Tools, tools, tools. Teachers love tools! Whether we are online or offline, tools are the first thing teachers grab when getting ready to teach. We are living through a crazy time, but we teachers just roll with it! Are you teaching math online for this new school year? Here are some tools and tips for teaching math remotely. Many techniques used for teaching math face to face will work when teaching primary math online.
If you would rather watch a video version of this blog, check it out below:
I spent 10 years working at an online school, working as a home support teacher for homeschoolers. When it comes to teaching math online, there are aspects that work better off-line. Primary math should give students the opportunity to played with numbers and manipulatives. Let children get their hands on the blocks, the beans, the counters, etc. Children need regular time to explore, wonder, ask questions and manipulate the materials.
Teaching Math Online
When working with young children, vary your lesson plan. Before your lesson, make sure that students have a Math Toolkit, whether these are supplied by the school or the family. What goes into the toolkit? It depends what you will be teaching for the month. Students need manipulatives. If the school doesn’t supply it, then ask families for blocks, beans, something small to use during math times.
When creating your lesson plan, start with a Number Talk. Don’t know Number Talks? Check out this blog post. Number talks give students the opportunity to start thinking mathematically, and warms them up for the impending lesson. When giving a lesson remotely, keep it short. A good rule of thumb is to keep the lesson the length of the age of the children.
Lesson Plan Ideas for Teaching Online
Whether you are using Google Classroom, Canvas, Zoom, or some other online platform, find ways to create a game within the lesson. If students have been sitting for a while, then add some jumping jacks, hopping, spinning or movement every time you mention a “special number”. Instead of having students raise their hand to ask or answer a question, have them raise something else, like their water bottle or a pencil.
Speaking of pencils, have students come to their math lesson with paper, or a notebook, a pencil and, if possible, provide a mini white board, marker and eraser for students. I use white boards daily for Number talks and other mini activities. What I love about white boards is that students can eraser their mistakes fairly easily and it’s fun to hold up a whiteboard to a screen.
Give Yourself Grace
Finally give yourself and your students time to adjust to this new “normal”. Even if students were learning remote last year, they have just had a summer off. They need time to build stamina. You need time to build stamina! This is probably not our first choice of teaching style but it is the teaching style we need to embrace. Make the best of it and enjoy your time with your students. When they see you having fun, they will have fun too!