Learning Near or Apart, Always Together at Heart

March 1, 2022

We know the feeling. You get an email (or text, or call) announcing some sort of learning disruption and need to switch to remote or a mix of in-person learning, with slim notice. The immediate thought can often be a sinking feeling knowing you need to modify your lesson plans, grading, small groups and projects, and everything else surrounding learning…quickly! But what if we told you we have implementable steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition and feel connected to your classroom, regardless of the situation? Read on to see how to support a successful and sustainable virtual, hybrid, or blended learning program.

Confidence Comes from Being Prepared
It may sound simple, but you can get ahead of school disruptions by being prepared. Whether your middle name is “prepared” or your new year’s resolution is to work at being more prepared, here are five things to keep in mind when teaching remotely.

1. Prepare an Action Plan for Teachers
The district should establish best practices for students on extended absences and during school closings. These practical steps should make implementing this remote plan easy for teachers and implementation. It’s essential to ensure teachers have all the resources they need for a smooth transition to home learning. Make sure they understand how to create assignments, run reports, set up parent communication, and help students set goals.

Communication is key! Email or text expectations with students about what they should be working on. If your district has a Learning Management System, teachers can communicate feedback and chat with students. Excellent communication will keep students engaged in their learning and keep parents in the loop.

2. Instruct for Everyone
When teaching remotely, remember that not everyone has access to the same technology and speed at home as they would at school. Try to understand what devices students can access as it could impact the expectations you set.

A student’s digital learning experience should be flexible and interact with content in many ways. Just like at school, students should work on various instructions from home.

All children work at a different pace. Be sure to tap into your individualized learning plan, like the popular one from Classworks. An individualized learning plan helps students develop confidence almost immediately as they work at their own pace on the exact skills they are ready to learn. Look at content, process, product, and environment as they are essential to creating an environment for optimal learning.

3. Set Student Expectations
Having a clear communication of the daily schedule and an outline for what to expect puts all parties at ease. Teachers who provide students with a recommended schedule for their day will set and clarify expectations for students and parents.

Communication is important! Send out an email or a text to parents to encourage them to follow the schedule. This personal touch will go a long way!

4. Keep Students Engaged
If you have a hybrid classroom or are supporting remote learning, put your camera on and show a kind face. It’s reassuring for students to see their teacher’s friendly face regardless of where learning is happening! The classroom is a child’s primary community, whether they’re accessing that physically or virtually. Reminding them that they are a vital member of the class is a powerful way to show their value!

During class, think about leadership skills and monitor the virtual learners so that when students at home participate and contribute to the conversation, every voice is heard.

5. Lean into Technology
We know teachers are already overworked, and a hybrid schedule has the potential to be overwhelming. Suppose the teacher has a technology set-up in their classroom to deliver direct instruction to both the at-home and in-class group simultaneously. In that case, they can maintain a manageable routine with her class, regardless of where her students are learning.

Teacher lessons should be available live online, in-person, and recording, making their weekly schedule consistent. This will also help maintain a sense of community for your students.

Bonus! The direct instruction recording and resources are loaded into the learning management system, so everyone is working on the same materials simultaneously. This also allows schools to maintain a consistent master schedule and keep the same number of teachers they have planned while allowing for fluctuations among the remote and in-person population.

These disruptions are frustrating and they’ve lasted much longer than anticipated. Districts need to have a plan to keep students growing. Look for comprehensive, easy-to-use instructional resources that will make teachers’ lives easier and help students continue learning.

Explore our library for valuable free remote resources to support a successful and sustainable remote learning program. Plus, check out our virtual summit recordings! You’ll find detailed guidance about supporting students wherever they are learning and despite disruptions. We’d love to show you how Classworks can help ease the burden for school districts and make learning disruptions easier for teachers and students! Feel free to chat with us on the bottom right of your screen.

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