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First published March 8th 2020. Last updated April 10th.

How would you feel if someone said you need to change your whole approach to teaching immediately? Imagine if, instead of interacting face to face with students in your classroom, you had to create and deliver a virtual program. 

Perhaps you’d feel nervous? Overwhelmed? Excited? Unqualified? Inspired? Or perhaps plain lost.

Remote learning is now a reality for over 90% of students worldwide. Teachers, students, families, administrators, departments, and whole communities are being forced to respond and adapt quickly.

Referring to COVID-19 (coronavirus), UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay warned,

…the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education.

The rates of school closures have soared in the last month:

  • In mid-February, China was the only country mandating school closures.
  • Two weeks later, 22 countries were closing schools.
  • As of April 3, 188 countries have implemented nationwide school closures.

If your school is still open, it’s never too soon to calmly plan and prepare. Things are changing rapidly and exponentially. 

Want a live update on school closures across the globe? Check out UNESCO’s tally.

What’s In This Post?

Our guide will give you insights into how educators around the world are approaching school closures.

Thousands of teachers worldwide are currently sharing snippets of their experiences via social media or their blogs. We’ve compiled, curated, and built on some common themes and ideas to create this extensive guide.

Click on the links in the menu below to help you navigate the post. 

This post also includes a range of useful graphics to help you that you’re free to use and share. If you use the images in your own work, please attribute our article and link back.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the graphics:

This extensive guide will give you insights into how educators around the world are approaching school closures due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Learn about options for structuring the school day, using video, and using online tools. You'll also find a checklist for schools facing a closure and tips for virtual teaching.

Let’s dive right in to the resources!

Daily Structure Options

The first question educators might be asking themselves is what does a “school day” look like when it’s no longer happening in a school?

Let’s talk about timetables, hours, and the overall structure you might implement. 

In most cases, your school day will have to be based on technology although some departments, such as New York, are open to the option of mailing out work the old fashioned way. This is a good fallback if technology can’t be used but you may not want to get into the habit of only handing out packets (worksheets) if you can avoid it.

📌Note: It’s important to find out about students’ technology/internet access at home and we have a Google Form survey you can adapt to survey your parents towards the end of the post.

The old fashioned approach can also work well to complement online learning and is important for younger students. Check out the fabulous “Learning Boxes” staff in Vietnam put together for their young learners. 

We’ll discuss many useful technology tools further on. 

The issue of daily structure and timetables is a major consideration and some schools are constantly tweaking their approaches.

Do you stick to your regular school timetable? You could, but many schools are finding a modified approach is more realistic.

Lessons can take longer for students to complete at home for many reasons including:

  • Technology difficulties
  • No teacher guidance to keep students on track, engaged, and informed
  • A busy household (multiple family members and responsibilities)
  • Varying degrees of parent/caregiver involvement (there can be barriers like language, competence with technology and the curriculum, parenting younger children, or trying to keep up with work responsibilities)
  • Illness (let’s not forget the reason for the school closures) 

Some teachers are finding what they could get done in one period of class requires two periods when it’s online. 

Consider a “Percentage” Approach

Most teachers who have some experience with online schooling realize that the pace is slower and expectations need to be reduced.

Some teachers provide and expect a certain percentage of the normal student workload. For example, an elementary student might have a 50% workload, although a senior high school student may be given a 90% workload.

Suggesting a percentage might give teachers and families a ballpark if they’re wondering what to expect. 

Synchronous or Asynchronous Learning?

A question that may come up a lot as you plan and tweak your approach to online learning is whether your program will be synchronous or asynchronous. That is, whether it will be conducted in real-time or whether students will complete tasks according to their own schedules. 

Here’s a quick comparison:

Graphic showing difference between Synchronous and Asynchronous (comparison online learning) Edublogs

You might find a mix of both is a useful strategy. Your own unique situation, including your students’ age, might have a big impact on this decision too.

For some families, asynchronous learning can be more convenient: if parents are working, they may have more time to support/supervise student learning outside of business hours. 

Other schools are finding synchronous learning is a powerful way to keep the class connected. 

If your teaching and learning program involves video then you’ll once again face the question of synchronous (e.g. live conferencing) or asynchronous (pre-recorded videos or screencasts). 

We’ll dive in to the video options further on, however, let’s take a quick look at how some teachers are weaving conferences and recorded videos into their weekly schedules:

Examples of how Video Conferences are Being Used:

  • A 10 minute video conference to begin the day.
  • A whole class video conference at regular times during the week (e.g. 30 minutes every Monday and Friday afternoon). 
  • A whole class video conference to introduce important lessons or projects. 
  • A video conference to check in with each individual student each week. 
  • On-demand video conferencing — students can sign up during a teacher’s “office hours” if they want to book a session.
  • Small group video conferences for students with similar needs. 
  • Optional “live recess” to allow students to connect and hang out. 

Examples of how Screencasts or Recorded Videos are Being Used:

  • A video introduction or screencast for key lessons (might not be possible for all lessons).
  • A short welcome video each morning and/or reflection video each afternoon.
  • A screencast to offer feedback on student work and progress.
  • Student created screencasts to demonstrate learning. 

Let’s look at some specific options for daily timetables. 

More Flexible Option: Distribute a Daily “To Do List”

When schools decide on expectations, they often need to consider whether they should give lesson guidelines that can be completed at any time, or stick to a traditional structure.

For example, if you were offering a flexible program, you could build on a checklist like this:

Today you need to complete:

  • 30 minutes reading
  • 30 minutes writing
  • 30 minutes science
  • 30 minutes math

It’s optional whether you give an actual time requirement (e.g. 30 minutes) or just a task, however, a time suggestion can be helpful so students don’t spend either all day working, or not enough time on task. 

More Structured Option: Distribute a Timetable

Alternatively, students might be issued with a structured timetable that all students will complete at the same time, e.g.

  • 9am – 9:45am reading
  • 10am – 10.45am writing
  • 10.45am – 11.30am recess
  • 11.30am – 12.15pm science
  • 12.30pm – 1.15pm math
  • 1.30pm – 2.15pm lunch
  • 2.30pm – 3.30pm catch up/specialist subjects

Factoring in time for catching up seems to be proving extremely useful for many schools. You might schedule learning activities in the morning and leave the afternoons free for catching up and offline pursuits. Alternatively, you could schedule one day a week for completing unfinished work or even have a weekly “screen-free” day. 

Here’s an example of a weekly screen-free day from Shekou International School in China. 

Rather than a daily approach, some schools are taking the whole week into account and giving projects or assignments that need to be completed or worked on over 5 days. Based on progress, a new plan might then be made for the following week.

Example: Kindergarten

Ashley in the middle east is not doing any live teaching via video conference due to cultural and religious reasons. 

Ashley’s team sends a weekly plan to the parents of their kindergarten students along with a suggested timetable. There are no expectations that the timetable is followed exactly due to parents working and a variety of family situations. 

The planners are given out two weeks in advance to help families plan ahead. The links to learning tasks go to YouTube videos and Ashley’s Office 365 cloud account of activities or readings. Ashley’s kindergarten class also uses Flipgrid. 

