In today’s blog post we’ll unpack tip #4 of our “10 Tips for a Successful Synchronous Lesson” series. Tip #4: Do a social check-in at the beginning of class.
Greet each student as he or she joins the virtual classroom. Welcome the student by name and ask them basic questions, such as how they are, or how their weekend was. Ask them personal (but not too personal) questions, about a family member, for example, or a pet, or why they missed a previous lesson. These types of questions show students that you “see” them, care about them, and view them as a valued member of the classroom.
In the virtual classroom, it’s more difficult to “read” students (to see who’s engaged, who’s struggling, etc.) than in the physical classroom. In the virtual classroom, you’ll need to create opportunities to find out this information. And the social check-in is a good example. You can ask students what they thought of the homework assignment or of the previous lesson. Was it easy or challenging? What did they like most or least about it?
If the class is very large, you probably won’t be able to welcome everyone – especially latecomers – before class begins. In this case, you can continue welcoming students after the first warm-up activity, or stagger check-ins during the lesson. But make sure to check in with every student, as this will help them feel connected to (rather than isolated from) the group.
See you next week, when we delve into tip #5: Tell students what to expect during the lesson.