The past year has brought us unprecedented challenges as we learned how to navigate the world of remote learning. Moving our tutoring lessons fully online for the first time required me to come up with new ways to work with students. For younger students especially, I found it more difficult at first to keep them interested and engaged when we couldn’t interact in person. Coming up with helpful and effective lessons required thinking outside the box.
Fortunately, this led to some positive consequences: I, along with all of our tutors, have discovered a variety of resources and strategies for keeping students on-track remotely. There have even been some benefits to meeting online; for me, one of the biggest advantages of online learning is that, through screen-sharing, I can see all of my students’ assignments. As a tutor, it’s a huge help to know exactly when big due dates are coming up so I can make sure that my students are completing everything on time.
I’ve also found new ways to provide students with supplemental practice, whether they’re homeschooling and need some guidance, or just want activities to enforce what they’re learning in their remote classrooms. Giving students writing prompts, for instance, is one way that I’ve encouraged my students to work on grammar and essay organization. I also use online worksheets for extra math problems when students need to practice for an upcoming math quiz, or if they just need some additional practice in order to understand a new concept.
There are plenty of online resources that help to keep lessons interactive as well. Below are some of the sites that have been especially helpful during the transition to remote learning:
K12 Reader is a great site for students who need to improve their reading and writing skills. They have numerous free worksheets focusing on areas such as spelling, reading comprehension, grammar, and more. Their worksheets are also divided by grade, which I find especially helpful; it ensures that my students are working at the right difficulty level and covering topics they’ll be expected to know.
Desmos is a helpful site to check out if your student needs additional help or practice in math. Their site features a free online graphing calculator, perfect for middle and high school students, as well as a matrix calculator, geometry tools, and more. In addition, you can access a variety of math lessons on Desmos, with questions throughout to keep your student engaged. You can access everything Desmos has to offer on a computer or tablet.
Nearpod is an amazing resource for creating interactive lessons that will encourage student participation. They use virtual reality and games to make learning more fun for students, and you can upload any resources that you’ve already created, such as PowerPoints or YouTube videos. By creating a free account, you can access lessons and assessments for your student as well. In addition to subjects such as English, Math and Science, Nearpod also features lessons in different languages and in Computer Science.
Jamboard is a free online whiteboard available through Google. This is a great way to collaborate with students on their work, as it allows you to share images, insert text, symbols, and shapes, and change the background as needed. In addition to being a valuable resource for tutoring sessions, your student can also use Jamboard to collaborate with their classmates on assignments or projects.
Microsoft OneNote is the perfect resource if your student needs help taking notes or keeping those notes organized. With OneNote, they’ll be able to keep their notes separated according to subject, create to-dos, and even insert audio notes if they don’t feel like typing everything out. Microsoft OneNote also allows you to share your notes, so your students can collaborate with classmates in case they miss anything. They can even download a mobile app to access OneNote on their phone or tablet.
Bramble has been an amazing resource for our tutors as we’ve moved to online tutoring. Students can upload their homework or relevant images directly to the workspace to share with our tutors, and they can video chat as they work through questions. Bramble also allows you to record sessions, so your students can look back if needed on what was covered during their lesson. They can even search through the recording to find specific topics covered if they need to review a particular part of the session.
Kuta Software has a variety of math worksheets that are free to access. Organized by grade level and subject, it’s an easy way to find some extra practice for your student if they need to work on a particular math topic. Intended for middle and high school students, they have free worksheets for subjects from Pre-Algebra to Calculus.
While I hope to be able to tutor in-person again soon, remote learning has definitely opened the door for new ways of teaching—many of which will continue to prove beneficial even after we’re back to meeting in-person!