5 Ways to Find Sanity while Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom - Jen Kimbrell

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Teaching in 2020 has a whole new list of requirements to do your job well, and it changes daily. For some of us, we are 100 percent online. Others are in the classroom with different regulations in place to keep everyone safe. Then some are juggling the world of online and in-classroom teaching. All teachers, no matter your circumstances, are learning a whole new way of educating. How do you do it? If you are like many teachers, you may be teaching in the classroom and online simultaneously, which is incredibly difficult. How do you juggle everything? Follow these great tips for teaching in a hybrid classroom.

1: Keep Hybrid Schedules for Online and In-Person Lessons

To keep yourself organized while teaching hybrid lessons, share the class schedule with your students and parents using Google Slides or Docs. Every week, post a schedule for your virtual students and your in-class students to follow. 

Because you can't do two things at the same time, you can record or find already-made lessons for your online students while you work with your in-class students or vice versa. While you are working with students online, you can show students a video of your lesson in your classroom. 

Here is an example of what my first-grade schedule looks like for both sets of students. Every lesson has a link sent to the assignment in our Schoology course. Of course, you could just as quickly (and would be my advice) to send students directly to the Seesaw activity or video lesson on YouTube. But our district requires we use Schoology.

2: Utilize Small Group and Guided Reading Practices

Teaching in a hybrid classroom, using small group rotations for centers and guided reading practices can be incredibly helpful for classroom management. While you are working with one group of students, the other can be working on a reading or writing activity. To keep students on track, share your screen so students at home and in class can see the digital rotation chart

When students are with you, use a separate Google Meet or Zoom breakout rooms to meet with students in small groups. You can monitor the other students online if needed by using a split-screen of both groups. Another option is to have students log off and come back at a specific time for their small group. Don't be afraid to have some students in your classroom and students online working in one group. There's a way to merge both of your “classrooms” effectively. Even the youngest of students can follow this simple rotation schedule.

3: Make Projects a Part of your Hybrid Classroom

Hybrid teaching means doing two jobs at one time. When you are teaching in two different places simultaneously, you need students to stay busy but not with busywork. Having your students work on projects in groups is one of the best ways to keep students engaged while you move from group to group. 

Just because you are doing project learning doesn't mean they have to be on the computer all the time. You can use STEM projects, digital escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and more to engage students. You want to make sure students are actively engaging their minds by doing different activities, not just sitting, listening to a lesson, and doing a worksheet.

4: Create Digital Worksheets and Games for Teaching in Hybrid Classrooms

A great way to keep everyone on the same page is to assign digital worksheets and games to students online and in the classroom. Teaching in hybrid classrooms is hard enough without doing double the work. You can create digital worksheets from PDF's by taking a screenshot of the page you want to assign. 

You may also want to use digital interactive notebooks, and fun learning games using Seesaw and Google Slides to help keep students on track when thinking about mastery of learning standards and saving their work in one easy to find location.

5: Always Be Prepared when Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom

If you haven't done it yet, make sure all of your students know how to follow the hybrid schedule and understand how to use the technology. The students you have in the classroom are not guaranteed to stay there. If COVID-19 starts to spread, your classroom could go entirely virtual in a hurry. Therefore, all of your students must know how to find helpful links in your Bitmoji Classroom, Google Classroom, Seesaw, or whatever forum you're using. Having all students prepared will make your life so much more comfortable in the long run.

Teaching in a hybrid classroom is hard. We already wore about 1,000 hats before virtual learning took education by storm. Now, we get to wear all of those hats and a few more as well. While teaching online and in the classroom is a constant juggle, finding a good schedule, balancing independent and teacher dependent work time, and always being prepared will make you feel more familiar in the new normal.