Kindergarten example planner as explained in the post (screenshot of timetables)

Example: 5th Grade

Laura Faulk at ASIJ (American School in Japan) is a 5th grade teacher who has recently started teaching online.

Her team created a daily planner using Google Docs. They share it each morning on a website that was created for their new distance learning program. 

They are currently surveying families to find out whether they’d like to have the planner in advance. 

The Google Doc planner has links to all the students’ classroom and specialist work. The students are given a guide as to how long to spend on each activity. 

The ASIJ team adapted their ideas from the work of Hong Kong International School (HKIS have a fantastic home learning website that is worth checking out too!).

You can follow Laura and her team on Twitter (@asij_g5).

5th grade example planner as explained in the post (screenshot of timetables)

Example: Google Slides

Some teachers put their planners on a Google Doc, or Sheet. Google Slides can be another awesome way to send out a daily plan and work (but even better if these Slides presentations are added to a blog, LMS, or website so they don’t get lost).

  • You can include text, links, and videos of yourself teaching to a Slides presentation amongst other things.
  • One major benefit is you can copy and edit your planner so you don’t have to start from scratch each day. 
  • Check out this post by Alice Keeler for more advice on using Slides in remote learning.
  • We also have a beginner’s guide to Google Slides on The Edublogger for a broader overview. 

Here’s an example from US kindergarten teacher Megan Peschke @MeganPeschke). Don’t be put off by the age group. This idea could be adapted for any age!

Click here to view the Google Slides presentation in a new tab

Instructions for Editing and Using Megan’s Google Slides

1. Click on this link:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Bl534rtloR0AjD2wgfLPVrJs2Q6BDS9DEz2G2m9Fzgs/copy

2. You will be prompted to make a copy (screenshot below).

3. The Slides will be saved in your Google Drive.

4. You can edit the Google Slides to suit.

Screenshot of Google Slides copy prompt

SlidesMania have also published a fantastic free weekly planner template that can be used in Google Slides or PowerPoint. Find it here.  Slidesmania weekly planner

Help Students Plan Their Day

Some teachers, especially those who are giving out ongoing assignments or projects, encourage their students to plan out their own days. You could give them ideas or a template.

Here is an example which you’re welcome to copy and adapt,

Instructions for use:

  1. Click here to open the Google Doc
  2. Go to File > Make a copy
  3. Type a name and choose where to save it
  4. Click Ok
  5. You’ll then find an editable copy of the Google Doc in your Google Drive

Google Doc planner for students (screenshot)

How do you Plan an Online Lesson?

Once you have ideas on how your school day will be structured, you might start zooming in to the planning of actual lessons.

What do lessons look like when they’re online rather than face to face?

Despite being physically distant from your students, you still want to be as present as possible virtually. Online teaching and learning isn’t a “set and forget” situation. 

Like all lessons, you may want to start with learning outcomes, and possibly success criteria (your school might already have a framework for this). The delivery of the lesson will be the part that might just look a bit different.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your lessons quite simple, and in many cases they’ll be similar to what you’d do in the classroom, perhaps with more autonomy and technology. 

For example, your normal lesson structure might involve a warm up, revision, an explanation, student activity that aligns to outcomes, then reflection. The same sort of structure is possible with virtual lessons. 

Easily Adapting to Virtual Lesson Planning

Timothy Malan (@timothy_malan) is a middle school science teacher at an international school in Spain. He has created a detailed video to explain how a regular classroom lesson can be transformed into a virtual lesson. He reassures teachers that it doesn’t have to be overly complicated!

The first 12 minutes of the video goes through the framework, and then Timothy dives in to an example lesson. 

5E Model for Creating Online Lessons

Have you heard of the 5Es framework? It’s an instructional model that’s been around for 20+ years. Using the model, teaching and learning progresses through five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.

Author and educator, Catlin Tucker has published a post called, Tips for Designing an Online Lesson Using the 5 Es Instructional Model.

In her post, Catlin provides a simple framework that shows how the 5Es can be used to create online lessons. Catlin has also recorded a video for each “E” that explains the model further. 

simple framework that shows how the 5Es can be used to create online lessons

While the 5Es approach is far from the only way you can go about designing online lessons, it may be a useful framework for those who don’t know where to start. 

💡 Catlin also shares a good tip about using Google Docs to share lessons with students. Google Docs are easy to copy and edit. That means teachers can create different versions of the same lesson with minimal work. Any suggested videos, readings, or activities can be differentiated to meet the individual needs of learners. 

Useful Online Tools

For some teachers, the technology part of virtual learning will be the scariest obstacle. Before we dive in to useful options, take a deep breath and remember:

  • Less can be more: you don’t need to be using a huge range of different tools.
  • Start with tools students and teachers are already familiar with: there are probably some technology tools, apps, or platforms you’ve used in class that can be useful.
  • Remember, despite technology being a crucial tool for most closed schools, teaching and learning isn’t about the technology. Try to focus on the core business of schools: relationships and learning.

Virtual Home Base or Online Platform: 3 Step Approach

There are some awesome tools out there for learning and creativity but first consider what you’ll be using as your home base. When your classroom and school assembly halls aren’t in use, your virtual hubs are more important than ever.

What will communication look like and where will learning take place? Here are three common steps you might see:

  1. Communication will probably begin with information from the school district or state education department.
  2. Then a school website might provide an overview of your plan for the whole community. (Need a better school website? CampusPress can help with that!). 
  3. From there, you could have individual class blogs or other approaches like a learning management system (e.g. Moodle, Canvas, or Google Classroom), a Facebook group (for older learners), Slack, or Seesaw.

Read on for more information and examples of this three-step approach. 

A Virtual Home Base Or Online Platform: Diagram Online Learning Edublogs

1) District/State Education Department

Let’s zoom out for a moment. When a school is to be closed and learning is transitioning to online, the first step is often clear communication from the top level — your district or state education department (if your school falls under one of these authorities). 

Here’s an example from Northshore District School in Washington state. They published a blog post on their district website to inform everyone in the school community of school closures.

It’s an honest and dynamic announcement as they’re still figuring out arrangements. The beauty of blog posts is you can keep publishing as more information is made available.

Of course, a blog post or website update may be followed up with a direct notification to families to ensure the news is received (e.g. SMS or email). 

Screenshot of Northshore school district closure announcement

2) School Website or School Blog

A school website (or temporary site) can be an important next piece in the puzzle. It can provide an overview of your plan for the whole community to ensure everyone is on the same page, knows what to do, and knows where to seek help. 

Website Example: YIS Continuous Learning Plan

Yokohama International School (YIS) in Japan has been closed since early March. They’re becoming leaders in the community of global educators scrambling to find out how to approach school closures.

YIS has created a website to communicate a clear approach to their changed schooling format,

Although campus is temporarily closed, “school” continues as we engage students with experiences that continue the planned learning program and help them to stay connected with teachers and classmates. These learning experiences offer authentic opportunities to focus on key concepts, knowledge, and skills. They emphasize interaction and creativity, and involve a balance of on-screen and off-screen tasks that help connect to previous learning and the current curriculum.

