What to do Wednesday: Unengaged

Wednesday's blogs are going to be based on different experiences teachers may have in the classroom. For now, I will create the scenarios and characters and provide feedback on how I would handle the situation. I hope you find this helpful. As our community grows, my vision is to have teachers send me their ideas of what is stressing them out in the classroom so hopefully, I can help.

Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,

I can't tell you how grateful I am that my school is going virtual for the time being. I think I just need to see success at other schools to feel confident that it is safe to return to the classroom. I know I'll get there, but it is going to take some time.

I am a kindergarten teacher and we are being asked to teach virtually for a minimum of two hours a day. I have been trying to figure out how I am going to be able to keep student engagement going for two full hours? Do you know the attention span of a five-year-old? It's not very long. I know that I have to teach the curriculum, but two hours just seems like an awfully long time to me.

As excited as I am for not having to teach face-to-face right now, there are so many x-factors that I'm not sure how to handle. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


Dear Unengaged,

I'm glad you have the opportunity to teach virtually for the time being. Trust me, every teacher in your shoes is feeling the same way. You came to the right place to hopefully get you back on track for a positive start to the school year.

VIrtual student engagement is something I have been keeping a close eye on lately, especially for our youngest learners. From what I'm reading, it seems like the first couple of weeks could be a little bumpy just from the technical piece of logging in and students getting distracted while waiting. I would suggest some sort of bell ringer while students are getting settled into their virtual meetings. It could be something as simple as "Name your favorite color and tell me two things that are that color." Then you can simply unmute students one by one to answer.

Another constant factor that came up in several pieces I read was the amount of time students are sitting idle. You and I both know in a kindergarten classroom two hours of sitting is never ever going to happen. So as you create your lessons try to think of ways where students can use their bodies to help them move around. Maybe have them stand up for words that begin with "b" and do a jumping jack for words that begin with "d". 

Brain breaks are also a fun strategy to implement during a school day. GoNoodle is always a great way to get students engaged and moving. You might do a sound review or teach them a simple song. My guess is based on their squirminess, you will know exactly when a brain break is needed.

Finally, I cannot stress enough how important it will be to use your imagination. You might have to pretend you're a walking/talking Disney show, but if you have the enthusiasm and can bring it every day your students will love showing up! @itsmoniquesworld is a fabulous teacher to connect with on Instagram to watch the energy flow. I had the pleasure of attending a virtual conference that she did a brief presentation for and she was amazing! She used bubbles to captures students' attention and had her dad call and pretend he was a wizard. How clever is that? So take time to tap into your creative juices and see what you can come up with to make your virtual classroom experience unique.

I truly hope this helps you with your teacher journey. Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) if you need any more ideas or a place to just vent. I'm here for you. Best of luck this school year!

Cheer to ya,

Lesson Plan Toolbox


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