.  Another feature is that you can embed other sites like Quzilet, Padlet, Kahoot, and more!  Check it out! 
  4. Quizlet–  I’ve been using this to practice essential vocabulary structures. I have mostly been using this for our asynchronous days. I usually assign flashcards, learn, spelling, and then allow them to choose one more.  I like Quizlet because it shows the progress of the students and whether or not they have completed the activity.
  5. Textivate–   I love using this site when I am working with a story or a reading. Students work with both the vocabulary and the narrative of the story.  I use the parallel text feature when having students put the story back in order.   You can also use parallel vocabulary to help students with the text. 
  6. Garbanzo–  Just like Quizlet, I have used this for our asynchronous days. Our district uses Somos so this has been a great supplement for the classes that are using Somos.  I also look forward to using this with my other classes such as with my Heritage class. 
  7. Padlet– I have mostly used Padlet as a writing activity, but recently I just used Padlet for a speaking activity. I had students record themselves about their morning activities and then they will use that information to give advice to their friends.  I chose the SHELF option in Padlet, added the questions, and then students recorded their answers underneath each question. Students will then listen to their classmates and jot answers down to then offer advice later. 
  8. Seesaw/ Flipgrid:  I have used both of these sites for students to record themselves speaking.  I am currently up in the air about which one I like more. I like that with Flipgrid, students can interact with each other’s videos. You can do the same with Seesaw as well. Which one do you prefer? 
  9. Edpuzzle:  I love this site for listening comprehension. I have actually used this site for the listening portion of a past midterm. If questions are multiple choice, the site can grade the questions. There are so many great videos already uploaded, but you can also upload your own materials and add questions. 
  10. Google Apps:  We are a Google district.  I use Google Classroom to organize all of my students’ materials and classwork. I organize plans by the week. I also organize classwork/ homework  with assignment numbers with Google Classroom. If it’s the third assignment, it would be labeled #03 (assignment name). I also organize Infinite Campus the same way.  I use Google Slides for our daily plans. I have folders in Google Classroom labeled by the week. I am pretty organized, but if remote teaching has taught me anything, it is definitely to be intentional and MORE organized. 

Outside of Go Formative, I have used all these sites with students in the past so I was familiar with them and only had to adapt to using them remotely. A few teachers at my school are feeling overwhelmed with having to learn all new websites so my suggestion is, take it slow. Choose one website and move slowly.  If you are only familiar with two and feel comfortable using those two, BE A ROCKSTAR LIKE YOU ARE in those two websites.  I hope you were able to take something away from this, but if anything, to see that we are all on the same page. We still get through this.