As we battle our way through the Covid pandemic many schools around the world have been forced to take their teaching online.
While it is a headache for teachers, parents and students alike, there are some amazing teachers picking up online education who are making the ordeal a whole lot better.
This article will list some of our top picks when it comes to teachers providing online education. The list will include everything from storytime read-alouds to regular physical education sessions. Something for everyone to make a day of home-learning just that little bit more fun.
In a school environment, students are generally very active, whether it be in a sports class, on the playground or simply moving from class to class. And, as educators we need to be aware of this while providing education online.
This online educator takes this into consideration and offers students a chance to get active.
Joe Wicks is a lovable London guy, who has made a name for himself in the fitness world as The Body Coach. He is a professional sports coach and now a youtube sensation.
Since the school closures, he has committed to going live on Youtube every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning (9am GMT time). He provides students with a morning exercise routine to get them motivated and ready for the day ahead.
If you can’t make the 9am start, then of course all his content is recorded and posted on his Youtube channel afterwards.
Students and teachers of all ages can join in and schools have been encouraging their entire school community to get involved. It’s great to know that other people are exercising along with you. We also love the shout-outs he does for schools and teachers around the world as it adds to the strong sense of community he has developed.
One final thing we love about Joe’s routines is that he makes them fun and distracts you from the physical challenge. He does this by holding fancy dress sessions and by including quizzes that students love joining in with and through his amusing ‘silly billy’ dances.
Created by the BBC, the CBeebies Bedtime Stories channel on Youtube contains a selection of great stories read aloud for kids. They range from popular and traditional titles to newer and less well known books.
If you are in the UK these stories can also be played on BBC iPlayer.
The stories are read by an array of special guests, Tom Hardy, Dolly Parton, David Schwimmer are to name a few.
Something we especially love about these read-alongs is the fact that inclusion and diversity have been considered. From the stories and authors to the readers and listeners. The stories are read by a diverse mix of people which means children are exposed to diversity. And, some for the readers also use sign-language to accompany their reading, making the storytimes inclusive for children with hearing impairments too.
Dianna Cowern is the Physics Girl and her Physics 101 lessons are excellent for highschool and college students.
The online lessons claim to cover all the important topics required to sit the AP Physics 1 exam and are therefore a super tool for revision.
Her Physics 101 playlist can be found on her youtube channel along with heaps of other great teaching resource videos.
The playlist is a string of approximately 25-30 minute lessons that explore the common laws and principles of physics. They start with an interesting question that hooks learners and proceeds to explain various physical phenomena.
Dianna explains principles in a clear and scientific way using scientific vocabulary and addressing misconceptions. She models the mathematical formulas behind the laws of physics and she also carries out exciting experiments to see the laws in action.
Her lessons are a real hit among students and stir an interest in the topic like never before.
Now for some online art and illustration lessons with children’s author and illustrator Rob Biddulph.
These lessons teach children (and adults) how to draw different animals and interesting objects. He also includes instructions on how to draw familiar characters, some of which are from the popular books of Biddulph himself.
As well as learning to draw, the lessons introductions also include snippets of trivia knowledge relating to the drawing.
Rob’s draw-along sessions are more than just instructions on how to draw. They are a chance for children to find delight in drawing. And, for children that do engage in drawing, these moments are an opportunity to practise mindfulness and relaxation.
In a technological world that has become so switched-on, we think that encouraging children to explore drawing with a simple pen and paper is a great idea. Thanks Rob!
Whilst we are on the topic of physical education, Cosmic Kids Yoga is another great online education resource.
Hosted by Yoga teacher Jaime and targeted towards younger learners, her yoga sessions combine physical activity, relaxation and storytelling all-in-one.
Her yoga videos are story based and many relate to common topics taught in elementary and middle schools. You will find content on space, festivals, the ocean and a whole load more!
She also creates yoga stories based on popular books such as, ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ or kids shows and films such as, Pokemon, Harry Potter and Trolls.
The videos have interesting graphics to engage children and her voice is animated yet calming.
Perfect for pre-k and kindergarten, Early Years Emily is a Youtube channel hosted by a British early years teacher.
She creates catchy songs with animations that excite and engage little learners.
Her content is organised in line with the British system for early years education but can be used and accessed worldwide on Youtube.
She has songs relating to traditional tales, maths learning and phonics. But some of her best songs are her ‘Funky Finger Workouts’.
These ‘Funky Finger Workouts’ are designed to develop students fine motor skills which will ultimately help them develop the essential skills for writing.
In these videos, children follow a set of exercises to develop muscles in hands and fingers. The songs that accompany the exercises are great fun and easy for students to join in with plus the animations help to develop literacy comprehension and understanding.
Famous children’s author, Michael Rosen, well known for his book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, has some excellent content online. And, it is perfect for teaching a range of literacy skills.
He teaches the art of storytelling and poetry by reading and reciting stories and poems written by himself.
Some of his videos include short stories, whilst others form a series of read-aloud sessions read from his most popular chapter books.
As well as read-alouds, he has created videos which teach students how to compose written pieces. He covers important techniques for story writing from generating ideas, story mapping, scene setting and character description.
His educational videos also discuss various types of poetry, the features within poems and how to write them.
One thing that makes Michael’s storytelling and read-alongs stand out from the rest is the fact that there are no animations and images. Michael relies on using his voice, facial expressions and body language to bring stories to life.
This is beneficial for students because without images and animations, they get an opportunity to practise listening and comprehension skills. They also get a chance to see how stories and poems can be performed.
Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization that brings together some of the best teachers and delivers amazing content for online education.
The content on their website is all free to access, they also have an app that can be used on tablets. The teaching input videos and explainers are also posted onto the Khan Academy Youtube channel.
There are some excellent math explainers for students ranging from pre-K to highschool and college. And, they have also introduced other subjects such as science, arts and humanities, economics, computing and literature.
Khan Academy Kids is a spin-off from the main Youtube channel and is aimed especially at younger students.
Every other Monday the presenting teachers hold a ‘circle time’ session. During circle time, they will read a story and then introduce an activity linked to the story.
The activities include reading comprehension questions, phonics and spelling practise and maths activities. They also discuss the vocabulary and storyline to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of the book they share.
Plus, the sessions are just under 20 minutes long, an optimum time for young learners to sit and concentrate.
Twinkl is a high profile teaching resource website and it employs teachers to create quality content for different curriculums around the world.
Luckily for us, since the Covid-19 school closures they have also started to produce video content in the form of short online lessons.
The lessons focus on Maths, Literacy and Phonics for children in primary school, aged 4-11. They are led by expert teachers who model current teaching strategies.
One thing to consider is that there is a small monthly subscription fee. However, for the small fee you will have access to all the video lessons, as well as their extensive written content (worksheets and resources). The resources used in the video lessons are all available on the Twinkl website and can be easily printed.
If there is one good thing to come out of a global pandemic that is the amazing teaching content that has found its way onto the internet.
Students now have access to such a wide variety of educators from all over the globe. Whether they are looking for a workout, a story, or some artistic advice, guaranteed there will be a teacher on the web ready to deliver just what they need.
As teachers and parents, we should embrace these new learning resources and make the most of the fantastic content out there. We can use it alongside our own strategies and teaching methods and feel reassured that if we face more school closures it is there to fall back on.
At Classroom DIY we say thanks to all those incredible teachers picking up online education!