Screenshot of YIS Continuos Learning Plan

Vice principal, Rebekah Madrid, explains the choice of the term “continuous learning”,

3) Classroom Hub: Blog, LMS, or Other Online Community

The third step is an online hub where you can distribute student learning tasks, share resources, gather feedback, and keep everyone in the loop.

While you could just email out assignments to students, there may be better options (emails can be better for one on one communication; they can get lost and can be hard to refer back to.).

You might already be using a learning management system or other platform (e.g. Seesaw, Slack, Google Classroom) at school that you can continue to use after your school closes. If so, there is probably no need to reinvent the wheel! Go with what you and your students know. 

But maybe you don’t have a place set up already where you can post learning tasks and resources that students can use on a daily basis. 

A blog is a free, basic, and flexible tool to choose. 

Here are some reasons why you might consider a blog as your online classroom while your school is closed:

  • A blog is a space you can own (you don’t have control over some online spaces like social media).
  • It’s a place where all the bits and pieces you create and explore in the online and offline world can be housed.
  • Blogs aren’t just text and images, you can include videos, slideshows, infographics, podcasts, posters, polls, charts and more. Here are just six tools that allow you to create interactive learning content for your blog (online worksheets, games, and so on). 
  • Blog content can be organized in a systematic way and searched for as needed. 
  • Comments and forums allow two-way interaction.
  • Blogs can be public or private (learn more about the pros, cons, and options in this article). 

💡 We have a post that compiles some examples of class blogs from a range of age groups and locations. You’ll notice that there is a lot of flexibility in the way blogs are used. 

Team 2 Eagles Blog Example

Becky Versteeg is a wonderful grade two teacher in Canada.

She is using her class blog to share daily ideas. Her posts include videos, printables,photos from students and fun ideas to try at home. 

Take a look!

Team 2 Eagles blog screenshot

Class Blog And/Or Student Blogs?

You might be only interested in having a class blog to share learning resources and so on. Alternatively, you might want all students to use their own blog to complete learning tasks, publish online, reflect on their experience privately, or even connect with the world. 

My Class is a free management tool from Edublogs that brings a class blog and all your student blogs/accounts together. It makes it easier for teachers to set up and monitor their classroom blogging program.

Learn more about My Class in this post.

My Class features summary

Example: Art Blog

Here is an example of a fantastic blog with lessons for home art activities by Chris Gadbury.

One of the great things about the blogging community is you cannot only make your own blog but benefit from other educators’ blogs as well!

Screenshot of art lesson blog header

Want To Start Blogging But Not Sure How?

Check out our Blogging 101 page. It includes a 15-minute tutorial video and all the help guides you’ll need to get going!

Edublogs is a WordPress based platform that's customized for education. Safe, secure, flexible, and authentic. Find out exactly how to get started with a free blog on our Blogging 101 page. Videos, slideshows, PDFs and tutorials to get you started with blogging!

Educators and students can set up as many blogs as they need using Edublogs for free (no ads or time limits). Compare all the features here

Videos And Online Learning

You can come up with fantastic tasks for students to work on at home but your program will run so much better if students can still feel your presence as a teacher. Videos are such an important part of online learning and a great way to maintain relationships.

Your familiar face will grab students’ attention while building engagement and understanding. 

Nervous about being on camera? Don’t worry! Just start small. It will be worth it. Many teachers are nervous to start and want to re-do their video over and over (some students are like this too!). It won’t take long for you to realize your videos don’t have to be perfect and students will appreciate your efforts.

Let’s take a look at some options. 

Synchronous or Asynchronous Videos

There are two main options for sharing videos with your learners:

Synchronously: That means real-time streaming. It could be a live stream (like on YouTube) or an interactive video conference (like on Zoom).

Some synchronous videos can be recorded so they can be viewed again at a later date. This is useful if students can’t attend the live stream, they have technology issues, or need to revise the content. 

Asynchronously: That means you record videos that can be viewed (and reviewed) when it suits the student. Your videos could be a simple “piece to camera” or a screencast.

Screencasting is where you narrate a video recording of your computer screen. Sometimes it’s just audio and sometimes you can see your face in the video as well.

The benefit of asynchronous videos is there are no time pressures, however, the connections that can be formed in synchronous video conferences can’t be underestimated. 

Popular Tools for Synchronous (Live) Video Conferences

There are many tools out there that allow you to connect with students via video. This can really help to unite the class. 

Three of the most popular video-conferencing options for teachers and schools include:

  • Zoom — Robust software designed exclusively for video conferencing.
  • Google Hangouts Meet— The evolved version of classic Hangouts that’s part of G Suite.
  • Microsoft Teams — Communication and collaboration platform that’s part of Office 365.

They are all simply ways to have a video conference with screen sharing capabilities.

  • The teacher can start the conference and share the access link with the students.
  • Students can access the conference at the specified time using any device (e.g. laptop or tablet).
  • Some users like to use external microphones, headphones, or webcams, however, the camera and microphone attached to your device are probably fine for getting started.

Here is a quick comparison of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts Meet:

Here is a quick comparison of Zoom, Meet, and Teams: video conferencing for teachers and schools affected by Coronavirus COVID-19

Notes on Live Video Tools:

  • Mix it up: Principal at International School of Dongguan, Todd Brink, suggested that, “One-on-one, small group, or whole group sessions are a must. Just like the classroom!” Video conferencing software allows these sorts of options. 
  • If you’re using Zoom, Jenna Reeh from Papillion La Vista Community Schools created these fabulous task cards to help teachers use how to learn Zoom in small self-guided bites. 
  • Some teachers are also experimenting with live streaming on YouTube. For teenagers, it’s a platform they’re already really familiar with and they can comment in real-time. 
  • Safety comes first! For example, when students join a video conference with a link (rather than an email address), you won’t know who they are if they behave inappropriately (we’ve heard of students even acting up and wearing masks). Zoom has released some best practices in this PDF. 

Example Video Conferences From Teachers

Teachers at American International School of Guangzhou are doing a fantastic job of setting up engaging video conferences using Zoom.

Here are two examples that were recently shared on Twitter, 

Jennifer Wathall is a teacher from Hong Kong who began teaching online earlier than most of the world. She shares her tips for teaching online, most of which apply to synchronous video conferences. 

Jennifer Wathall Video Conference Advice

John Sowash shared these tips for running a virtual lesson on Google Meet (they can apply to other video conferencing tools as well). 

Teacing tips for live lessons from John Sowash

Popular Tools for Recording Asynchronous Videos and Screencasts

There are a number of tools available to record screencasts. Like many online tools there are free plans and paid plans. 

Let’s compare four of the most popular screencasting tools teachers are using for recording lessons. 

This chart compares the features of the free plans (paid plans have more features). 

Note: As of March 12, Loom Pro is now free for teachers and students forever. The chart below has been updated. 

