Kids Cook Memphis to lead a Bake Shop, a virtual camp for kids ages 8-14 that combined baking and sewing. Liz and I spent a lot of time planning, talking, and working behind the scenes to get ready for the week long camp. We knew that besides engaging and teaching kids new skills that we were also providing parenting relief, so we set up the camp to last all day from 9-4.
Keep the Zoom Open
After a quick morning meeting, I taught my first lesson then had the kids get to work independently while still on Zoom. By keeping the video chat open, students were able to ask questions as needed, held responsible for work, created a virtual classroom community. We were functioning much like a traditional classroom setting where students worked independently while a teacher roamed the classroom or did a quick grading of papers. When campers had questions, they just unmuted themselves and asked. During this independent work time, I was prepping for the next lesson, helping my own children, and answering emails. There was something very comforting seeing each other working.
Use a Combination of Live Lesson and Recorded Lessons
While creating Google Slides and recording close-ups of hands-on activities takes time, it pays off in the end. The combination of live and recorded lessons also means that the written lessons don't have to be super detailed because you can help to fill in the blanks and answer any questions. When teaching a lesson, I went through the slides with campers and we watched the videos together. They were then able to immediately ask questions and I could check for understanding before I set them off to work. During independent work time, they could go back and watch videos as needed.
Have Extensions for Early Finishers
This is always a problem, right? What do you do with those who work quickly? Both Liz and I had extensions for campers who had extra time on their hands. These lessons were placed at the end of the Google Slides for the day.
Daily Schedules are Important
Having a predictable daily schedule will help both you and families stay on task. While you'll need to be flexible, it's really nice to know that you're going to do the same things every day like morning meetings, check-ins, breaks, and finish times. The day "zoomed" by and everyone was happy and felt successful.