#1 Collaborate with other teachers

  • There's no need to go it alone! Collaborate with other teachers at your school and beyond who teach your grade level or subject to create and adapt distance learning lessons and activities. Finding consistent ways to engage with students through distance learning at your school will help your students be successful and will help parents supporting multiple students at home.

    A recommended online community is the Temporary School Closure Support Facebook Group.

#2 Be Careful with your Time

    When a teacher uses a discussion board online, the expectation is that all students will respond. As a consistent strategy, respond directly to some of the student responses. Frequency of responses will depend on grade level, number of students, and more.

    When sending students home with paper packets, student work returns to you in waves. Make it a practice to respond selectively to student comments and responses. Find efficient, innovative ways to formally and summatively assess student progress.

#3 Provide Parent Instructions

  • Provide parents with instructions so that they know what steps to take to actively support their student in distance learning. Provide an overview of the week, key learning outcomes, and the primary products students will create to show their understanding. Give tips and tricks for helping their student if it seems appropriate. Parents are your partners in the learning process! Note: Providing parents with things like answer keys for math problems, etc., is encouraged with distance learning. Give parents the tools they need to provide support.

    Set up parent communications in your online learning module, and/or email parents weekly updates.

    Include a Parent Newsletter or weekly Parent Info Sheet in each student’s packet for the week.

#4 Send a Weekly Student Message

    Post a weekly video so your students can see and hear you (can be 3 minutes or less). Review highlights of the previous week and give a preview of what's coming this week.

    Send your students a pre-recorded weekly audio message so they can hear you (use your school's RoboCall). Review highlights of the previous week and give a preview of what's coming this week.

#5 Connect with Students Regularly

    Hold "Teacher Talk Times" (lower grades) or "Office Hours" (upper grades) for your students by setting time aside each school day to be available by Zoom. Students can check in if they have questions about assignments - or if they just need to see and hear their teacher.

    Send a Weekly Student Newsletter with a greeting from you. In the lower grades, call each student individually at least once a week to check in on their academic progress as well as their well-being. In the upper grades, give specific hours each day that students and families can call you to ask questions and/or seek support.

#6 Ask Questions and Respond to answers

  • Ask students questions and respond to the questions they pose. 

    Use online tools such as discussion boards to ask probing questions, reply to student questions and comments, and more. A discussion can be used for whole-class, small group, and individual communication.

    Pose questions as part of paper packets and respond to them as frequently as possible. Create opportunities for students to answer questions each day they're home, and pick and choose select days or answers for responses.

#7 Focus on Active Learning

    To engage students who are not in the room during a lesson, consider creating a mix of: 

    1. discussions
    2. collaborative work
    3. video and audio clips
    4. hands-on activities
    5. individual work.

    To engage students who are not in the room during a lesson, consider creating a mix of: 

    1. hands-on activities done individually at home
    2. individual work.
    3. Upper Grades only: If students don't have computers but do have phones, in the upper grades structured discussions via phone between pairs of students could also prove possible.

#8 Chunk Content

  • Chunking = breaking content down into smaller, bite-sized bits of easily digestible information that are easy to comprehend, learn, and commit to memory.

    Chunking is particularly important in online learning. Without a teacher present to answer questions and guide the learning process, online learning content has to be organized in a logical and progressive way through chunking. For more info, see the appropriate section of this CDE page

    Chunking applies to paper-based remote learning, as a student can easily get overwhelmed without a teacher to guide the learning process. Utilizing a Distance Learning Framework for Developing Instruction will enable you to design lessons with a structure that is manageable for the student.

#9 Give Multiple Options for Assignments

  • Diversify how students can show understanding, going beyond papers and quizzes. 

    Increase student engagement by encouraging students to create content through the use of slides, videos, podcasts, blogs, data visualizations, and more.

    Increase student engagement by encouraging students to create content through hands-on projects. Students can submit these projects in addition to paper packets and/or take photos of projects (a great use of a cell phone) and submit the photos.

#10 Stay Flexible with Pacing

  • In the face-to-face classroom it is relatively easy to keep students working at the same pace. Individual learning styles, particularly when it comes to pace, will be evident in distance learning. 

    Consider these strategies: 

    1. Have all work for the week posted by the start of the week and due at the end of the week (or even over the weekend). 
    2. Try working with "windows of time" instead of specific due dates for some assignments. 
    3. Be prepared to differentiate due dates for students who are struggling.