Chart comparing 4 free screencasting tools for teachers and schools -- Loom, Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, Zoom

Notes On Screencasting Tools

  • I’ve written a blog post specifically about Loom if you want to learn more. There are no age restrictions so students can use Loom if you want them to make screencasts. 
  • You’ll remember that Zoom is a popular tool for video conferencing. To record a screencast using Zoom, you start a meeting with yourself as the only participant and record the conference. You can’t record if you’re using the Zoom iOS app.

Record a Piece to Camera

Your videos don’t have to be part of a video conference call or a screencast. You can record a simple piece to camera using your phone or webcam.

That is, a video of your happy self teaching and talking!

In a previous post on The Edublogger, we outlined ten tips for recording a piece to camera. Read the full post (you’ll find a PDF copy to download) or check out the summary below. 

10 Tips For Filming A Piece To Camera | Video tips from Edublogs | The Edublogger

Video Editing

Made a video and want to edit it? Maybe it needs trimming, captions, or other effects?

For quick video editing on my phone, I love two free apps from GoPro called QuikStories and Splice. QuikStories puts everything together for you with music, transitions, and other cool effects. Splice is handy if you want to make more manual edits and don’t necessarily want too many effects.

Try not to get carried away though, it can be a lot of fun creating videos but a raw edit is fine!

Example Videos from Teachers

This year 1 teacher from Tokyo International School demonstrates a wonderful reading lesson,

For older students, here is an example from two creative art teachers. 

For more tips on using live or recorded video in your online teaching program, check out this article from Richard Byrne. He has some great suggestions such as keeping your webcam on, using check-in questions, and using a $20 whiteboard. 

Other Online Tools to Consider

So you have your home base set up, you’ve considered recording some videos to share with students, now what other online tools can you use to engage students and fuel their learning?

Here are some suggestions with a very brief summary of each. This list is far from exhaustive Leave your own ideas in a comment!

Kahoot!

Create fun learning games for your students called Kahoots. Classes can play live against each other or students can complete the quiz at their own pace. 

*Premium features are currently free for schools facing closures. Learn more. 

Quizlet

A free tool that allows students to study information via learning tools and games (flashcards, quizzes etc). A new individual mode has just been replaced so students can play together while they are physically apart. The free account has advertising. 

*Learn how to use Quizlet for remote learning here

BrainPOP

These short educational videos are fantastic for online learning. There’s also BrainPOP Jnr. for K-3 and BrainPOP ELL for English language learners. 

*Currently free for educators affected by coronavirus school closures. Learn more. 

Canva for Educators

Online tool that allows you to make all sorts of graphic designs (perfect for communicating with students and families). Learn more about Canva in our guide on The Edublogger. 

*Educators can get a premium account for free (not just during school closures). 

Edpuzzle

A popular tool to create interactive YouTube videos to check students’ understanding. Basic plans are free for teachers and students. 

Pear Deck

Design lessons with interactive questions, polls, quizzes, and formative assessments. Works with Google Slides. 

*Pear Deck Premium is free for 90 days for schools affected by closures. Learn more. 

Anchor

Anchor.fm is a popular free service for recording, hosting, and distributing podcasts. Check out our guide on The Edublogger to learn more about using podcasting with students. 

Flipgrid

Create grids to facilitate asynchronous video discussions that are very engaging for students. This tool is totally free. 

Padlet

Padlet is an online bulletin board where you can display text, images, video, and more. Padlets can be embedded in blog posts. It used to be free but now there is a limit of three Padlets before you need to upgrade. 

Students at the International School of Buscan recently used Padlet for a virtual art show!

Book Creator

Simple tool for younger students to create books or learning journals that combine text, images, audio and video.

*Schools that are closed for COVID-19 can get 90 days free of the premium plan. Learn more.

WeVideo

Cloud based video editing tool that allows students and teachers to get creative. Students could have fun responding to some of learning tasks as a video and can collaborate with peers on projects. WeVideo have also recently introduced screencasting.

*WeVideo For Schools free for schools affected by COVID-19. Learn more. 

Newsela

Real world texts at different reading levels with built-in activities. 

*Free for schools affected by COVID-19 closures until the end of the 2020 school year. Apply here. 

Wakelet

A curation tool that allows you to save, organize, tell stories, and share content from around the web. See the example Wakelet embedded below. 

Read all about how to use Wakelet in this post. 

More Ideas for Online Tools

To stay up to date with more useful online tools that teachers are using as they switch to online learning, follow this Wakelet by Erin Flanagan (@erintegration). 

There’s also a huge list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings by Amazing Educational Resources that is updated regularly. You can check it out here

A Note on Students and Books

What’s a classroom without books! If you’re going to be teaching virtually you might be wondering where to find reading material for your students. Some students might be lucky enough to have a lot of reading material at home. No doubt, many will not. 

Here are a few ideas for sourcing digital reading material:

📚 Modern books/interface

  • Local libraries often offer free access to eBooks and audiobooks (e.g. OverDrive, Tumblebooks, Libby, BorrowBox etc.). Find out what your local library offers and tell families how to become members if they’re not already. 
  • Newsela — Real world texts presented so that children can access the same text at different reading levels (currently free for schools). 
  • Rivet — Free app that families can download with thousands of modern leveled readers. 
  • Epic — Digital library of modern books aimed at children under 12. Always free for teachers and librarians (and students can access it during school hours).
  • ReadingIQ — Similar to Epic. There are thousands of modern digital books for readers under 12. Access is free for closed schools — learn more here.
  • Oxford Owl — 100 free eBook readers for young children. Free but you need an account. 
  • Story Shares — American not-for-profit group who shares stories online, that are aimed at older students who read below grade level.

📚Less Modern books/interfaces 

Don’t be put off by the “old school” designs of these websites. Many allow access to older works with expired copyright that can be ideal for classroom use. 

  • International Children’s Digital Library –– A collection of international books for children aged 3-13 presented in 59 languages. 
  • Project Gutenberg — 60,000+ eBooks that can be downloaded for all ages (most are older works with expired copyright). 
  • Faded Page — 5000 plus eBooks that are completely free to download. Not designed for children but there are many classics for older students (like Project Gutenberg they are mostly older works with expired copyright). 
  • Open Library — Catalogue where you can borrow books for free (lots of options for older students). 
  • Lit2Go — A free online collection of stories and poems in MP3 (audiobook) format with accompanying text. Includes many classics with expired copyright. 

Can I Read Aloud to my Students?

This question is being asked over and over by the online education community in recent weeks. 

Many teachers are keen to read aloud to their students using video, however, remember there may be copyright issues.

  • If you’re in the USA, you should be covered by “fair use” as outlined by EdSurge.
  • Some publishers are now allowing teachers to read books to their students during school closure. Kate Messner explains here
  • Pernille Ripp and Kate Messner have both written about other places to find online read alouds.
  • My favourite site for free read alouds (by professional actors) is Storyline Online.
  • Some authors are hosting their own online storytimes during the pandemic. Find the details in this post. 

Screenshot of authors doing online storytime

10 Tips for Virtual Teaching and Learning

Transitioning to online schooling is a learning journey for everyone. While everyone’s circumstances are different, these tips might offer you some food for thought. Chime in with your own tips in a comment!

