I could go on and on, but I'll try to get right to it. Teaching is hard. Teaching virtually is super hard. Engaging students while teaching virtually takes a special skillset, endurance, and unbeatable self-care. There are some tools that make it a little more fun and a less easier! Here are a few of my faves.
1. A Ring Light- Sorry, I'm sooooo not sorry. For around $30-$50, this thing gives SUCH a good payout. Imagine being well lit, appearing with smoother skin, balanced complexion, and feeling like a put-together human being while you hop on video meetings, lead live class, and record a million asynchronous lessons & videos.
Here's one that's $30 on amazon. You will not regret this. I promise you.
2. A Second Monitor- If you know, you know. It makes a huge difference to have more screen space with everything we have going on during virtual instruction. I wanted to include this here to let you know about Two Screens for Teachers. If you can't afford to buy another monitor, and aren't given one by your district, you can apply to receive one for free from this awesome program. If you'd like to donate to an educator in need, you can do that there too.
3. Virtual Randomizers- Virtual instruction makes engagement more tricky, but it's possible. A lot of the ways we typically gamify lessons (scoots, task cards, movement, popsicle stick name picking, etc.), can be tough virtually. The teacher-author gals from Happily Ever Elementary, have created a huge (& fabulous) bundle of virtual randomizers which I purchased, and am loving. They sell them broken down by holiday or content area or you can purchase the entire growing bundle. Check out their instagram for posts about the bundle.
4. Streamdeck- Ok, ya'll.. hear me out. Do you need this? No. Will people respect you if you buy this? Also no. Is it amazingly indulgently fun & a super cool treat? YUP. The streamdeck is one of the coolest purchases I've made in a long time and I've just begun to scratch the surface of its use. Go see my instagram highlight to see how it works.
5. Spotify- Music makes virtual learning better, I'm convinced! Playing some pump up jams when students are logging on, or while I give them a task to do, is SUCH a game changer for engagement, tone, & mood. You don't even need to buy this. I use the free version of spotify. Here's the key part- Josie Bensko, from Maniacs in the Middle, has created a whole bunch of public *school appropriate* playlists. I use them every day. She even has holiday themed ones. The work is done for you- you can feel good about using them and it's fast and easy.
OTHER HELPFUL THINGS:
Stay tuned for another gift guide coming soon.
Hi there, I'm Alaina! I am an Elementary School Counselor in Pennsylvania. Prior to moving here, I was a middle school counselor in West Virginia and Florida. In addition to my role as a school counselor and teacher, I am a PRODUCTIVITY and SELF DEVELOPMENT junkie, planner addict, and new wifey!