Distance Learning with Common Sense: Connecting Socially in a Time of Social Distancing

Being apart from our classrooms is hard. We recognize the emotional toll school closures are having on our students and ourselves. How can we create an environment that allows students to connect and be heard? Minnesota educator Emily Eggers discusses the importance of encouraging social interaction during school closures.

As schools across the country continue to close due to the coronavirus, we’re all doing our best to navigate teaching and learning from home. But let’s be honest: It’s not easy! In this twice-weekly video series from Common Sense, we sit down for short discussions with educators from all over the country to learn how they’re coping with school closures, putting together distance-learning plans, and addressing some of the challenges that come with teaching remotely.

Recorded on 4/17/2020.


Emily Eggers @mamaeggscva (Instagram)
Middle school language arts teacher, Cyber Village Academy

Barbara Huth @Barbara_Huth
D.C. Metro education program manager, Common Sense Education


Have some flexible time to socialize where the students, as well as the teacher, can talk. The focus isn’t necessarily on learning.
— Scavenger hunt: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BaHEarozi4WXIjmOwVIPZ9ycnDdM458m/view?usp=sharing
— Zoom bingo: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oQrWFtnEpc_sDwv3PDfzz5vnT1iyz7rt/view?usp=sharing
— Restorative practice circles

Use discussion boards or apps like Flipgrid to get students talking to each other about their learning.
— Getting started with Flipgrid: https://mamaeggers.com/2020/03/11/your-guide-to-getting-started-with-flipgrid/#more-113
— 5 Tips for Using Flipgrid with Shy Students: https://mamaeggers.com/2020/03/11/5-tips-for-using-flipgrid-with-shy-students/#more-120

Use this as a time to interact with your students, too!
— Building Student Relationships Through Online Learning: https://mamaeggers.com/2020/04/12/student-relationships-through-online-learning/#more-310

This is a great time to explicitly teach the rules of online discussion and debate.
— Online expectations poster: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uwowpdDwAgGOA9DYGBDzoVQTaLOshVJi/view?usp=sharing
— Common Sense Education’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum: https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship/curriculum

Pedagogy first: If you wouldn’t do it in the face-to-face classroom, don’t do it online.

Get registration notifications by email each week by signing up for Common Sense Education’s Digital Classroom newsletter: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/newsletters.

Are you looking for resources to help during the school closures? We’ve got you. Common Sense has free tips and tools for educators and families to support the transition to at-home learning. Get remote teaching resources, family education materials, and research-backed strategies to ease stress and encourage learning:
For Educators: https://www.commonsense.org/education/coronavirus-resources
For Families: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/resources-for-families-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

Join the conversation in our Facebook group, Common Sense Educators: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CommonSenseEducators/.

See more videos from the series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8TjVyuBdsCm83SWlcCqv3yfnORe0g7_q

Common Sense Education supports K–12 schools with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens. Our innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools. ​Schools everywhere rely on our free curriculum, expert advice, and edtech ratings to help kids thrive. Visit us at https://www.commonsense.org/education/.

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