Remote Teaching: Set up a Class and Give Every Student an Online Interactive WhiteBoard

Looking for a way to spice up your online lessons?  What if you could give every one of your students a whiteboard and have them interact with you from their homes?  What if you could create a class, have them join the class, ask a question and have them answer at the same time, each on their own whiteboard?

What if I told you that neither you nor your students need to sign up, give an email or any other information and that it is super simple to set up?

Have I managed to persuade you? Then, keep on reading!

How to do it
  • Go to whiteboard.fi and click on New Class
  • Give your class a name and click Create new Class
  • Give your students the link to your class or the code
  • Ask students to write their real names. They will appear in your class as they join in
  • Have students answer your questions on their whiteboards and you will be able to see their answers in real time.
  • Clear all whiteboards and ask your next question
  • Don’t forget to close your room when you have finished your lesson

Some quick ideas to use it:

  • dependent prepositions
  • irregular verbs
  • spelling
  • words related to a given topic
  • sentences using vocabulary or a grammar structure
  • pub quiz

I have created this video tutorial to help you set up a room. It is really very easy and it could help spark your next online lesson.

Enjoy teaching!!! Even from home!!!!

Remote Teaching: 3 Tools to Assess Students’ Speaking Skills

And here we are. Trying to make the shift to online teaching as smoothly as possible. For most of us, it is uncharted territory. Lack of information as to how we need to assess our students does not help either. We are on a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes we feel stuck, restless and unsure about what to do to help our students.

But, we need to stay at home. This much is clear. For how long? Quite uncertain. What is certain is that remaining at home is an unprecedented act of love to take care of each other and that we need to stay safe to keep our loved ones safe.

How can we assess our students’ speaking skills?

Meanwhile, the question of how to assess our students remains unanswered. In this post, I am going to share with you 3 easy ways to assess your students’ speaking skills. The tutorials are in Spanish but I have added notes in English to help you understand the steps you need to follow. Most of the times, the notes are unnecessary as everything in the app is in English.

1. The Easiest One:  Audio Recording with Vocaroo

Why do I like it?

  • Students don’t have to register.
  • They just need to click a button and start recording.
  • They can upload their own recording and then share the link with their teacher.
  • They get a link for their recording and share it with their teacher. So, no need to upload or download their recording unless they want to.

2. As if you were in class: Videoconferencing with 8x8.vc

Why do I like it?

  • Neither the teacher nor the students have to register.
  • You can create your own room with a click and then share with your student the link for the room, which is always 8×8.vc/ (nameofyourroom)
  • It is a videoconference platform so the interaction is automatic as if you were in class.

3. The Whole Package: Video Recordings with Flipgrid

This is a more complex tool but it allows students not only to record themselves from their homes and then share the video clip in a secure platform but also interact with their classmates or teachers. Not in real time, though

Why do I like it?

  • It is very reliable and safe for the students
  • It is completely free.
  • Students can record up to 10 minutes
  • They can upload their own video clip or record their own computer screen
  • Teachers can send written or video feedback within the app straight to the students’ email.
  • Teachers can develop their own rubric.
  • Teachers are   100% in control of the videos
  • Teachers can even share the recording with the student’s parents.

(NOTE: you might want to watch the original webinar here) 

 

Passive Sentences: from Basic Grammar to More Advanced Points

Oh dear, another bizarre and unreal week. I know we will all be struggling to get through it so thank you for stopping by. I hope you can find on this blog lots of ideas and lesson plans which will make your teaching easier.

Today, what I want to share with you is nothing fancy but probably useful.  A bunch of teachers from different Official Language Schools in Spain have gathered together to host webinars trying to help teachers shift to online teaching. In one of them, given by Fernanda from EOI Málaga, I learned how to use Google Sites to create, in a flash, beautiful websites. It literally took me less than 15 minutes to put together what you can see when you click on the picture.

