To help keep our teachers equipped with all the resources they need to be influential certified virtual educators, our Teacher Effectiveness team has implemented monthly 15-minute or less professional development sessions. By bringing in our teachers to share their best tips and tricks, we can all learn how to excel in the virtual classroom.
Lesson Planning from Virtual Teacher, Jerry Page
Virtual teacher, Jerry Page, shared his process of lesson planning in the virtual classroom. Mr. Page’s first step when putting together his lesson plan is to determine your objective by asking the question, what will my students learn?
Essential questions are key when lesson planning. You should keep at top of mind the question, what should my students be able to tell me if given a quiz?
Once you have determined the overall objective and questions, the next step is planning out your agenda to determine the specific components of what you will be doing with your class on that given day. Will you lecture, create a quiz through Kahoot or have a discussion? The agenda is when you can plan out these specifics.
Lastly, practice what you learned. A key component here is including due dates for any assignments so your class can plan ahead. Once everything is together, add in your resource links and other notes. These links can include anything from Nearpod to Kahoot or any other resources or games that can engage your students.
One of Mr. Page’s biggest tips is to create a lesson plan for students to see and one for yourself. For yourself, include times in your agenda and practice to stay on track as well as notes that include accommodations/ modifications so you can plan for students' IEPs. This helps with efficiency and to keep track of your students and what they can handle with their attention spans based on grade level.
Lesson Planning from Virtual Teacher, John Keegan
According to certified virtual teacher, John Keegan, his first step is to look at the already developed curriculum for his class to determine the topic for his lesson plan for a given day. From there, he dives into his own personal resources and resources provided by Proximity Learning to see what the agenda for the day will be. One main question he asks before adding his resources to his plan is, will these sources fit all learning styles? If the answer is yes, he then makes sure the lesson plan fits with Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Development. This includes objective, essential questions, agenda, and practice.
Mr. Keegan’s biggest tip for lesson planning for virtual teaching is to keep all links and everything in one place for students and parents to easily access.
Lesson Planning for Stability & Routine
According to Proximity Learning’s learning and development specialist, Mary Bartkowski, classroom routines are always essential but in a virtual classroom, they are more important than ever.
Some ideas to help students with stability and routine include
- Students have shown that instability in the classroom can have a negative impact on child development and hinder learning. Making sure change in a routine has a minimal impact on students requires ensuring students know what a regular day will look like. This should include running through what will be happening and when by showing a student-facing agenda.
- While working through the agenda, check off what has been done so students can have a visual representation of where you are in the process. Some fun tools to create your agenda include classroomscreen, nearpod, google slides and canva.
- You will also want to share that sometimes the unexpected can happen. This can be broken into high priority like the students can’t connect to zoom, medium priority like not all students have headsets or low priority when students can’t access an assignment through Canvas.
Informing students of planned changes to their routine will help them to feel stable. Inform them as far in advance as possible as well as on the day of. While we cannot predict everything that can happen, we want to work on being as consistent as possible in our classes. This can include even letting them know when there will be a sub, state testing or a field trip on a monthly calendar.
Why does being prepared for a change in routine work? It has been shown to positively impact test scores and assessment outcomes. When something unexpected does occur, remind your class that things happen, and it is important to remain flexible and adaptable.
By lesson planning and preparing students for the unexpected, you can create a positive learning environment through your virtual classroom to allow your students to thrive.
Learn more about teaching with Proximity Learning.