10 Distance Learning Must-Haves

10 Distance Learning Must-Haves

TEACHERS!  WE HAVE SURVIVED DISTANCE LEARNING and ONLINE EDUCATION! Covid-19 threw a curveball to teachers and like many of you, I was not ready! I did my best to navigate through the rest of the school year trying to ensure my students were receiving quality instruction and academic and emotional support.

While the experience was not perfect, I found some tools and resources that made remote learning a little easier!

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TEACHERS, we all deserve a break this summer!

We had a wide variety of experiences with teaching remotely, and the idea that we may have to do it again in the fall is scary! But get through it we shall, with the help of some must-have distance learning resources. While you may hear that a ring light is “essential” for distance learning, let’s be real, this is NOT essential to me. Perfect lighting does not aid me in providing high-quality instruction to my students.

With that being said, I found 10 tools that were really a game changer during online learning!

Here are 10 of my Distance Learning Must-Haves for Teachers:

1. File Folder Desktop Organizer 

You may be thinking, “distance learning is ONLINE,” but, hear me out! I still had printouts from my district, student accommodations, teacher keys, note pages, and various other pieces of paper that I needed to keep organized, like I would in the classroom. 

Having all essential paperwork easily accessible was helpful when meeting with administrators, parents, or other teachers.

I am obsessed with this acrylic file folder organizer! I used the white hanging file folders that have tabs attached (GENIUS!) for general categories such as:

  • student accommodations
  • team meeting notes
  • district information
  • admin notes.

The pink file folders were labeled with my class periods or other specific items.

I also used these printable file folder labels to label each folder.


2. Power Strip Tower 

I learned very quickly that I was going to need to connect several devices and chargers. As devices go, I was personally using my school laptop to retrieve information and resources, a desktop computer for Zoom classes with my students, and an iPad with Apple Pencil to project my notes for my students during our live session.

IT WAS A LOT.

I needed to have all technology charged and powered, and this power strip tower was perfect. I never had to worry about needing another outlet, or finding another plug in the wall.

BONUS: this particular power strip tower has a 10-ft extension!


3. Computer Screen Memo Panel 

Staying on top of everything from scheduled Zoom meetings, tutoring time for students, while keeping up with passwords and logins was A LOT. Within the first two days of distance learning I knew I needed to come up with a better system for a “to do list” that I wouldn’t lose.

This acrylic side panel memo board comes in a two pack and sticks right on your computer screen! It’s super durable and won’t ruin your monitor. I would stick all of my sticky note to these two panels. There’s something about having something staring you RIGHT in the face that forces you to complete the task!


4. Meeting & Documentation Notebook

How many meetings did you have every week? One? Two? Fifteen?! I lost count after the first five. I quickly learned that I needed a set place to take meeting notes, record important announcements, and clearly outline the next steps I was responsible for getting completed.

This Meeting Notebook, which is printable and digital. You can upload the PDF into the APP Notability or GoodNotes.

I was able to keep track of meeting objectives, take notes, and record next steps. It was so helpful to have everything I needed in one place!

You can check out the Meeting Notebook HERE!


5. Utility Cart to Store ALL THE THINGS

This utility cart kept my desktop clean, which was essential during Zoom sessions with my students.

I used the bottom tier to store electronics, extra cords, my iPad, and anything else that falls into that category. The middle tier held TEKS Aligned task cards, and notes pages for the day. Finally, the top tier held pens, pencils, paperclips, binder clips, and all other office essentials.

This cart really helped me stay organized and everything was in a spot. I was able to roll it around when I needed to switch out task card boxes or restock paper clips which was super convenient.

CHECK OUT THE TEKS ALIGNED TASK CARDS FOR EACH GRADE LEVEL:


6. Weekly Agenda Paper Pad

I loved having all pressing items displayed with sticky notes on the acrylic memo boards, but needed something to look at the week ahead that wouldn’t take up too much space.

I absolutely LOVE this Weekly Memo Pad! It’s a perfect size to write important dates and times, but not overwhelmingly large where I’m having to adjust everything on my desk to use it.


7. A Flexible and Adjustable Device Holder

Can you believe that these gadgets do more than record TikTok videos and take selfies!? I love that this attaches and locks right onto the side of my desk and can easily be manipulated anyway you need. I used this stand as a document camera with my phone, and it worked perfectly! I was able to record my voice by using the video function on the iPhone while it recorded whatever I did on my desk. 

While I loved using this gadget for instruction, it really helped me organize my devices in a way that I could look at multiple screens at once. 

You can check out the Gooseneck Device Holder here!


8. Task Card Organization Boxes

I am starting to think these task card boxes are my staple accessory. They go with me EVERYWHERE! 

I love having task cards organized into separate containers by learning standard. Data drives my instruction, and having a set of task cards for every Student Expectation (TEKS) is a game changer! I probably have 10 of these containers, and I swear by them! 

These are great to store anything teaching-related that needs to be organized by topic or unit. They are not limited to just task cards! 

Check out this bundle of two boxes!


9. Bulletin Board

As most teachers learned very quickly, distance learning means changes happen every minute. A new schedule is sent out to the staff, a new form of technology is introduced, or you have a meeting in 20 seconds! As soon as these announcements hit my inbox, I printed them out and stuck them on my bulletin board. 

I needed a place to hang important documents that didn’t need to stare me in the face (hello, acrylic memo board!). 

I love this bulletin board because it was inexpensive, yet durable and easy to hang.


10. Sweep and Swipe Laptop Cleaner

Okay, this is probably the most unexpected item on my list, but also one of my favorite purchases EVER. HEAR ME OUT! I keep this little guy in my purse and take it wherever I go! 

I know I’m not the only one who hates those little specks of WHO KNOWS WHAT on my computer screen! And don’t even lie, we were snacking up a storm during online learning! Trying to get the crumbs out from between the key on my keyboard was like dissecting some kind of creature (this is why I’m not a Biology teacher!).

I HAVE FOUND THE SOLUTION TO BOTH!

This Sweep and Swipe Laptop Cleaner is double-sided: a microfiber cloth on one side to clean your screen, and a soft brush to clean your keyboard. This has got to be the greatest invention for Type A people like me! 

Just trust me! You won’t regret it!


To check out the rest of my Distance Learning Must-Haves, visit my Amazon Shop by click here! 

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