Here’s a summary and read on for lots of ideas and examples:

Summary of 10 tips as outlined in the post (graphic)

1) Encourage Fun, Play, and Activity

In the traditional classroom setting, many teachers plan physical activity breaks for good health and productive learning.

Many PE teachers are leading the way, sharing their creative approaches to get students moving. If you follow the hashtag #HPEatHome on Twitter, you’ll find a plethora of movement activities. Many are being added to a Google Drive of resources that you’re free to access. 

PE Resources Google Drive screenshot

These PE teachers in Vietnam are sharing daily “Get Up and Go” videos with students. No doubt students love seeing their teachers on screen.

A PE teacher in China is using Flipgrid to teach dancing. Great to see parents getting involved too!

Well known Australian P.E. teacher Andy Hair has made up an easy game that his students can play while in lockdown at home. 


If you haven’t yet tried GoNoodle or Cosmic Kids Yoga (free on YouTube) I highly recommend them for elementary-aged students. 

The only problem is, they still involve technology so you probably want to consider some options that give students a break from devices. 

Minimizing screen time is becoming a big concern for parents and teachers. 

Perhaps you could publish a daily challenge to keep students active and off screens? Take it a step further by asking students to send in a photo of their experience. 

Here are some ideas. You’re welcome to use this resource however you see fit. 

📌 Download a PDF copy of the poster

Document showing 21 idesa for activities students can try inside that don't invovle technology

Many teachers are also trying to set learning tasks that are offline (such as “hands-on” math for younger students — baking, measuring objects, shape hunts and so on). 

British International School in Hanoi ran a LEGO Challenge and asked students to send in photos of their creations. What fun!


 

This teacher asked her students for their own ideas of how they like to spend their time offline.

2) Communicate Clearly and Frequently

When the school community is scattered, clear and ongoing communication is essential!

Ensure everyone knows how messages will be communicated and what channels they should be checking in on (e.g. email, LMS, blog, school website). 

Make sure students and parents know how they can contact teachers for learning support and how they can get tech support. Some teachers are holding “office hours” (e.g. I am available for email support from 10am to 2pm daily; or “I am available for Google Hangouts Meet sessions from 12.30-1.30pm each day”). 

You might err on the side of overcommunicating to ensure everyone feels connected, supported, and confident. 

Make instructions as clear and concise as you can. Effective communication will really pay off. 

3) Seek Feedback Regularly

On the flipside of communicating, it’s important to also seek feedback from students and families.

The team at Google recently made a suggestion that many closed schools are already trying out,

Using Google Forms, create mood check-ins for students to share their emotional state on a daily basis. Within the Form, students can request a conference with the teacher if they need extra support.

Jennifer Findley has created some great Google Form check ins that you’re free to copy and use. There are forms for the start and end of the day. 

Screenshot Google Form end of day check in

 

This situation is new for most schools and families. Engage in a cycle of continuous improvement and refinement based on feedback from families, teachers, and students. 

Check out our Google Form later in the post that can be sent to parents if planning for a school closure to find out about their devices, confidence, resources etc. 

4) Give Choices

There’s never been a better time to empower learners and offer choice. Online learning can offer a lot of flexibility so it’s a great idea to take advantage of that.

By giving students some choice in the demonstration of their learning, you can also naturally differentiate and cater to a variety of learning styles and needs. 

You’ve probably heard of a choice board? It’s a graphic organizer that allows students to choose different learning activities. They’re set up in a grid, perhaps with a choice of 9 activities. Some teachers like to include one mandatory activity. 

💡 Kim from Seoul Foreign School created this photosynthesis choice board for her 8th grade students. 

Photosynthesis Choice Board worksheet from Kim in Seoul

💡 US teacher Pernille Ripp created a “Choose Your Own Adventure” two-week exploration.

This, hopefully, continues the honoring of their individual needs and desires, while still helping them with their growth. There are different levels of independence for them to choose from, as well as choices for recording or writing their responses. There are different levels of teaching involved that will unfold once they select their choice.

Check out Pernille’s post for more details.

Four literacy choices by Pernille Ripps

💡 In his post on online learning, John Spencer presented an amplified version of choice boards.

John’s variation goes beyond choosing topics or activities and allows for some student ownership of the learning targets and resources. 

Something else to think about as you move forward and become more confident with online learning. 

Choice menu from John Spencer

5) Set Up Guidelines

School guidelines are an important part of the transition process to online learning. These guidelines can be established even before your school has closed.

Not sure where to start? Check out this advice and examples from International Schools Services. You’ll find online learning policies, parent guidelines and more. 

Guidelines for students are also important but for a lot of students, a simple PDF with slabs of text won’t be an effective way to communicate. 

Yosef Tewolde in China shares a clear overview in a student friendly format. 

American International School of Guangzhou shared this appealing resource on Twitter about videos. 

Tips For Video Safety poster by AISG

Here’s another great example from teachers at Seoul Foreign British School,

6) Ensure Teacher Wellbeing

This meme inspired by teacher Nancy Breau sums up online teaching pretty well,

Meme

It’s crucial to consider teacher wellbeing. Teaching is hard enough in the traditional sense but moving online with minimal preparation or planning can be very stressful. In addition, some teachers are also trying to teach their own children whose schools have closed. 

Effective leadership and communication are key. As a teacher, try to take care of yourself. Go offline at the end of the day, take breaks, keep moving, eat well, drink water, get fresh air… you know the drill!

Perhaps you could set up a little routine for yourself at the end of the day, This checklist for health care workers in the UK might give you some ideas.

G

Will Arnold is a teacher in Guangzhou, China, who wisely told me via Twitter

My perspective from week 6 is that “how will teachers/staff be supported” should move to the top of the list. It’s like putting your own oxygen mask on before you help others.

Touche, Will, touche. 

7) Consider Student and Family Wellbeing

Switching to an online schooling program presents many challenges to students and families. Listening to families and sharing tips to ensure their wellbeing is very important. 

There are many ways to go about this. You might be able to get the help of school counselors or welfare officers. Or, you might invite students and families to share their own tips on what they’re doing to stay happy and healthy during this challenging time. 

The International School of Busan shared a short video on their Twitter account with basic tips for families. 

It’s also important to remember that it can be hard to predict which students might struggle with the virtual school program. For example, students who generally thrive in the classroom may find the adjustment very difficult. Keep the lines of communication open and don’t make assumptions!

Rebecca Barrett-Fox wrote an article called “Please do a bad job of putting your courses online” (hat tip: Raymond Rose in the comment section below). Rebecca does a great job of stressing that students and teachers are currently facing enormous and diverse pressures. The article is designed for higher ed but can definitely be extended to K-12. Show as much empathy as possible and keep things as simple as possible.

📌 Tips For Parents With Young Children 

In terms of helping families switch to teaching their children at home, check out my post with 10 tips for teaching younger children — many of these apply to older students as well.

This is a guide that you can share with families for practical help and ideas. 

10 tips for parents teaching young children at home -- Kathleen Morris

You’ll also find a sample home schedule (there is a blank version that can be downloaded as well). 

