Engaging students has been an ongoing struggle during this time of distance learning. K-12 educators have been working together through their school networks and on social media to come up with effective tactics to engage students virtually. Elementary students have been one of the most difficult because of their curiosity, wandering minds, and excitement. We recently spoke with Melisa Hayes to learn how she is engaging her elementary students during distance learning.

 7 Creative Ideas to Engage Elementary Students during Distance Learning

Melisa shared some of the creative ways that she keeps her 2nd grade students engaged using devices and technology. Here is a list of 7 ideas that you can use to engage elementary students during this time.

1. Have a routine

Make distance learning similar to in-person learning by having a routine. This helps students to have a streamlined day and already know what to expect the day before.

2. Mystery Zooms 

Students have a map and a mystery guest gives them clues. Students then have to guess where they are in the room and once they get it right the guest reads them a book or teachers a lesson. This gets students excited, engaged, and thinking.

3. Teach me Tuesdays 

Students have the role of the teacher! They are able to share something with the class, read a story, or teach them a lesson.

4. Trainer Thursdays 

This is a tactic to get students up and moving. This activity includes a stretch or some sort of exercise that students can do from their homes.

5. STEM each week

Incorporate some fun STEM activities that can promote critical thinking. Many STEM activities can be done at home and with items in any typical household.

6. Genius Hour

Teach thought describes genius hour as, “an approach to learning where students are guided by their own interests, background knowledge, and curiosity to learn.”

7. Classroom transformations 

Turn your classroom or virtual classroom into something unimaginable. Melisa explains how she decorates her house to engage her students. She recently did a vet themed classroom for a math lesson they did that involved a vet clinic. 

Engagement is all about creativity. Build connections and relationships with students to find out what is most interesting to them so that you can cater lessons to their needs. We hope you can use these tips to engage elementary students in 2021.

 Listen to the full conversation with Melisa Hayes on our Tackling Tech Podcast!

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath interviews Melisa Hayes, a 2nd-grade Teacher in Ohio. Melisa has been teaching remotely since her school started an online academy in response to the pandemic. She shares the creative ways she engages her young students over Zoom, the tools she uses, and how her PLN on Twitter has boosted her confidence as a teacher.

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