Today’s contributor is Julie Hildebrand. Julie is a First Grade Teacher and Campus Innovation Coach at Patton Elementary in Austin, Texas. Julie’s primary goals have been to increase student achievement in literacy and technology skills in and out of her classroom. In addition to being a Heart of Texas Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Julie is also a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Digital Innovator All-Star and served on the PBS KLRU Board of Education Committee. In addition, she owns a small business to support parents with educational and engaging screen-free activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary children.
If there is anything that this year has taught us, it’s that finding ways to make our job easier is SO incredibly important. Teaching a hybrid model in first grade has proven to be quite challenging. It often feels impossible to help both my on-campus learners and remote learners while simultaneously teaching the two different groups. One tool that I have found to be particularly useful is a template slide deck for my whole group Zoom lessons.
I felt like I was constantly digging around to pull digital content from so many places and losing my students’ attention while they waited for me. Whether I was looking for digital anchor charts, YouTube read alouds, or sight word slides, it always seemed like a giant mess! I began to create a daily slide deck and would embed all of the content I was using each day. It helped organize my day and instruction tremendously, but it was taking me hours to create them each day.
I finally got smart about it and created a generic template slide deck that included all of the elements from our week. I used Canva to create some aesthetically pleasing slides that would be consistent for each subject area. This made it easy for me to locate specific subjects in a large slide deck and made it easy for my students to recognize what subject we were discussing. Now, I just have to create a copy of the template slide deck and edit to fit the content for the day. It has made planning and teaching SO much easier through our hybrid model! I finally feel organized and way less stressed than before. The slide decks have truly cut down on my transition time and on the time that my students were having to wait for me to locate the necessary materials.
I started sharing the slide decks with my first grade team and several of them began using the slides in their Zoom sessions too. We now share the slide decks and the responsibility of creating them. We all work off of the same deck and create duplicates of the slides that we may need to edit specifically for our own class. I am so thankful to have found a system to make our lives a little easier! I have become so accustomed to teaching with them, I think I’ll continue teaching with them even when we return to traditional instruction…. whenever that may be!
Here are a few examples of our slide decks: