Then we have some resources and tips for you as you venture upon this new way of work. Start by trying to accept that the main difference is about the delivery and not necessarily the instruction itself. Not much else really changes! Keeping this key concept in mind will help offer you comfort when faced with this seemingly overwhelming undertaking and motivate you to move forward if you have been tasked to continue your instructional practices when face to face is not an option.
Implications for Differences in Delivery
Develop new routines. This involves scheduling for differentiated groups and choosing a consistent virtual platform. You will also want to consider the potential limited access to your virtual lessons due to lack of family resources. It is important to consult with families to help meet their specific needs. You may opt to record certain lessons as opposed to going live with all your lessons.
Establish ground rules. Some ideas include active participation, focus on the lesson, keep camera on and stay within view, save chatting with classmates until the end of the lesson, and invite family support by teacher request.
Use low-tech materials. This probably seems counterintuitive since the lesson is already virtual; however, pen and paper tasks can go a long way! By keeping the rest simple, you do not need to worry as much about interruptions because you need to troubleshoot technology issues in the midst of a lesson. Also, be mindful whether the students can adequately see your materials. Using enlarged print/pictures or slides with your lessons will provide helpful visuals for your students.
Continue explicit instruction lesson plan structure. You are still going to introduce your lesson, provide review, model new content and use a gradual release of responsibility approach for guided and independent practice, and finally, conclude your lesson. Develop slides or use a whiteboard feature that can remind students of required steps and show examples along the way.
Still provide opportunities to respond and feedback. Providing feedback virtually is possible and hugely important. “Research consistently indicates that providing students with effective instructional feedback has a powerful effect on their learning and is an essential core teaching practice,” (Council for Exceptional Children [CEC], 2019). When you are delivering a virtual lesson, students can respond by pointing to yes/no cards, moving their body to respond/touch a body part, or point to an ABCD response choice card. Then you can provide corrective feedback. Even during a recorded session, you can build in times to ask the student to pause and reflect or supply answer keys in advance for students to check their own work. Additionally, when going live, don’t forget to provide feedback on how a student is engaging in real time. This can assist in building relationships with your students when they may be feeling isolated during changing times.
Watch Applying the Principles of Explicit Instruction to ONLINE Teaching Series by Anita Archer:
The Magic is in the Instruction Part 1
The Magic is in the Instruction Part 2
Review VDOE’s Virginia Learns Anywhere document for additional recommendations for online teaching; including a list of technology platforms, the use of feedback, and suggested daily learning times by grade.
Submit an Assistance Request Form if you have any other questions regarding teaching virtually or would like a personalized Zoom tutorial with one of our T-TAC ODU specialists.
Council for Exceptional Children. (2019). High leverage practices for inclusive classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge.