Resources for Teaching Online
Welcome to Corwin’s Resources for teaching online! As many schools and districts have transitioned between in-person, distance, blended, and hybrid learning in response to COVID-19, this toolkit will provide you with the resources you need to adapt and provide exceptional instruction for your students.
It’s important to remember to attempt to maintain as much normalcy with your students as possible. They take their cues from you! As you’ll see in this guide, many of our best practices for teaching and learning can easily be adapted for various learning settings.
Scroll or click to navigate:
- Instructional Best Practices of Online Learning
- Assessment in Online Learning
- Student Engagement in Online Learning
- Feedback in Online Learning
- Family Communication and Engagement in Online Learning
- Other Online Resources for Teachers and Students During This Season
- Connecting With Other Teachers Online
- Further Reading
Instructional Best Practices for Online Learning
Good news! Our best practices of face-to-face teaching still apply when teaching online. We do not have to start from scratch. The resources linked below will help you think through your current classroom practice and how it might best translate to online teaching.
- During online lessons, maintain a balance between instructional time and student practice. Consider allowing online class time for students to complete work that you would normally assign for homework. Remember that students will be learning on a screen all day, so we want to mitigate the amount of time they have to spend online after school hours.
- Encourage students to keep a physical planner to keep track of assignments and class schedules. During online learning, students are getting a lot of input with instruction and assignments posted online for all of their classes. This has the potential to be information overload. Writing down key information in their planners will force them to process and prioritize the tasks at hand.
- Utilize the Learning Management System your school already has to post instructional content, the learning calendar, and assignments. There is no need to reinvent the wheel!
Setting Up Your Digital Classroom
- The Building Blocks of a Digital Classroom
- How to Develop a Safe and Dynamic Learning Community Online
- See this list of Online Education Tools by Discipline to get a sense of the online resources available to you
- It is extremely important to continue to support the development of our students’ executive functioning skills, especially when they are managing their own learning online. Here is a list of Executive Functioning Strategies and Supportive Technology. You may also be interested in this list of Online Resources to Support Executive Functioning
- Learn how to use technology activities to build community relationships among students with this list of Tech Community Connectors
- How to Flip Learning With Videos
Designing Remote Learning Experiences
- 5 Tips for Designing Asynchronous or Remote Learning
- 3 Ways to Use Video Conferencing with Students Learning Remotely
- How to take PBL online
- COVID19 virtual learning resources for teachers, parents, and leaders
- Free virtual PBL project to download
- Free virtual mini-STEM-project to download
- Online Learning Examples for English Language Arts, History and Social Studies, Science, and Math
Instructional Tools & Best Practices
- A step-by-step guide on How to Build a Brain-Compatible Lesson by Marcia Tate. Again, our best practices should translate to online learning!
- Well designed Learning Intentions and Success Criteria are still key in guiding student learning. For a quick refresher on creating Learning Intentions and Success criteria see this excerpt from The Teacher Clarity Playbook.
- Here are some sample rich tasks for deep mathematical learning that can be adapted to facilitate online or shared with parents for at-home learning.
Assessment in Online Learning
There are some new factors you may have to consider as you plan assessment for online learning, such as students’ access to the internet and learning resources. However, these factors shouldn’t have a huge effect on how we measure learning if we are employing best practices in assessment.
- Students will have all of their learning resources at their fingertips, and we should embrace this instead of attempt to control or limit access for the sake of assessment. Instead, design assessments that measure higher level thinking and students’ ability to transfer their learning – not the ability to recall basic facts they can easily look up online or in the instructional resources.
- Use online tools to collect students’ self-assessment throughout each unit. Because you aren’t meeting with students face to face, this feedback will be crucial in your formative assessment process.
- Make the most of your Learning Management System by designing assessments within the program and asking for students to share all deliverables through that system.
- Online Formative Assessment during a Lesson
- Learn how to Maximize Your LMS for Assessment
- Use Technology to Assess Student Learning after a Lesson
- Foster Student Ownership Through Online Formative Assessment
Student Engagement in Online Learning
How do we get a sense of student engagement and learning when we aren’t spending time with students face-to-face? This set of resources will help you plan to promote and assess student engagement throughout the online learning journey.
- Use online polls (like Poll Everywhere) to encourage thinking and participation during an online lesson
- Engage students by asking good questions that prompt higher level thinking. Higher level thinking is crucial in online learning! Students will have the internet and all their resources at their fingertips. How can we design instruction and assessment that makes use of their access to those resources, and how can we ask questions in a way that promotes engagement and critical thinking skills?
