Three Key Tips for Adapting your Traditional Way of Teaching to Online Classrooms

young girl writing with her head leaning on one hand and the words Three Key Tips for Adapting your Traditional Way of Teaching to Online Classrooms; Removing the Stumbling Block

I was recently invited to be one of 24 Educators asked to share a response to the following question: What are the three key tips for adapting your traditional way of teaching to online classrooms? (Click here to read the full article)

Here's my response:

As the Education Director of a synagogue in Central New Jersey, a significant part of my job is running a supplemental religious school for children in PK-12. Students meet once or twice a week to learn Jewish values, holidays, history, culture, and Hebrew language. We run immersive overnight experiences for teens in grades 6-12 and offer many informal experiences for children and their families. One of the most critical features of our experiences is community building. When suddenly faced with closing our building and no longer being able to gather for school, Shabbat services, programs, etc., we realized that we had to pivot to support our families. Over these past weeks we have transitioned to online experiences for students and families in all grades. I hope our experiences can help you shape your own in more meaningful ways:
  • Connection Over Content. We recognize that maintaining communal connection is our greatest priority. We have shaped our experiences around relationships: teachers with students, students with one another. Using Zoom, we meet on the same day to preserve some “normalcy,” for a shorter amount of time. Teachers are offering developmentally appropriate activities and discussions.
  • Maintaining vs. Advancing. We are working to make sure that during this highly disruptive time in our students’ and families’ lives that we are offering some consistency and helping students to maintain levels of knowledge. We are not state mandated nor do we have specific guidelines to which we must adhere. We are doing our best to continue our curriculum in modified ways, knowing that students will pick back up in the Fall when we can (hopefully) be together in person again.
  • Social Emotional Learning. We have long had a focus on social emotional learning. This year, we dove deeper with professional development and a new project across all grades that weaves SEL together with Jewish values. We have been able to maintain this from a distance and it is offering our children a chance to talk about what they are feeling and experiencing in a safe space. They are sharing with us how much they appreciate talking about how they are feeling and recognizing that others are feeling the same way.
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