Sample daily schedule for parents homeschooling their young children at home -- Kathleen Morris

8) Embrace the Online Community

School closures are fast becoming a global issue. You might have a million questions racing around your head but you’re not alone. There has never been a better time to connect with the online communities of teachers who are keen to offer tips, support, and examples.

Facebook 

There is a Facebook Group set up by Kirsten Durward that is very supportive and helpful. It’s called Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning.

Click here to find the Facebook group and remember to answer the questions that pop up when you request access.

Also, use the search function or click here to find a breakout Facebook group. Due to the huge growth of the group, there are now many breakout groups that are regional, subject specific, year/grade specific. 

No idea how Facebook groups work? We have a guide that will help!

Twitter

You’ll also find some fantastic posts from community minded teachers on Twitter. Many teachers are using the hashtags #schoolclosures #virtuallearning and #onlinelearning. At this stage it looks like #schoolclosures is the leading hashtag?

New to Twitter? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Twitter to get started. It’ll be worth it!

9) Keep Your Class Connected

Keeping your class connected can be a challenge when students are scattered around the community (and around the world in some areas). 

As we’ve mentioned, video conferences are a good way to overcome this. While most video conferences would be lessons, consider adding in some fun conferences that are either structured (e.g. play a game together) or unstructured (e.g. live recess where students can just hang out).

If you’re not using conferences, consider a tool like Flipgrid where students can respond to each other with short recorded videos. 

You might be able to come up with ways for students to work on group projects together. This can add a layer of stress for students who might be struggling so of course, you’d gauge whether group work is a positive option. 

Librarian ‎Jen Caressimo (@Zenkenjen) runs Virtual Spirit Weeks to bring the school community together. She invites you to check out her Google Drive of examples. 

Virtual spirit week example from Jen Caressimo

Camps and field trips are a great way to bring your class together. Did you know your class can also take virtual school trips. Check out this list of ideas from Freedom Homeschooling or this one from Mrs. Fahrney. 

Screenshot Over 30 Virtual Field Trips with Links

Maybe you can hold virtual assemblies for your whole school or year level, just like these folks in South Korea,

10) Keep it Simple 💓

The message you’ll hear over and over from school leaders and teachers who have been at this for a while now is clear: keep it simple!

Don’t overthink things and create complicated lessons. 

Don’t invest in expensive technology or reinvent the wheel. 

Don’t expect that you will be able to cover as much as you would in the classroom.

Just do your best. That is enough!

Obstacles and Issues Created by School Closures 

The rapid school closures we’re seeing across the world raise concerns for teachers, parents, students, and the wider community. 

Some issues that are currently being navigated include:

Students/Families

  • Do all students have access to devices and the internet?
  • Who will look after students who are home from school? Are some students being left home alone?
  • How can parents manage their own careers? Do their employers allow them to work from home or have time off?
  • What about students who rely on getting free or subsidized meals at school? How can they be supported? What are the ramifications for farmers and food suppliers if orders are suspended?
  • Are there concerns with excess screen time and lack of physical activity?
  • How can students stay connected to peers?
  • How can students with disabilities or additional learning needs be catered for?

Teachers

  • How can educators juggle teaching if they have their own children home from school?
  • How can teachers maintain work-life balance?
  • Can teachers work from home or do they need to be on campus? Are teachers trusted and supported to work remotely?
  • Do teachers need PD? Can the transition to online learning happen immediately or does there need to be a bridge (for example, students are provided with work/a packet for a week while teachers set up the online learning program)? 
  • What role will non-teaching staff take on? 
  • Who will take classes if teachers become ill?
  • Will teachers continue to get full pay during ongoing school closures?

Schoolwide issues

  • Will testing and report cards need to be delayed? What other assessment and reporting concerns are there?
  • How is attendance monitored? For some, attendance or class numbers are linked to school funding.
  • Should teachers/administrators chase up students who aren’t participating?
  • What will non-teaching staff do during school closures?
  • How should the school day be balanced with synchronous and asynchronous learning that’s both online and offline?
  • How can individual students be catered for and work be differentiated?
  • How can you prevent all the student work from becoming a scattered mess? Are they going to publish items on a digital portfolio (e.g. blog) or something similar?
  • Will you face copyright issues if you try to use learning materials online (e.g. replicating textbooks or reading picture books aloud?)
  • For private schools with longer closures, will parents continue to be charged full fees?
  • What will the transition back to online schooling look like?
  • What sort of “gaps” may need to be filled if students miss out on essential learning or assessment?
  • Are their implications for senior students graduating and moving on to tertiary education?

Schools, teachers, and families may also face different issues depending on whether they are part of an international school, private school, or public school. Each situation is unique and throws up so many different variables. 

As you can see, these issues are broad and complex. Perhaps at this stage there are more questions than answers. 

Planning for a School Closure: Parent Survey

No matter where you live in the world, it’s highly unlikely that you can now rule out the possibility of your school closing in the future. 

Now is the time to plan. If you don’t need that plan, great! However, many schools around the world are closing suddenly with minimal preparation. Teachers and staff end up scrambling to get their virtual learning programs together. 

The first step in planning for a possible school closure may be to survey your parents and families. It’s important to find out what technology, child care, and other resources they have available. 

We created an example survey in Google Forms. You’re welcome to use it or adapt it for your own school. You’ll find instructions on how to make a copy under the Form below. 

Instructions for Editing and Using the Google Form Survey

1. Click on this link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1viFs7kqOmJOBs-vzVX6pCbhd8rgSda0K-00LAjqruLM/copy

2. You will be prompted to make a copy (screenshot below)

3. You can edit the Google Form to suit your own school

💡 Google Forms Tips:

Planning for a School Closure: Taking Home Resources

If your school hasn’t closed yet and you’re planning for an upcoming closure, you might be thinking about what you should take home with you. 

Every situation is different but in some schools, no one is allowed on the campus once the school is closed. In other schools, teachers are actually required to work from the school (while students are at home).

If you’ll be working remotely, you might think about taking home some of the resources listed on the graphic below. 

Things to take home: Your laptop and charger Headphones, microphone, webcam (if you have them) Document camera Textbooks, novels, picture books Manipulatives you’d use on a video (e.g. blocks, counters, dice) Charts or posters you’d use on a video A small whiteboard and markers for teaching on video Copies of passwords (teacher and students) Classroom plants (or pets!) General stationery (pens, paper, ruler, scissors, highlighters, markers etc.) Student assessment records (if not digital) Photos of anything in the classroom that you might be able to use (posters, class mascot, bulletin boards etc.)

Checklist for Administrators and Educators Facing a School Closure

This post has covered a lot of information and offered a lot of ideas and options. 

The following checklist might be a useful starting point if your school is beginning to discuss an upcoming or possible school closure. 

Of course, this is just a very simplified checklist for schools that are beginning to think about transitioning. 

📌 Click here to download a PDF copy of the checklist

Checklist of items that schools may need to discuss when planning for a school closure due to COVID-19 Coronavirus Edublogs

Over to You

We’d love to keep this post updated with practical information. Please leave a comment if you have any tips, questions, or examples. We want to hear from you!

