Teaching Online?

If you are feeling burnt out of online teaching or dread the thought of another lockdown, here are 3 ideas for keeping your student’s attention while teaching online.
It breaks my heart when I hear about schools going to online teaching. I want more than anything else for people to be safe, but I also know the negative impact it can have on students. This blog post will give you three ideas to make online teaching more fun for you and the students.

1) Bring in the props! 

It’s time to raid your Halloween box for crazy hats, wigs, big glasses, etc. Anything that makes it fun and unexpected for students. If you can tie it into a lesson, then all the better. Maybe you have green hair on the day they learn to mix secondary colors. Or maybe they learn to draw a portrait with a hat on the day you wear a crazy hat. You could use the glasses as a prop for when you are looking at art or looking for something special, or maybe for when they hold up their work for you to see.

2) Movement & Engagement

Any way to get students engaged rather than just sitting there will help them immensely. Holding up fingers, mimicking arm movements, doing a dance, repeating back phrases, and anything kinetic will be much more exciting and keep students watching. 

Here are some examples:

Try having a dance party while you are waiting for students to log in. I bet the next time, they’ll log in on time! Or maybe they earn a dance party for finishing up early or having everyone turn in their work.

When talking about lines, have students draw different lines in the air. When talking about horizontal, diagonal, and vertical, have students make directions with their arms. When mentioning a number, have students hold their fingers in the air to show that they understand how many of something you are talking about.

You can use your voice to express concepts like high and low, big and small, fast, and slow. Then have students repeat back what you just said in the same voice. For example, “if I want to paint a thin line I use a small brush”, in a high voice and, “if I want to paint a thick line I use a big brush” in a deep voice. Another example, “first I draw lightly”, in a squeaky voice, “then I use a dark line”, in a gruff voice.

3) Use a Puppet! 

Your puppet could read a story, talk about a work of art, or interact with the students. Your puppet might even sneak into the scene and surprise you. (That might take a little practice ahead of time!). Maybe the puppet interrupts you to tell you about something you forgot to say. Having the puppet read a story could be a reward for students. That might even be something you could pre-record.

No puppet, you say? Try adding some google-y eyes to a sock you bought for crazy sock day. Maybe some yarn for hair or cut strips of fabric and glue them to the top of the puppet for hair. I bet if you look around most art teacher's homes, you can find just what you need to make a puppet. Remember, it's on-screen, so it's kind of like being able to teach with your PJ bottoms on. As long as it looks good on-screen, you are good to go!

What are some things you’ve done that have made teaching online more fun for you and the students? Please share in the comments. We are here to help each other out! 

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