- If you are posting short instructional videos instead of hosting live online class sessions, consider asking quick questions in each video (with a specific time students must respond by) to ensure student participation. If a student doesn’t send in a response, make a note to touch base with that student – this is a good opportunity to make sure all students have access to the online classroom environment.
Lean on Self-Assessment to Get Students Engaged in Their Own Learning
- Five Strategies Designed to Develop Metacognition in the Classroom
- Student-led Learning Plan Template: Plan Your Attack
- Student Learning Log: Guided Reflection
- Online End-of-Week Exit Ticket to gauge student learning
- Ongoing Self Assessment Template for Students
Ask Questions that Will Engage Students in the Learning
- Here are just a few Energizing Brain Breaks you can do with students during an online class to get them moving and refreshed.
Feedback in Online Learning
Providing students with ongoing, individualized feedback can actually be easier and more effective when using online tools! Here are some resources to help you design feedback cycles for online learning.
- Schedule miniconferences with individual students throughout each week. Use the self-assessment tools (linked in Student Engagement tab) to help students communicate where they think they are at in the learning journey. Their self-assessment will help guide you to give them appropriate and needed feedback.
- Send students your plan for online feedback. When can they expect to touch base? What will you be providing feedback on each week? What are the ways you’ll be providing feedback?
- Learn how Tech Can Make Giving Feedback Easier
- Provide Actionable Feedback using Technology
- Using Hattie’s 3 Important Questions in Feedback Sessions
Family Communication and Engagement in Online Learning
Your students’ families will likely have a lot of questions about the online learning environment! The resources below will help you keep families in the loop and communicate important ways they can support their children’s learning.
- Be proactive! If you get word that your school will be moving to online learning, send an update to your students’ families as soon as possible. Use this email template to get started.
- Let parents know how they should contact you. You may want all parent communication to come through your LMS or another platform so that internal communications and updates about your school closure are not lost in your email inbox.
- Set a threshold grade that will determine when you should make additional contact with a student’s family (i.e. if a student is currently receiving a grade under a B, I will make a call home)
- Get a Sense of Family Roles Based on Access to Technology
- Have Students Communicate Directly With Parents About Their Progress
- Here are Some Proactive Ways to Keep Families On Your Side
- Use this Student Technology Audit tool if you or your school needs more information on what your students will have access to at home. The results of this survey will help your school or system identify how they can support students in remote learning. To use the form, click on the link above. A Google Drive folder with one file in it will appear. Right click on the file and select “Make a Copy.” Click “Show File Location” to access the copied form. You will be able to edit and share the copied form with your students’ families.
Other Online Resources
Many education organizations (and others) are making long-trusted content free during this season. Here’s a collection of some of the best free resources out there for teachers and students.
- Google’s Teach FromHomehub
- Google for EducationYouTube channel (tons of tutorials and webinars)
- Free access to BrainPop
- Free access to Newsela
- PBS resourcesand lesson plans
- This long list of linksto other resources organized by grade level!
- Story Onlineread-alouds
- Exploratoriumscience videos
- Lunch Doodlesdrawing tutorials with illustrator Mo Williams
- Unlimited access to the Junior Library Guild’s entire catalogueof best-selling and award-winning books
- Authors Everywhere!read-alouds
Connecting With Other Teachers Online
Finally, it’s important to remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE during this time! You can find new resources and support from fellow teachers online with the following resources:
Twitter/Social Media Hashtags
If you’d like to read more, here are links to all of the books referenced in this guide:
- Balance With Blended Learningby Catlin Tucker
- Blended Learning in Actionby Catlin Tucker
- Blended Learning in Grades 4-12by Catlin Tucker
- The Teacher Clarity Playbookby Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Olivia Amador, and Joseph Assof
- #FormativeTechby Monica Burns
- How to Deal With Parents Who Are Angry, Troubled, Afraid, or Just Seem Crazyby Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins
- Energizing Brain Breaks by David Sladkey
- The Executive Function Guidebook by Roberta Strosnider and Valerie Saxton Sharpe
- The Movement and Technology Balance by Traci Lengel and Jenna Evans
- 100 Brain-Friendly Lessons for Unforgettable Teaching and Learning (9-12) by Marcia L. Tate