Sunday, March 14, 2021

Engaging Virtual Students with Jamboard

It's been awhile since I've posted here. I've been out on maternity leave with this new little beauty, Lucy. 

I truly enjoyed my time at home with her and my other three girls, but I missed my work at Cherry Tree. I'm glad to be back and to be working with the teachers and students again.

Since I've been back, I've been able to jump into a virtual kindergarten classroom and co-teach a small group of kiddos. As a coach, this is the best way for me to learn about students' academic needs and to support teachers in differentiating instruction. I need to work with the students, get to know them, and try out different strategies alongside the teacher.

The students in this small group needed some extra support in letter name recognition and letter sound correspondence. If this were an in person class, I would have taken my alphabet mountain and letter tiles with me into the class and demonstrated some quick engaging activities to help teach these skills. But the world of virtual education is very different. How could I do something similar with these virtual students?

My first attempt with these students I used a free web-based ABC mountain. I was excited to try this tool with them. 

We were on Zoom and I shared my screen. This colorful rainbow appeared. The students were excited to play with it! I tried to give remote mouse control to the students so that they could move the letters around. I was disappointed to find that I couldn't use that feature of Zoom because the students were on Chrome Books. I was stuck just modeling and moving letters for the students myself. Keeping the kindergartens' attention was hard!

My second attempt with the students went slightly better. I decided to try sharing a Jamboard with the students.

The features of Jamboard are nice! The students were engaged in manipulating the letter tiles I had made. They were able identify letters and sounds and build words. But the best part of using the Jamboard was the immediate feedback I could give the students. I was able to see the letters they were identifying and the words they were building in real time. Because of that, I could coach into the work they were doing easily. Also, the students and I could all work in the Jamboard all at the same time. 

After a couple sessions with these students, the teacher and I were confident that we had found a better tool to help teach letter names and letter sound correspondence. 

Because the Jamboard was such a useful tool for virtual small group instruction, I went ahead and built an ABC mountain on one of the slides. I'm excited to use this with these students and other students who might need the same support.

Here is a quick video walk through of Jamboard. In this video I highlight some of the features of Jamboard and how to share it with students during virtual small group sessions.

If you would like any support creating and/or using Jamboards with your students, please reach out! I would love to come help with this.

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