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Keeping It Simple With a Teacher's Virtual Tool Kit

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

I used to think that I couldn't survive without all my online PDFs and slides. I used to struggle with my students as they took over the remote control or worse yet, they never were able to access it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Have you ever planned the perfect online lesson, yet something just didn't go your way? Maybe you relied on the remote-control access and students just kept taking over the lesson totally sending you off course and losing control of the lesson?

This week, I am sharing what a typical virtual tool kit on the teacher's side looks like if you were to take away slides and websites just in case you wanted to keep it simple. 😉 We don't need all the bells and whistles to gain our student's attention, sometimes they just want to feel connected to us like they would in person.

Just like every in-person lesson, a solid lesson always starts with a lesson plan. The lesson plan should be filled out to guide your session. What sounds will you practice? What is your concept? What are trouble areas? What game or activity do you have planned? What words are you going to practice for spelling or reading? We are going to go on the assumption that your lesson plan will look just like an in-person lesson plan since you are going to keep it simple!

Sound Cards

Every great lesson starts with a warmup. I tell the students just like we learn to warm up for sports, we need to warm up with our sound cards. I prefer color-coded sound cards like the ones from Wilson Reading System or the character cards from Reading with TLC, but any sound cards will do. I used to have slides of all the sound cards, but my students started saying they were bored. I love using sound cards and having those quick teachable moments.

Word Cards

Words cards are important because students practice reading a whole word in isolation. It's also important to practice real words and nonsense words. This is the perfect opportunity to add in a game with a bonus at the front of the lesson. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a tic-tac-toe game. It's Fall, so you could try pulling word cards from a pumpkin 🎃 you have lying around. Students will love a variety of interactive games. Try this game. It's in my new store which is featuring Fall games.

Word Lists

Word lists are important so students can practice reading words that are next to each other, but there is no picture support. It's more challenging than reading word cards where the words are in isolation.

Decodable Phrases and Texts

It's so easy to grab what's on your bookcase and use decodable phrases and texts. I love to let the student mark up and scoop to practice fluency. IF you are set up with a keeping-it-simple virtual tool kit, you only need the video and document camera to achieve this essential practice.

Magnetic Letter Board

So, let's talk spelling. I like to keep it simple on my side of a lesson with just a magnetic letter board. I prefer the Wilson letter board, but any letter board will do. If you want to know about the magnetic letter board activity I do, head to this blog.

Student Binder

As a practitioner, we want to make sure we are maintaining progress monitoring. A student binder should include daily lesson plans, progress notes, a copy of their dictation sheet, a word-list challenge chart, any decodable you want them to read, any evaluation a parent has shared, a parent questionnaire, and a copy of your contract. Additionally, include a record of the patterns you have introduced, high frequency words, and new vocabulary. I love the Wilson student binder as a Wilson dyslexia practitioner, but you can set up your own too.

Next week, I'll chat more about keeping it simple, and what's inside a student's virtual tool kit.

Keep Reaching and Teaching


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