3 Ways to Support Students Virtually

Chelsea NicolinoBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Tech Better


  • Relationship maintenance with students through a virtual environment.
  • Three tips to support students: a virtual discussion space, a survey check-in, and videos!

Teachers are resilient. We make a million decisions a day that revolve around how we can best support our students, while creating the best environment for them to learn.

Until one day, our brick and mortar classrooms are closed without notice and we are locked out for weeks…or maybe longer. Being the resilient teachers that we are, we scramble to replicate that safe, comfortable, and predictable classroom environment in a virtual space.

Being the resilient teachers that we are, we scramble to replicate that safe, comfortable, and predictable classroom environment in a virtual space. Click To Tweet

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How is this possible in a virtual environment?

Here are three simple ways you can support your students in your online classroom.

Support students by facilitating virtual discussion.

Padlet is a great tool for students to engage with their teacher or other students all in one organized space. If you are unfamiliar with Padlet, it’s an online platform that allows its users to submit responses virtually. These responses could ask a question, share ideas, or request help.

In my physical classroom, I have a Padlet set up that is called our “Classroom Parking Lot.” This is a space for my students to request help or feedback from me as they work through their learning opportunities.

The “Parking Lot” set up in multiple columns, with the topic at the top of the column and student responses submitted below. This can be a way for classroom discussions and conferences to continue to occur in the virtual space.

Create a survey to check-in with your students.

While our main goal is to continue to support our students with their learning, we must keep in mind that this is a very uneasy time for everyone, especially our students. Relationships are even more crucial during this period of social distancing.

In my classroom, I try to conference every day with my students. While this may be more difficult in a virtual space, Google Forms are a great alternative to face-to-face interaction.

Just create a simple Google Form that can include questions, such as:

  • “How are you doing?”
  • “How can I help you?”
  • “Is there anything you want to share with me?”

This way you can organize your students’ responses, know which students need more support, and get ideas for how you can provide that support. If you are stuck as to where to begin with Google Forms, I have created one for you here!

Support students and show your face!

You read that right! Take a video of yourself! Your students want to see your face. Trust me on this one, even the middle schoolers I teach want to see me.

Take your phone or laptop, flip the screen, and press record. Give your students a short “morning meeting” that updates them with a supportive message, information to keep parents and students up to date, or even push out an open-ended question that you want your students to explore.

Flipgrid is an amazing platform that allows your students to post video responses, either public or private, all in one spot. You can even record a video of yourself to your students, and have them record their video responses in a timed video. As the teacher, you can also promote classroom interaction by allowing your students to interact with their peers’ videos by liking or commenting.

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Even though these three steps will not replace the experience of having true face-to-face interaction with your students, it does allow you to continue fostering relationships with your students even if you are not in your classroom together. Just like a house is not a home, your classroom is where ever your students are. Even if that classroom is virtual.

About Chelsea Nicolino

Chelsea Nicolino is an eighth grade integrated science teacher in Akron, Ohio. She has a passion for embedding mastery learning and STEM education into her classroom. Chelsea also enjoys creating engaging inquiry-based lessons for her students to foster their love of science. In her free time, Chelsea loves connecting with other educators on social media, listening to podcasts, reading a good book, and spending time with her husband and two young children.