You can see her webinar here and subscribe to the channel for more interesting webinars here. You might also want to see mine covering Flipgrid  here

Anyway, this is a Google Site I have shared with my students to help them revise Passive Sentences. There is also a board with a speaking activity I am planning to play with them in our weekly speaking session via 8×8.vc

Without further ado, here’s the lesson. I hope you find it useful! https://bit.ly/2UMtzJ4

In Times of Crisis, Laughter is the Best Medicine

As we are confined in our homes trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we must try and make the most of this situation. Nobody could have predicted, back in September when we started the course, that talking about viruses and fear and panic and death was going to be one of our topics this course. Despite our growing concern for what lays ahead of us, I cannot and will not give my students a lesson that will cause them more pain and sadness. Yes. I want them to understand and use the vocabulary related to the situation we are living nowadays, but I also want to do my bit and help brighten up their day. I hope nobody takes offence.

We all know it’s bad out there but fear and worry over the coronavirus have prompted a crop of funny videos that I hope help me put a smile on your face. We need to be worried and we need to have a sense of common responsibility. That’s undeniable. But a little levity now and then is surely appreciated. I don’t need science to know that in times of crisis, laughter is the best medicine we have.

In this lesson, you will find

  • useful language to talk about the situation we are living now due to the coronavirus
  • a bit of listening practice
  • funny videos featuring situations or attitudes prompted by the pandemic
  • some conversation questions following the videos

Note: it goes without saying this speaking lesson will be done online.  I have shared this lesson with my students in advance and asked them to see the videos and have a look at the vocabulary.

The coronavirus

The Easiest Video Conference Platform- Need to Connect with your Students to Practise Speaking?

Really, it cannot be easier!

 

Since half the world is in lockdown and we are confined to our houses, now more than ever, technology comes to the rescue.

We, dedicated teachers, are doing our best to keep in touch with our students and though some of us have been using learning platforms for some time now, this is not the case for many teachers.

For most of us, home teaching is something new and although it is fairly easy to give students grammar and vocabulary exercises or listening comprehension activities to do at home when it comes to practising speaking, things get a bit more complicated.

Today, I want to share with you a video conferencing platform  8X8.vc , which is really super simple. It takes just one click to start a meeting. Seriously. You don’t even have to create an account.

I learned this from the generous Ingrid Mosquera and it is with her consent that I am publishing this post.

Note: At the end of the post, you will find a step by step guide for both teachers and students. Keep on reading, please.

Why do I like it?
  • Neither you nor your students have to register.
  • It offers unlimited meetings and unlimited minutes.
  • You don’t have to download any program or plugin.
  • There is not a limited free trial.
  • Students simply start or join a meeting with the click of a button.
  • The maximum number of participants is 50 (enough in my case).
How to set up a room without signing up
  • Open your Google Chrome browser and go to 8×8.vc. This is the best browser for this platform.
  • Name your meeting and click Start Meeting. Note: you can name the room or you can choose to keep the weird random name the program gives you. If you are worried about being hacked, this is probably safer than calling a room Cristina.
  • You might be prompted to download the extension for Google Calendar and Office. I have not done it.
  • Share the URL of the meeting with your students and automatically they will be in the same room as you.
  • If you sign up, then you can record the meeting.
  • Among other features, you can:
  • Share your screen
  • Raise your hand
  • Chat
What I like less and what to take into account before setting up a meeting
  • On a mobile device, you will have to download their app  8×8 Video Meetings.
  • It works best on Chrome.
  • The current maximum number of participants in a single meeting is 50, however, for meetings requiring additional participants, hosts can select a live stream to YouTube option that will support unlimited viewers. See How to Live Stream 8×8.vc  on Ingrid’s Youtube Channel.  I also highly recommend visiting her blog here.
  • If there are too many students you can ask them to mute their mikes. There is an icon for that.

Link to a step by step for students

Link to a step by step for teachers

Hope it is helpful!