Who hasn’t finished explaining what we want our students to do and end up with half a dozen hands up?
We wrote our instructions on the board. We provided a detailed handout. We discussed what needs to be done. Still there is confusion.
“What do I have to do?”
“I don’t get this?”
“Where do I find that?”
“I don’t remember doing that before?”
“I need a new handout.”
We circle around the room and check-in to help clarify our instructions so that students can get on with the task or activity. Sometimes we ask our ELL specialist to work with a few students. If we have an EA, they do the same.
Google Classroom does not have the same supports provided by direct instruction.We can’t physically circulate the room and provide clarification in the same way. If we are lucky, students (or parents) will pop us an email to ask for help. If we are unlucky, we get radio silence.
To avoid lots of clarification emails, or worse, no engagement, we need to think about making lessons, activities and tasks in Google Classroom REALLY easy to follow.
- Rewrite directions to make them direct, step-by-step, and brief.
- Provide a clear model of how to complete each activity or problem.
- Break up text and activities into small, manageable chunks.
- Add a visual (image, graph, chart).
- Reword or reduce the amount of text.
- Keep videos short and add closed captions.
- Provide graphic organizers, slideshow templates and framed paragraphs.