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller

 


89 Comments

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  1. Thank you for all the resources. I shared this with my entire staff as we are transitioning to supplemental learning online. I, and many others found this useful and supportive. Is it a possibility to use some of the diagrams in my google classroom, or are there copyright issues? Thank you.

    • Hi Wanda,
      We’re so glad this is helpful. Feel free to use the images. Please just link back to this blog post.
      Thanks you!

      • Kathleen Morris
  2. Dear Kathleen,
    A huge thank you for these resources and ideas that you have sourced to share with teachers from around the world. The time and effort you have put into this is so appreciated.
    With deep gratitude,
    Nellie

    • Hi Nellie, I’m so glad to hear it’s helpful for you. All the best with your planning!

      • Kathleen Morris
  3. THANK YOU for sharing such wealth of knowledge and resources. We truly appreciate it during this time of uncertainty.

    • You’re welcome, Naomi! I really hope it helps! 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  4. Dear Kathleen, With gratefulness and muc appreciation.
    We here are in the 5th week of school closure. Though we have a humungous issue of equity to net access, we are trying to come up with a mix of both sychronous and asynchronous learning platform. I just dont have words but just amazed at this hardwork of yours and your willingness to share it so widely as widely as this COVID-19. May you and all those who have contributed and allowed for open learning be rewarded multifold!

    • Hi Sajedabano,
      5 weeks in, wow. I’m sure you have learnt a lot and I bet you’re working very hard! It must be so hard to have variable access amongst your students. Keep up your great work!

      • Kathleen Morris
  5. Muchas gracias, Kathleen, and força to everybody teaching, learning and assessing at home!
    An article right to the point, clear and precise! I am going to read it once or perhaps twice more 😉
    Un abrazo y hasta pronto!
    Juanlu, Extremadura, Spain

    • Juan Luis Sánchez
    • Hi Juan,
      Lovely to hear from you and I’m glad the article was useful. It was certainly enjoyable to explore all the wonderful work teachers across the globe are doing.
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  6. The resources and links are very timely and useful. Thank you.

  7. Children learn in so many ways. If we are not obliged to advance the curriculum, let’s encourage the broadest kind of learning that doesn’t necessarily involve kids sitting at computer screens, which could add to the already serious problems of screen addiction, anxiety and depression. Learn fractions by baking. Learn to play chess. Start a rock collection. Count the cars going by your window and do a statistical analysis. It’s time to relax about standards and get creative about all the ways children learn!

    I am concerned about what we are left with after the recession, in the 2021 and 2022 school years. Will districts facing austerity substitute computers for teachers, now that they have been offered free product, etc? Will it be only more affluent districts that still pay for real live teachers? Remember – despite the rhetoric from vendors about “personalized learning,” no solid research is available that supports its use. And real personalized learning can take place without technology, but in any case it requires MORE RESOURCES, not less.

    • Hi Seth,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I certainly agree that there is SO much that can be done besides online learning. You offered some good examples.
      There are definitely lots of questions about what schooling and indeed the world will look like in 2021 and beyond. This whole situation really has brought up so many question marks and I guess all leaders can do at the moment is triage the most important and overwhelming issues. As an educator, it’s definitely a good idea to keep all the potential scenarios in mind though!

      • Kathleen Morris
  8. Brilliant Kathleen!
    It’s our starting point for getting ourselves – as simply as possible – set up for next week:)
    The resources and links are great stress relievers. Thanks so much. from Marcia in Melbourne Australia.

    • Hi Marcia, we are certainly facing some interesting times ahead in Victoria. It’s comforting to know so many wonderful teachers across the globe have started this journey before us!
      I’m so glad the resources and ideas are helping you with you planning. Good luck!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  9. Wonderfully informative article Kathleen! I am about to enter week 6 of teaching online and as a PE teacher of primary aged students it has certainly been an interesting experience. Being based in China, internet connectivity and substantial firewall issues have been the biggest hurdle for our school. I’m proud to say that just this week I’ve used edublogs to create a supportive blog for current and new teachers to online learning, to help share what’s worked and (probably more importantly) what hasn’t, full of lesson ideas. Edublogs is a fantastic resource for sharing!

    • Hey Lee,
      It’s so great to hear your blog is helping, despite the obstacles. Is it public on the web? We’d love to see what you’re up to!
      I hope you’ll be back to regular school soon!

      • Kathleen Morris
  10. Thanks so much for this informative article. There is one piece of info I could not find, Kathleen. “GA DOE is partnering with the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and Verizon to donate digital devices to children around the state who don’t currently have access. These devices will be pre-loaded with educational software and books and can be used to support school districts’ existing distance learning plans.” Do you have a link for families to apply for this? I need it ASAP, please.

    • Hi Judi,

      I’m sorry, I’m unsure about this offer as I’m based in Australia and didn’t write about it in the article (we wanted the article to have a global focus to cater for everyone). Hopefully another reader can jump with some help. Otherwise I recommend you try the Facebook group. I’ve found it extremely helpful myself!

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/Temporaryschoolclosuresupport

      Good luck!

      • Kathleen Morris
  11. Thank you so much sharing wonderful resources which helps a lot specially at school closure and encourage us and students both by exploring their learning style.

  12. Timely and amazing resource. You cover it all! I’ve shared it with our faculty. Thank you.

    • Pedro Garcia-Casals
    • Thank you so much, Pedro. I do hope it’s useful to your faculty!

      • Kathleen Morris
  13. I am responsible for advising a family of 50 schools and I have to say this is by far the best resource I have come across. I am so grateful for all of the hard work you have put into this – so many rich links. Your generosity is wonderful. Thank you.

    • Hi Chris, that’s so kind of you to say! I really hope the resources are practical and helpful. I know teachers and schools often don’t have time on their side. Good luck with all your planning!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  14. Thank you for this amazing resource. There is so much useful information! I am going to share this with my fellow educators, because this is such a great tool!

  15. Thank you for providing this amazing resource. I’m sharing it with parents and educators.

    • Angela Y. Leon
    • Hope it’s helpful, Angela! 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  16. Thanks so much for this amazing resource, Kathleen! I’ve just shared it with my school 🙂
    Hope you are well 🙂

    • Michelle Meracis
    • Thanks, Michelle! I hope they find it helpful. I’m still doing daily tweaks as there is SO much stuff out there. 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  17. Your reference said teachers from China are using flipgrid to teach dance, but you showed a video of teachers at BIS school in Hanoi

    • Hi Holly, the video below where it says China is from Adam Tomassen at the American International School of Guangzhou (China). In the tweet it sounds like it’s from his school? Let’s know if this is incorrect?
      Thanks,
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  18. Hi There!

    This is an incredibly compressive guide and extremely helpful. One resource I would love to plug as this looks like it’s constantly being updated..

    Rivet is helping students that are dismissed from school or are facing closure due to COVID-19 by providing a free distance learning reading solution. Rivet, a reading support app offers a comprehensive library of 3,500+ free leveled books, available on iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets, Chromebooks, Kindle Fire devices and on the web.

    https://rivet.area120.com/

    • Hi Sara, Rivet is already mentioned in the post 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  19. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! Will be using lots of these resources.

