Managing a classroom in a classroom is one skill set, but what about managing a digital classroom? Let’s talk about some fun and unique ways to reward and motivate learners in a digital learning environment.
Before Digital Learning
My classroom uses the free site Class Dojo to manage communication, and portfolios, and to reward students for the good choices they make. You can see how we do this here.
We allow students to earn dojos and use them to get rewards. I love having students contribute to the kinds of rewards they would like to work towards. This is usually a fun conversation and something that gets students excited to make good choices. I love that students can choose what they want to do and work towards that goal.
Making Digital Learning Adjustments
Since my students already had Dojos and were used to our redemption system, we wanted this to continue with Dojos even during digital learning began. Sadly, I can’t let them use their Dojos for no shoes, PJs, or even writing with markers. I left like these were all parent choices. But what could we do digitally?
Follow All Restrictions
Since each area has different rules, make sure you follow all protocols that your area requires. If you can’t talk to students one on one, don’t. If you can’t leave your house, don’t. This isn’t a good time to break rules. But get creative with what YOU CAN DO.
Also, get parent permission. Teamwork makes the dream work. My guess is that parents equally want you to motivate their little learners because it makes doing their school work easier on the parents.
Be Consistent With Rewards
First, make sure you are consistent with when you give us your rewards. You can do it daily, weekly, or however it works for you but be consistent. Next, remember that you are not perfect and you may make mistakes. Therefore, I always ask my parents to let me know if I missed something to reward.
One fun option to help reward and motivate learners in distance learning can be video chats. With parental permission, schedule a video chat with a student. (Parents are around.) I want this to be a time to just TALK to my students and to see them.
You could use Zoom, Google Meet, or a similar platform. Students will show you their fun toys, pets in their house, and so many other things. If you are more comfortable with two students at a time, schedule friends that may miss each other to talk with you.
Send them Mail
Another fun option to help reward and motivate learners in distance learning most teachers can participate in is mailing letters home. Student love receiving a handwritten pieces of mail. It only takes a few minutes to write kind words for a student. It only costs you a few supplies and a stamp. Plus your students have something to look forward to each day.
I did take a picture to show my parents that I did not lick any envelopes. I used a wet paper towel to seal closed this set. Sharing germs right now is not a great idea.
This one is my favorite option to help reward and motivate learners in distance learning. My students have the ability to do sidewalk stories with me. First, I set a time up with their families. Then, I set up two towels at least or more 6 feet apart. Next, I bring books and sidewalk chalk.
To begin, I sit on the towel AWAY from the door and my little learner comes out to their towel. Then, I lay out books and they choose the ones they want me to read to them. Make sure to bring a variety of books that have BIG pages so it is easy to see from a few feet away.
Some students bring their own books and read to me. That is fun as well. It is a little tough to help them with the words when you can’t see the words, but we make it work. My books don’t touch them and their books don’t touch me.
Then, I take some sidewalk chalk and write a little message to remember this moment for a little longer than our actual time together.