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COVID-19 and School Closures

coronavirus school closure

Because of the Coronavirus, more and more schools are either closing or at least starting to prepare for possible closures. In the event of a school closure, teachers and students may need to rely on e-learning. Here are a couple of resources for you to explore as virtual teaching options.

Please feel free to share with your districts as you meet to prepare. Teachers, you may also join us in the Markers and Minions Teacher Community Facebook group to share and receive additional support.

For Remote Teaching

I am converting my resources to digital for everyone and I will be updated the original files with digital versions. This will be a free update to anyone who owns my resources. Click here to see a post with updates on what resources I have to support your remote learning!

1. Screencastify
This is a simple and free screen recorder that allows you to record either your desktop, a browser window, or just yourself. You can record yourself teaching a lesson by either recording yourself or by recording a PowerPoint, e-book, or whatever else you want to share on your screen. After you record, you’ll be able to copy a shareable link to the video and distribute that link to your students.

2. Kami
This is an amazing software that allows students to annotate on PDFs. I always recommend this to teachers who like their students to complete my Close Reading Companions digitally. Click here to see a Screencastify recording I did (no sound) showing how to do a basic text annotation on a PDF.

I reached out to Kami and asked if they had any free deals for teachers affected by school closures, and they do! And I learned that you can do A LOT more than just annotate PDFs. You can essentially create a whole classroom complete with video recordings, links, voice recordings… you name it. They integrate with Google Classroom as well. Here’s the response from Kami. Check out the tutorial link they provided:

We are offering a free license to all schools facing closure due to the Coronavirus outbreak, or preparing for potential closure and wanting to on-board teachers ahead of that. I’m happy to help out if this applies to you.
If that would interest you, you are welcome to email and let us know the email domain(s) that your school will use for Kami accounts. We will be happy to set up the domain-wide license for you.
Just in case it is useful to you, here’s a “How-To” article on our Knowledge Base, showing how you can use Kami for Remote Learning, including a link to a demo video

3. Benchmark Universe
If you’re a Benchmark Advance teacher, you can use the customization feature to annotate the e-books for your lessons. Then, you can assign that specific customization to your students. Please refer to this blog post all about Benchmark Advance resources for e-learning.

4. Zoom
This is an audio and video conferencing software that allows you to hold meetings between you and your students. They are upgrading their free license to include unlimited number of video meetings with up to 100 participants in each one.

5. Google Meet
Google announced that they will offer the Enterprise edition of G Suite for free. You can live stream and record meetings/hangouts. Here’s another article they put out.

6. Airtable
I really like Airtable as a cloud-based organizational platform. As a school or district, you can use it to provide your families with a “home-base.” Teachers, you can create boards within that shared base to upload lessons, links (including your Screencastify links!), etc. and parents can access your class Airtable board to download items to work on at home. Click here to see how I use Airtable as a teacher to get a feel for how it works. Alternatively, Padlet works well for sharing links and resources, too. Just create a class Padlet for free.

7. Google Sites
An example was shared in my Facebook group of how a school overseas has organized their remote learning. (I got permission to share here.) It’s a Google Site divided up by grade level with recorded lessons and hyperlinks. Amazing! Sidenote: I notice they link some of their resources they created on Google Docs. PLEASE don’t click “Request Edit Access” because they will get inundated with emails. If you’d like to use any of the Google Docs, click on File > Make a Copy.

Companies Offering Free Online Resources

Here is a growing list with educational companies that are offering free online resources. I have linked their official statements that detail what they are offering. Many companies are offering free services; just look in their blog or announcements sections. If you have any additional suggestions to add to this list, please leave a comment on this blog post and I will add them.

If you own Markers and Minions Resources

See this post outlining Markers and Minions digital resources, and see this post with ideas for take-home paper packets using my resources.

Video Tutorials for Using Google Slides, Docs, and Google Classroom

There are just some of the options you have and there are MANY others out there online. Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe the situations some of you all are facing, but just know that you’re not alone and that many companies are willing to help by providing free access to their resources.

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