Have you heard other SLPs and educators talk about interactive, virtual, or Bitmoji classrooms?
I first heard of them this past March – when, admittedly, I had too much on my plate with school shutdowns to tackle ONE. MORE. thing!
However, I have had a chance to play around with them some more since then, and I think they can be very useful for SLPs, whether you are doing in person therapy, remote therapy, teletherapy, or some combination of any of those approaches.
There are many great explainer videos on how to put one together (here’s one), but essentially, it is a way to use Google slides to organize your links and materials for a session, day, or week, as well as to assign work on a remote learning platform (such as Google Classroom). Here is how the basic setup works:
I have to say, I’ve always been more of a Powerpoint person myself, but Google Slides is slowly winning me over!
The best feature is the ability to link individual images or text directly to websites or files in your Google Drive – so that when you click on a tv screen, for example, you will be taken directly to the Youtube video you have picked out.
Or perhaps you might choose to link to an articulation PDF page in your Google Drive for your students to work on at home, or link to a video you have recorded of yourself demonstrating a therapy skill and saved in your Drive.
For example, my husband and I recorded “morning meeting” videos for his class every day during the shut downs last year, where we read a book, shared mini lessons on the Zones of Regulations, did phonological awareness activities, and modeled social skills – these would be great to save on my Google Drive and link them in my interactive classroom. These are lessons we can’t share on a public Youtube channel because of copyright (and potentially privacy) issues, but we can share directly with our students on a protected platform such as Google Classroom or SeeSaw.
Now, you can make your virtual “classroom” as basic or complex as you want – I personally prefer my simpler bulletin board design shown above, which I think will be easy to use each week with minimal tweaks, but you can go all out and make themed or seasonal rooms if you wish! You also don’t have to use a Bitmoji of yourself – I think it’s a fun way to add some personality and connect with my students, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Here is a Youtube video I made to show off some of the features:
Note: If you do use a Bitmoji, you will need to download the free Bitmoji app on your phone, and then the Bitmoji Chrome Extension on your computer.
Personally, I envision using this if I do end up doing at least some therapy in person.
I don’t know what the 2020-2021 school year will bring, but I suspect I may find myself doing some therapy in the hall or push in to classrooms to help minimize student travel within the building if we do end up with instruction at least partially in person. I can bring the Google Slides presentation up on my iPad (which is easier to clean between students than all of my games, manipulatives, and other materials!), and have all my tools for the day or week ready to pull up.
If I end up doing more teletherapy sessions, I can prep this ahead of time, so all of my materials and links will be easily available on my computer to screen share.
Some online links I have found very helpful so far:
Games and Reinforcers
- Connect 4 https://poki.com/en/g/connect-4
- Puzzles https://poki.com/en/g/jigsaw-deluxe
- Uno https://poki.com/en/g/uno-online
- Checkers https://poki.com/en/g/checkers
- Dice http://toytheater.com/dice/
- Snakes and Ladders http://toytheater.com/snakes-and-ladders/
Online Books & Videos
- Storyline Online https://www.storylineonline.net/
- Youtube – can sometimes find authors reading their own books aloud – here’s one from my friend, Hallie Sherman, author of “Ella Bella, Just Can’t Tell Ya” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb0GJB5YwiI
- Articulation Videos – Meredith from the Peachie Speechie has shared some great articulation production videos on her site! https://peachiespeechie.com/pages/peachie-speechie-videos
Wordless Videos (which pair well with this freebie!)
- Simon’s Cat videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6vXjt-BA7QHl0KnfL-7RQ
- B is For Ben https://vimeo.com/380205114
- Ormie the Pig https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUm-vAOmV1o
It may also be worth checking with your school to see if they have subscriptions that might be helpful for you, such as Reading A-Z.
Also, just a note of warning here – as long as you are sharing your Bitmoji interactive classroom with your students on a protected website (such as Google Classroom or Seesaw, or screensharing over Zoom or Google Meets), you can use whatever clipart and files you want. (All of the individual clipart seen in my examples are ones I drew myself.)
Are you interested in some clipart to make this easier? I just put together a whole set that I drew myself that I think you might find helpful! Check it out here.
Tell me, do you think this is something you would be interested in trying?
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