- For additional resources and video from our ELT webinars on blended and hybrid remote learning, visit www.nysut.org/hybrid.
6th Grade Teacher
Massapequa Federation of Teachers
Since the start of the academic year, Kira Martelli’s district has been operating under a blended instruction model in which most students are in the classroom while others are at home. Here are some tips and strategies that she’s found helpful in managing instruction during this challenging time.
Tools Are Your New Best Friends
Martelli uses a toolbelt apron to hold a variety of supplies such as bus passes, late passes, her phone, pens and whiteboard markers. The accessory helps keep her coordinated as she moves from room to room. It also helps make social distancing easier. She also uses an Ergotron which makes moving easy, as well, and reduces the spread of germs by limiting the classroom equipment she would otherwise need to touch. Other tools such as a wheeled cart and wheeled backpack allow her to easily transport items such as her Chromebook back between school and home, and ensures she always has what she needs since things can change quicky in this environment.
Mindful Minute is a meditative tool that can be found on YouTube that helps students relax and settle in for the first minute after the bell rings. Martelli also uses meditative music while students work on projects in the classroom, which she says has a calming effect.
Zones of Regulation
Martelli uses a chart with designated “zones” that list different emotions. Students choose the zone that best describes how they are feeling that day. Martelli said the approach enables her to get a feel for the mood in her classroom.
Do Now/Start Now
Martelli said using a “Do Now” strategy at the start of class is a great way for students to identify their tasks, while giving teachers the time necessary to prepare for the day’s lesson without being hit with a barrage of questions immediately. “It’s a great way to begin the day,” she said.
Planning Your Day
- Talk to your colleagues — This is the time to lean on one another.
- Peruse the resources that are out there — These include: Teachers Pay Teachers. Google, and Pinterest.
- Keep a lesson handy — Things change quickly. This enables you to be prepared in case you are ordered to go to distance learning on short notice.
- Take small steps — Short lessons with specific goals work very well especially, when you are distance learning. Complex lessons are not translating over the internet.
How to Ensure Accountability
Martelli suggests leaving comments for students in a google document for record-keeping purposes. She also recommends emailing parents immediately with any issues and to update your grading online ASAP. If there is a sense students are struggling, Martelli said she immediately calls parents to make sure there are no Internet issues. Adding that “nine times out of ten it is the student themselves,” she then has a talk with parents. She keeps it positive, advises them to check the parent portal and explains to them what’s expected of students in her class.
About the Webinars
One of the many challenges facing educators over the past year has been how to adjust instruction for first completely remote and then for hybrid learning environments. The reality is that nobody was an expert at this before the pandemic. It forced teachers to radically rethink how to approach teaching and how to promote effective learning environments, no matter how their students are learning. We conducted a series of webinars for NYSUT members featuring some of our instructors from NYSUT Education and Learning Trust. We asked them how they are balancing it all and what tips and tools they have learned and implemented to help them make the most of hybrid learning. In this series, we break down their top tips for you.
For additional resources and video on blended and hybrid remote learning, visit www.nysut.org/hybrid.