Science in the City

Jun 9, 2021

Helping Your Students Adapt To Online Learning

With such a huge increase in online learning, students are finding it more difficult than ever to cope. A large change in the style of learning is tricky to deal with, as most pupils are used to having a type of support from their teachers that is hard to achieve in a virtual classroom. Helping your students adapt to online learning will benefit their education dramatically, and it couldn't be easier to get started today. So, if you would like to find out more, then read on to uncover some brilliant tips that you can utilize today to show your students how to make the most of online learning now! 

Image Source - Pexels 

Make Yourself Available

One of the most important things that you must always remember when attempting to support your students through online learning is to make yourself available. You can have set times to respond to messages or emails, and set office hours on Zoom, but it is important that your students know how to reach you, and know that they will get a response. Having to work remotely can make it difficult for you to 'be there' for your pupils, as you can't physically stand by their side and talk through any issues they may have. Ensuring that you offer some kind of virtual replacement in the form of an email address or messaging service is essential, as this way your students will be able to get in touch with you at any time. Some kids may struggle when speaking in front of the class which might be the only option when performing an online lesson, so having the choice to virtually step to one side and speak in private (such as via email, messaging, or a Zoom breakout room) can be a real benefit. 

Adapt Your Teaching Style

As the style of learning has changed, so should your teaching. Attempting to follow your old work plan will make things far more complicated than it needs to be. It's going to be much easier to start again with a new way of thinking. Virtual learning requires a different approach, so it's a good idea to perform some research on useful platforms such as an edtech blog for K-12 teachers and administrators or an online learning center that you can use for inspiration. Some schools have been using virtual classrooms well before the pandemic struck, so it's a good idea to look to them in order to learn from past mistakes to avoid encountering any bumps along the way. 

Relieve Some Pressure

Though of course your students must still meet reasonable deadlines, you should aim to relieve a little pressure when performing virtual learning. There are many struggles that a child can face when attempting to learn from home, from an increase in distractions to a lack of support, so it's vital that you don't maintain the same high expectations as you would in any normal school environment. Be lenient, or flexible, when necessary, and always listen to what your students have to say - their issues could be justified, so it's important that you give them the opportunity to shine in their own time. 

Helping your students adapt to online learning has never been so simple when you can take the time to utilize the brilliant tips and tricks detailed above.

Apr 2, 2021

The More Organized You Are, The More Your Students Benefit

picture of desks and organized classroom

 Unsplash - CC0 License

As teachers, we spend a lot of our time thinking about the needs of our students. After all, it’s our job to make sure that they receive the style of learning best suited to them. We don’t want children left behind. 

But it turns out that we can help students the most when we focus on improving ourselves - how we do our job. Yes - we all know our subjects inside out. But many of us are lacking in the organization department. And that’s slowing us down, draining our energy, and making us less available to students.

In this post, therefore, we take a look at some of the strategies that you can use to improve how you spend your time and deliver lessons. Here are some of the steps that work for all teachers. 

Add Bins And Buckets To The Classroom

Organizing for one child is a challenge. But when you have thirty in a classroom, it’s a nightmare. 

The solution here for many teachers is to use labeled buckets and bins, arranged on racks. Storage containers allow you to neatly tidy away all of your learning tools and implements, without them cluttering up the classroom or storage cupboards.

How you arrange this is very much up to you. Usually, you can think of overall categories that allow you to make the best use of your available space.

Create Paper Routines

Classrooms have a habit of generating vast quantities of papers. Teachers have papers for teacher reports, students have them for graded tests and homework assignments. And you may even have papers for lesson plans. 

Here’s an idea: create a routine for all your papers by placing them in specific trays. One tray is for tests, another for student work, and another for staff documents you’re working on right now. This way, you can prevent them from getting muddled up and see how much work you need to do before your various deadlines. 

Keep Your Notebook With You At All Times

We can’t emphasize this point enough: keep your notebook with you at all times. It’s critical because it allows you to jot down ideas and record information on the fly, instead of trying to recall it from memory later. 

Sites like show some examples of the types of notebooks that teachers use. Yes - they’re colorful. But they also include handy dividers that allow you to segment information logically. 

Keep Your Lists Nearby

You can either use a notebook for this or a separate piece of paper. But always make sure that you keep your lists nearby. Most people keep their lists next to their computers or desk, according to  This way, you always have a record of what you’ve done so far, and what you still need to do. 

Make Sure That Every Item In The Classroom Has A Home

Lastly, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a place for every learning tool in your classroom and that your students know where they are. If things don’t have a home, clutter will quickly build up. 

What are your organization tips? Please comment below and share your best classroom tips!

Sep 17, 2020

The Best Sources of Literature to Read in Science Class

Encouraging students to read is such an important piece of education, at all grade levels and ages, and across all subject areas. Even as a science teacher, and although I am obviously a huge proponent of hands-on engaging science activities, I still consider reading so important.  In fact, I have an entire section of literacy posts on my blog. 

As we face a school year where things are quite different than usual, and where we are changing our teaching methods in many ways. Part of that change, or many of us, maybe an increased need for relationship-building activities with our students. At the same time, we are feeling pressure to make sure that we cover the curriculum.

The Best Sources of Literature in Science Class

I would like to suggest that you add in reading some books, or sections of books with your students. Reading can be a great way to engage students, to build community, to build literacy skills, and to engage them, particularly at a time when many hands-on activities may be off-limits. 

There are many fantastic science books that can be used in any of the following ways (and more):

  • Used in an English class to supplement your science lessons

  • Used as an enrichment activity

  • Used as a more engaging resource than a textbook

  • Used as an engagement hook at the start

  • Used as a way to see applications and wrap up a topic

  • Used as a tool to build vocabulary

You do not have to use the entire book or a long book. It is easy to use a chapter or a short story.  This can ensure that students start out on the same page, with a common experience. At this time when we are more divided than ever, it is important to create a place for students to connect. It’s even better if we can connect to our classroom and our lessons. 

These books will allow us a chance to do both. Did you know that every year since 1973, the National Science Teacher's Association has published a list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for students grades K-12 (Prior to 2002 the lists are only grades K-8).   Some years they even linked suggested activities. 

I hope you find this useful and fun.  I think your students will really enjoy this addition to the class. If you do use any of these resources, I would love to for you comment below with what resource you used, and how you used it.


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