HI, friends. This week, I am chatting about my favorite teacher features in Zoom. I use these every day in my teaching. I support struggling readers, and these features help me make them successful. They may seem simple, but they make a huge impact on how I teach and keep them engaged and focused. I hope they will also help you with supporting your students.
This feature I'm discussing first for a reason. I like to introduce it to my students on the first day of us learning together. For my young students, I stomp my feet and say "Oh Oh, the marker blockers are coming". This means that I am disabling the annotation. When they are out of control on the screen, the marker blocker comes. You have to maintain control during a teaching session, and the marker blocker can help. If they are able to scribble all over the screen, then things are definitely out of control.
Here is a picture of how to find the Marker Blocker or to disable annotation.
Pinning or Spotlight
This is probably my favorite feature. Pinning, or the Spotlight feature, allows you, or your student, to pin you in their video. Initially, it gives you a preview of how you and your teaching background look. With this, you can take advantage of any empty space in the viewing area by adding useful props. Next, it keeps you on the screen, meaning that you don't leave the main picture. When someone speaks, you stay pinned and centered just like with direct instruction.
Finally, if you teach your student to pin you on their side, there's less distractions in their environment. Again, you are front and center during the lesson. I've found that students don't play with their hair like they're in a beauty parlor when they see that I'm always there.💇♀️ Pinning works best when there is only video and audio being used. The Spotlight feature is similar, except that it is used when you have three or more students in the Zoom meeting. As the meeting host, you are in control on who is pinned. Here is a link on how to pin effectively: Click here.
This square is a box that can be of any color of your choosing. It actually has more uses than you first might think. It can cover external text that you're sharing, whether under the document camera or online. You can also change the color and cover-up portions of a word by using the selector tool. Finally, you can use it as an impromptu whiteboard if you are on, for example, a shared-screen resource. By adding a whiteboard, you don't have to go back and forth between the Zoom session and the whiteboard.
This is also related to the Square I just mentioned. It is so hard to teach handwriting online. I love turning the whiteboard into a blackboard using a square. I use a white pen to make handwriting lines. My students get such a kick out of this! This makes my letters show up so much brighter for my students. Tip: I use the stamp to show how to make the letter.
Raise Your Hand
My final teacher feature in Zoom is one that I love not to work. When I'm working one-on-one, I actually close out the ability for my student to raise their hand. I want to see them raise their physical hand 🖐, and my students get such a kick out of it! I disable this one right away. 😉
I hope my explanations of my favorite teacher features helped you. I love sharing information with you that you can put into practice right away. If you've been a member of the Read to Rewire community for awhile, you know that I also love to share free resources that you can use in your teaching. This week, I'm sharing a sound card resource. Click below on the image or HERE to download the cards.
Comment below and let me know how you used them. If you have any questions about any of the features above, also let me know! I'm happy to help! 😊
Have a great week!
Michelle @ Read to Rewire