Staying in touch with families and students through FB groups
Teaching Ideas,  Teaching Tips

Staying in Touch with Families

Now that schools are all distance learning with students, I thought it would be nice to look at using Facebook groups as a way of staying in touch with your students and their families.

Many school districts use a distance learning platform and they are a great way to deliver curriculum and lessons to students en-masse. Mr. B. uses Canvas, and he has uploaded videos, lesson notes and links to websites that he hopes students will find useful.

However, he is unable to interact with his students – he makes the videos the day before and schedules them to post at 5am. So we thought it would be a good idea to set up a Facebook group for his class only where he could do a FB live and read to his students every day.

If you have never set up a FB group, I have this video to walk you through the steps. You can only set up a FB group on a laptop or desktop, and all your settings are handled on a computer rather than a phone or table.

One thing we decided was to turn comments off for the group so that only he can make announcements. We went back and forth on this one, but we wanted to make sure that any messages to Mr. B went through one source only (his email) so that he didn’t miss anything important, and that the FB group was not a two-way communication group but a way to livestream a story (however comments on FB live cannot be turned off, although you can block comments from an individual by clicking their profile pic as you are live streaming). You will have to decide what will work best for you and your parents, but just remember that these are unique times and parents can be overwhelmed and frazzled with this new system, and you don’t want them to take their frustrations out on your group page.

After you set up the group and before you invite parents, send an email to them telling the purpose of the group. Don’t tell them you will be posting daily unless you absolutely are able to commit to this. Explain that the purpose of the group is for students to see their teacher and for them to have fun together. You’re also going to want to explain the privacy settings you have in place, for instance, explain that comments and postings were turned off as you don’t want to miss any important communications. Once the email has been sent you can go ahead and invite parents.

This post has an excellent step-by-step explanation of how to live stream.

Some ideas for things to do on FB live include:

  • Read aloud stories
  • Songs and rhymes (especially those with movement)
  • Teach basic sign-language (for instance ‘I love you’) that students can use on a walk past neighbors houses
  • Go on an outside scavenger hunt
  • Give reminders about work to be completed
  • Demonstrate how to draw something
  • Lead a go-noodle dance
  • Lead an exercise group – star jumps, squats, running on the spot, roly-polies
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Play musical statues
  • *Host a Q&A

*The comments on a FB live cannot be turned off.

Next week I’m going to be looking at Zoom as a tool for video conferencing with your whole class.

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