Over the summer, I have spent numerous hours collaborating and brainstorming with teachers from across the globe. In preparation of this coming school year amid the global pandemic, we discussed the biggest challenges of distance learning. One common challenge arose from these virtual conversations:
How can we motivate students and get them to attend regularly when we are not in the same room as them?!
Trust me…I get it! We have zero control over a student’s learning environment and almost no control over their daily schedule! We, as teachers, can encourage them to come to our virtual lessons on time, but if a student does not log in, there is very little we can do. This, as a teacher is heartbreaking! How can I ensure my students are receiving the best possible education if I cannot get them to show up?
I have come up with a solid virtual management plan that is kid-tested and teacher-approved! This plan can work for Kinders all the way up to middle schoolers. (Sorry high school teachers! I have never taught past middle school. Props to you though for teaching teenagers though.) Read on and learn how to use Class Dojo and create your own virtual store. It is worth the time! Trust me…this works!!!
First off, let me answer the question that EVERY one of my students was dying to know as soon as they found out about our Virtual Class Store:
How do I earn points?! How do I get invited to shop at our class store?!FYI – This came from a sixth grader, so you know the store must be pretty exciting!
You can give out points for anything your heart desires, but my go-to reasons are for being “on time and ready” for lessons, completing all classwork and homework, and showing kindness to our class/parents/teachers. I added the latter this school year. I am trying to help parents out by encouraging my students to find a way to help out at home, whether helping a sibling log-in to a class meeting or helping a parent by cleaning up around the house. I encourage you to think outside the box when awarding these points.
And now…what we’ve all been waiting for…
I am all for intrinsic rewards, but sometimes a teacher just needs some good old fashioned prizes! Treasure boxes are fun, but I definitely like to reward my students with privileges rather than just toys they will most likely lose in a minute or two. Now that many of us are in a virtual learning environment, this gives up the opportunity to put our creative thinking teacher hats on and brainstorm some unique student prizes.
One of my favorite virtual prizes is a guest speaker ticket. I ask for volunteers to teach a virtual enrichment class: art, story time, coding, science, cooking, etc. (If you are short on volunteers, you can teach it yourself.) Just make it a fun lesson or activity that the students don’t usually get during academic learning time. If they earn enough points, they will get an invite link to a virtual meeting where they will learn to be an artist, chef, writer, etc. Kids LOVE this!!! I usually offer these enrichment opportunities at the end of the month. I spend the rest of the month building up to it! For example, if I have a guest artist teaching an art lesson, I will assign articles about various careers in the art world throughout the month. We will even brainstorm questions for the artist. SO FUN!!!
Another easy prize is virtual backgrounds. These make learning fun and festive. Students can use these backgrounds during live virtual meetings. Make them seasonal and lay them out in a Google Slides where students can “shop”.
These images are from my virtual class store. Students fill out an order form and state the image they would like to purchase. I have a year’s worth of seasonal backgrounds available. Click here to check them out.
All of these ideas AND MORE are described in my FREE Virtual Management System. Yes, you read that right…it’s FREE!!! Click here to download!
Until next time…may your class be managed, and your students be merry! Thanks for reading!!!
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