Remote tutoring tools and information

(We are always adding more tools and information so bookmark this page and make sure to check back regularly.)

There are many creative and fun ways to connect, build a relationship and be successful in your online tutoring sessions. We hope the list below will help you. If you have something that has worked for you and your student, please share it with us!

technical platforms to use for remote tutoring







FAQs Remote Tutoring

Getting to know your student

  • Most importantly, keep it positive.
  • Check-in/ask about their day or what they’re doing
  • Talk about what you both had for lunch
  • Share a joke.
  • Share a story (food you made, a small animal you saw, happy memory)
  • Talk a little bit about your own day – maybe a hike you went on, how you cleaned out your closet, book lists you’ve created. You can positively influence them to consider doing the same thing.
  • Ask about homework

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Ice breakers, warm-up/wrap-up or a brain break*

  • Name game

Choose an adjective that matches the first letter in your first name and a gesture to introduce yourself, for example “Marvelous Michelle” and do a hand twirl and a bow. Then your student copies the name and movement and then you ask your student to come up with an adjective and gesture for their own name. Variation: it can also be an adjective that reflects how they are feeling that day.

  • 5,4,3,2,1

Ask your student to look around the room they are in and notice:

        • 5 things they can SEE
        • 4 things they can TOUCH
        • 3 things they can HEAR
        • 2 things they can SMELL
        • 1 thing they can TASTE

You can get them started by you first doing the same for your room. This exercise helps them to be in the present moment in the space they are in and to connect with each other.

  • Three changes

Study and observe each other’s appearance – hair, glasses, jewelry etc. Then both turn  off your video and change three things about your appearance, for example change hair, unbutton an overshirt or take off a sweater, take off glasses, the sillier the better, etc… Turn your video back on  and try to guess from each other what has changed. It’s very funny!

*Shared by Michelle Holdt, Arts and Restorative Learning Coordinator, San Mateo County Office of Education.
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Doing Math, Reading, Writing over Zoom

  • Take cues from the student and parents as to what they’re working on or where help is needed.
  • If they have finished their homework, time could be spent skill-building with the following activities:
          • Read a book aloud and ask questions (what do you think will happen next? What is in his backpack? What do you think she wants for her birthday?)
          • Have a puppet read or have a puppet make comments about the book. Have the puppet ask the student questions.
          • Writing – provide a prompt and share the writing with each other
          • Write a story together in which each of you contributes a sentence one after the other
          • Use the bubble diagram to organize their ideas
          • Be the scribe – if writing on the spot is stressful, the tutor can record the ideas.
          • Play MadLibs!
          • Write a letter to a family member.
          • Do a challenge question with each other (describe your dream day, a country you’d like to visit, create a cake – what would it look like? a hobby that you do)
          • Math – addition or multiplication tables, practice.
          • Make flashcards for the ones that aren’t known
          • Khan Academy: English Language Arts  material for grades 2-8 – instructional videos and questions on Language Arts topics to watch and work through together.

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How to build excitement for the next session

  • Bring a memorable item from your house
  • Both of you bring an item that starts with the same letter as your name or the other person’s name
  • Spell your or their name with objects (Jason – jar of jelly, apple, sock, orange, napkin)
  • Share a favorite game
  • Agree to both bring a beloved book to show the other person and share why you like it.
  • Have an art contest – task both of yourselves drawing a penguin and compare them.
  • Both wear a designated color – wear as many pieces of green clothing as possible
  • Talk about your birthday traditions or how your family celebrates
  • Guided meditation where you take a virtual trip to the beach or a walk in the forest for 5 minutes

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Remote tutoring special activities

These are tools and games you can use with your student as a reward, when their work is done, or if you and your student have nothing to work on.

  • Take a virtual tour of the National Parks, Monterey Bay Aquarium or other places listed here.
  • Do a virtual Escape room from this list.
  • Do a scavenger hunt retrieving random items such as a magazine, stuffed animal, wooden spoon, ball, piece of mail, and a potholder). Time each other. You can also ask your student to challenge you to find 5 objects from a list they generate.
  • Mystery Bag – put an item in a paper bag and give your student a number of questions (10-20) to find out what is in the bag.

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video resources

  • Full Video (43:01) of Remote Tutoring Training of 9/15/2020 (individual segments are listed below)
      • Video (4:25) – “Recipe for Remote Tutoring”
      • Video (1:17) – Explanation of Google classroom, used by schools during Distance Learning
      • Video (12:23) – Useful Zoom features (incl. share screen, annotation, white board, Google classroom) to know about for your online tutoring session
      • Video (1:13) – Healthy Cities Tutoring Tutor Brian and his student Cal, working on math
      • Video (1:56) – Navigating HCT website to helpful tutoring resources
      • Video (13:50) – Remote tutoring Q&A
  • Video (8:38) – example of an online tutoring session, from Tutor Doctor

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