Okay, no one predicted that 2020 would give us the situation that we are currently in as teachers. But listen, we’ve already rocked distance learning last Spring, and if we’ve survived the murder hornets, what can stop us? When I log into Instagram I see that teachers are all over the place with face to face instruction, distance learning, or hybrid options. Regardless of the challenges we face, teachers are some of the most courageous, intelligent, and resilient groups of people that I know.
This blog post is to help those of you who might be in distance learning for the long haul. I’ve hand picked some of the favorite items to make distance learning a little bit easier for you and for your students. So without further ado, here are my 10+ favorites for distance learning. The best news is that all of the items can be found on Amazon or my website! Don’t forget to grab your FREEBIE!
So I know that Zoom meetings and distance learning was an adjustment for all of us. But did anyone else get their hair and make up done, join the Zoom meeting full eagerness and then think “Why did I even bother…the lighting is terrible!?”
I love this ring light because it gives me adjustable LED lighting along with 3 different filters to properly light any situation. My favorite place to work is close to a window to pull in natural lighting. But by noon the lighting had turned into a blinding light for me and my audience. I didn’t like moving from room to room to find the best lighting. This ring light helps me to adjust to any situation so that I can work where I want when I want.
Anyone else ever feel like they nailed a virtual lesson, but when you’re finished your kids ask you what you said in the first 30 seconds of your lesson? I’ve had too many moments of a static microphone, or a mic that is unreliable so I decided that the best option is to get a reliable mic. This frees me up to teach at my own pace instead of re-teaching things multiple times because of a technical glitch.
This microphone has noise cancelling capabilities and a USB which allows you to work on multiple devices. Grab this while it’s still in stock!
In the last year I convinced myself that I needed to get prescription glasses even though I have never need them in the past. I went to the optometrist and found that I had 20/20 vision. My doctor recommended blue light glasses and I haven’t had any trouble since. These are strange times that require more time in front of a computer than we ever thought.
Protect your eyes from eye strain by limiting the amount of blue light they have to take in. An added bonus is if you have to work on the computer late at night your brain will be able to wind down quicker without the blue light in take. Check out this short article from Harvard on blue light.
These blue light glasses come with plenty of options to fit any style. Your brain and your eyes will be thankful!
Depending on your district, some teachers aren’t allowed back into their rooms. If you’re into distance learning for the long haul, you might want to get your own white board. This white board comes with a stand, and is big enough to fit nearly any lesson.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, I would check out this white board. The white board is small, portable, and double sided. This might be perfect to show problems to your students on one side while you write the next problem on the other side. If you can’t get back into your classroom, get yourself some white board markers. These markers are low odor, and at the time of writing this blog are more than 50% off!
Distance learning will require us to rely on technology more than ever (Scary thought I know). Lessons will require a lot of slide presentations which can become stale very quick. Why not buy affordable and adorable slide templates that can work perfectly with Google Slides or Powerpoint? This set comes with 127 pre-made slides for every subject imaginable and has tons of editable options so you can make your lessons just as you envision them!
The slides are themed with school classics – buses, apples, composition notebooks, and everything cute! Forget worrying about whether or not your slides are engaging with these fun bright slides! Check out a preview of the slides below:
Okay, I know, I know. Fuzzy slippers is definitely not on the list of essentials to maximize student distance learning potential. But! Some times you gotta treat yo self! Distance learning comes with its challenges, but it also can come with some perks! Of your course you will have days with stress headaches and days with eye strain. (Unless you’ve got some spiffy blue light glasses). But everyday can be heaven for your feet 🙂
Teaching sometimes feels like you’re juggling way too much at one time. One thing that helps me keep my head straight and get things done is relying on the power of sticky notes! If you’re having a conversation with a parent or a student who needs help write yourself a sticky note and stay engaged in the conversation.
If a student asks for you to resend an assignment – STICKY NOTE. If a parent needs to send extra work over – STICKY NOTE. When an administrator gives you a date for an observation – STICKY NOTE. By the time I am done with some conversations I have a lot of sticky notes sticking to the sides of my monitor but nothing slips through the cracks. I like to visualize exactly what needs to be done so I can tackle the challenge efficiently.
If you’re looking for a simple and cheap way to spruce up your teaching area at home – look no further. This backdrop is so cute and has multiple printable items so you can make your set up exactly how you want it! Look how easy it is to set up this backdrop:
If you’re looking for more of a homey option that gives you all the farmhouse feels you might want to check out this distance learning backdrop. It includes plenty of plants and warm greens that will make your students feel right at home even through the computer screen. Make your teaching space a place you’re proud to call your own! Check out how easy the farmhouse backdrop is to set up below:
It’s too easy to spend almost all day in front of your computer with your eyes and fingers being the only moving parts of your body. On days like this I find myself completely drained and lacking motivation once teaching is finished. Why not get a fitness watch that can let you know how many steps you’ve taken? Using a watch like this is incredibly motivating! Get your teacher friends in on this and compete with them to see who can get the most steps in!
I know that a lot of fitness trackers break the bank, but at the time of writing this blog, this watch comes in at less than 40 dollars. Not only does the watch tell you how many steps you’ve taken but it also measures your heart rate, and gauges how well you’ve slept. It’s also water proof which is perfect if you’re a runner or if you like to swim to burn calories. Don’t let distance learning distance you from your fitness goals! Your body will thank you with lots of energy and motivation to conquer the day!
This goes perfectly with the fitness watch. But even if you’re not planning on picking up a new running habit, this is a perfect buy for any teacher! Like I said in the last section, it’s easy to overlook how many steps you’ve taken. It’s also easy to overlook the fact that you’re not getting enough water every day. One of the most common causes of midday fatigue is a lack of water. Keep yourself hydrated and keep crushing your goals like a boss!
I bought this water bottle myself a year ago and I take it with me EVERYWHERE. It works the same as a Yeti mug without paying the Yeti prices. I love all the color options that are available, and the fact that you can choose the right size for yourself – 14oz all the way to 64oz. Make drinking water a priority and your body will respond with tons of energy!
In these unsure times, parents appreciate teachers who are over communicating and keeping them up to date on their child’s progress. I developed this editable and printable parent communication resource to help you track when you’ve contacted parents. This is very helpful for distance learning, but it is also a resource that will carry on when you return to face to face instruction.
For those teachers who will split their time between the classroom and virtual lessons you need an organizational system that keeps you sane! I love this accordion organizer that expands to fit all your papers and has 12 pockets to expand organizational options!
Each pocket has a tab you can write a title on, and each pocket also has various colors to help keep you organized. Don’t regret leaving papers at home or the classroom – get one place to transport all your important papers from one place to another!
Enjoy this Distance Learning Freebie to help set up your virtual classroom!
I hope that this list helped you prepare for distance learning. Never forget that you are the right teacher for the job and that you don’t need to worry about things you can’t control! Do your best, set yourself up to thrive, and you’ll see growth in your kiddos! Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you would add to the list!
*This blog post includes affiliate links which means that at no extra cost to you I will earn a small commission to help offset the cost of running this site.*