With the rise of online learning, classroom management requires a different approach. Remote learning classroom management differs from in-person as it necessitates more intentional communication, tech-savviness, and flexible approaches. Teachers must also be more mindful of student engagement and well-being, as remote learning can create isolation and disconnection.
Let’s discuss a few generalized and age-specific management strategies that help K-12 educators keep their cohorts engaged and learning in a remote and hybrid setting.
Managing a remote learning environment for students of all ages
At the top of our list is one universal rule that must be applied to distance learners of any age group.
The technology you use to deliver learning – including hardware and software – must be accessible, efficient, and easy to use.
Most educators had to get familiar with Zoom quickly at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were hiccups along the way while tech-savvy adults were learning how to get connected, mute, and unmute microphones. Having overcome these hurdles, common web conferencing solutions now feel intuitive. And the learning curve is less steep as students connect with tech for the first time.
Your online learning solution should be something kids of any age and their parents can learn and operate easily. Keep in mind, your students with mobility issues, speech difficulties, visual challenges, and other diverse learning needs. Once implemented, the first part of your curriculum each year must be spent on easy activities that help students get well-oriented to the technology, and acquaint them with the skills needed to make the best use of it.
Administrators should consider using funds to help low-income families access the tech they need to keep their children connected.
Now, let’s get into specific best practices for K-12 students.
Here are some tips for managing a remote kindergarten classroom.
Keep things moving. A kindergarten-aged child in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom usually learns through experience, play, and movement. Therefore, it is not practical to expect a child of this age group to sit still in front of a screen for hours unless they are engaging in an additional activity like a quiet craft.
You can invite some of this activity back into your lesson plan by making good use of the camera and leading your students through movement exercises that allow the kids to be in their bodies as they learn and grow.
Keep it cooperative. One of the joys of kindergarten is playing together in a large group. Consider how to make your remote lesson plan to be as inclusive as possible by getting all students to work together in games, storytime, or art projects.
Elementary and middle school
Here are tips for managing a remote elementary and middle school classroom.
Make room for hands-on learning. Making your virtual classroom feel as active as possible is critical to providing an effective remote learning environment. In addition to using an intuitive platform and maintaining consistent communication channels between students, this means giving beyond-screen assignments to your students to give them something exciting to engage with
Think about science experiments with household products, art projects involving physical materials, and other embodied activities.
Be dynamic in your delivery.Distraction is the enemy in any elementary classroom, whether remote or in-person. Unfortunately, you can’t take away phones, so your best bet is to facilitate a lesson plan that is mobile, entertaining, and packed with unexpected twists and turns. This can be as simple as changing the pace of your speech or injecting your lesson with lots of short video clips and moments requiring focused participation.
Here are tips for managing a remote high school classroom.
Support independent study. Of course, you will need to develop guidelines for accountability and work-checking, but your students are almost guaranteed to learn more effectively if they are
- Studying a subject that they are genuinely excited about, and
- Given the freedom to engage this subject at their own pace.
Remote learning blurs the line between homework and classwork, and you, as a teacher, can lean into this ambiguity by combining the two through self-guided exploration. Consider, for example, how a student interested in cooking can incorporate meal preparation into their chemistry studies, or a student interested in art history can visit a museum as part of their coursework.
Incorporate creative use of technology. In-person classrooms limit how you and students can present your work. A robust remote learning platform expands your options and more easily allows the presentation of projects incorporating video, audio, and gamification. Encourage your students to get creative with how they present their work and the technologies they engage to create presentations. The bonus of this technology integration is a gain of valuable skills like video editing, digital efficacy, etc., to support their success in this digital age.
Final thoughts: Classroom management best practices for K-12
Effective classroom management helps provide a safe and supportive learning environment for students of any age group. We can pull from our tried-and-true fundamentals developed from in-person classrooms to supplement the growing demand for remote learning. And if supported by effective technologies like the Class platform, you can deliver engaging, practical lessons that keep students on track.
Learn more about hybrid and remote classroom management with expert advice in our eBook, Classroom Management Strategies for Remote and Hybrid Learning.