    • Corbett Simons
    • So glad it helps, Corbett!

      • Kathleen Morris
  20. Hi Kathleen,

    A brilliant resource…thank you so much…as one of your avid followers I am always blown away by your knowledge and creative flair!
    And MEGA is modest…can’t imagine the time you must have spent putting this together…my teachers will love this.
    Cheers,
    Pauline Anthony

    • Pauline Anthony
    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Pauline! You have really made my night! Yep… it has definitely been a labour of love and it continues to be as a tweak and tidy the article each day. It’s worth it to know it’s useful to wonderful educators like yourself. Good luck!

      • Kathleen Morris
    • YES! Love it, Raymond. I had to add it to the post with a hat tip to you. Thank you for sharing.

      • Kathleen Morris
  21. Hi Kathleen, This is fantastic – so many helpful tips. I am putting together a guide for my school on tips and tools for working remotely and wonder if you would allow me to use some of your images and information giving you credit and linking back to this post. Thanks so much for considering.

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for your kind words! You’re more than welcome to use any of the images with attribution and a link back.
      For the text, you’re welcome to include some quotes and ideas but please don’t copy/paste the whole article… I know you wouldn’t do that though!

      Thank you! 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  22. This is really great work. Thank you.

    You probably don’t want anything commercial on here, so I won’t plug our little startup, but I will just say that your coverage of video doesn’t mention the possibility of student-to-teacher video. Students can self-record on phones and upload to teachers for feedback on hands-on skills or presentations or even asking questions.

  23. Hi Kathleen,
    I just wanted to say a quick thanks for pulling all these resources together! They were very helpful for our 4th-grade team today as we are in the process of getting continuous learning planned and organized in the event of a school closure. It was also great to see resources from schools like HKIS and ASIJ that are already closed. It was nice not to have to re-invent the wheel and start from scratch!

    • Hi Dan, Thank you so much for the feedback! It sounds like you’re being very proactive in getting organised for a closure too. Some of the international schools have really stepped up as global leaders. They’re doing some amazing stuff. I’m sure you will too! Good luck.

      • Kathleen Morris
  24. Hey Kathleen, my name is Dan Hack, I am a student at Carnegie Mellon and I have been working with a team of students developing a platform for teachers to teach their students how to have productive conversations online with others. The goal is to open students’ minds to new perspectives by holding conversations in our high tech chatroom between students all over the world. https://convertsation.org/ is meant for students to have conversations out of the classroom, so right now, with the corona crisis, it is the ideal time for students to be learning at home. We have teachers using us in multiple countries providing their students with new perspectives on a plethora of topics.

  25. This is simply amazing! We have a planning day tomorrow for online learning and this is the perfect place to refer to in order to plan. I truly appreciate the differentiation, graphics, and even including admin. Kudos to you!

    • Hey Kelly, what lovely feedback. Thank you so much. Good luck with your planning day!

      • Kathleen Morris
  26. This is super helpful. I’m Director of C&I of a school district and these resources are very practical. Right now, we’re not planning on closing, but I like your advice, “It’s never too soon to calmly plan and prepare.” I’m keen to see any other daily schedules and lesson plans if you continue to add to resources.

    • Jimmie Walker
    • Hey Jimmie, thank you! That’s good to know. I was wondering if more examples from different age groups would be useful. 🙂

      • Kathleen Morris
  27. Fabulous set of resources – thank you!
    I’m creating a one pager for secondary students based on our Academic Integrity policy – has anyone come across a simple distilled list of bullet-points of what we expect from students at home during school closure?

  28. Thank you – so many ideas!

    • There are so many educators offering ideas and examples on a daily basis. We’re very lucky to be part of such a wonderful culture of sharing in the education community!

      • Kathleen Morris
  29. Hello,

    Thank you for such a comprehensive and thoughtful post!
    Your Resources for Teaching Online Due to School Closure Infographic is very nicely designed. Are you willing to allow others to copy and modify (with attribution naturally) your work to include tools supported in one’s own region?

    • Hi Justine,

      Thank you for your kind words!

      You are welcome to write your own post with your own tool suggestions and link to our post. Please don’t copy the text from our post. You’re welcome to use some of the images from this post with attribution and a link back to the post.

      Thank you and good luck with your online learning journey!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  30. This is the best of all resources I have yet seen, thank you for all the examples. Well done!

    Thanks for the pointer to the Facebook group, I just applied!

    One to perhaps add for online classroom discussions is Kialo Edu, the feedback seems quite enthusiastic and it’s free: https://www.twitter.com/kialoedu

    • Hi Alex, That’s really kind of you to say! I’m updating the post regularly too. I hope you enjoy the Facebook group. I find it an incredible group of educators!
      Thanks for the tip about Kialo Edu too. I haven’t heard of it but will check it out!

      • Kathleen Morris
  31. Thanks so much for such a comprehensive BLOG. I have shared this out.

    • mark sparvell
    • Thank you very much, Mark!

      • Kathleen Morris
  32. Thank you Kathleen. This is very useful – from the Emerald Isle.
    “A disease like this reminds us that we are all part of the whole.”
    Paolo Serpi, Italian Ambassador to Ireland

    • Lovely to hear from you, Merry. And what a wonderful quote to share. Thank you!

      • Kathleen Morris
  33. Hello Kathleen, Thank you for putting together most useful guidelines, appropriate resources, and related examples. You have definitely taken care of students, teachers, and school and parent community well-being in this testing times.

    • Kruti Tinwala
    • Hi Kruti, I’m so glad this resource is helping to put your mind at ease a little. Good luck with your online teaching!

      • Kathleen Morris
  34. This must be the most useful, comprehensive and timely blogpost in the history of blogging! You’ve put a huge amount of work into it. Thank you so much. I would like to pass the link on to the many, many teachers we work with at NILE who find themselves in this situation. You done good!!

    • Johanna Stirling
    • Johanna, reading this comment yesterday truly made my day! Thank you so much. I have done a few updates and I really help the post helps you and your colleagues navigate this tough situation!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  35. Do we have permission to use these images and strategies on our google site for teachers as we prepare for potential school closures?

    • You’re more than welcome to, Sheila! Please just link back to the post somewhere on your site. Thank you for asking.

      • Kathleen Morris
  36. Hello Kathleen, well done! Thanks for taking the time to put this together in such a clear and accessible way. I’ve shared it widely, and many people have found it incredibly useful.

    • Hey Ben,
      You’re very welcome! Thank you so much for the kind feedback. Information and ideas are flying around the web at the speed of lightning! So I plan to keep the post updated with useful resources (while keeping it nice and tidy!).
      Thanks for commenting,
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  37. Great post!

    • Glad you enjoyed, Tony!

      • Kathleen Morris
  38. Thank you for curating all the information on how can schools prepare for closures. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Ruchi! I hope it gave you some ideas on how to get started.

      • Kathleen Morris
  39. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hope it helps, Janilee!

      • Kathleen Morris
  40. I’m looking for a synchronous video conferencing system that can create groups of a specified size at the click of a button. For example, while conducting a live, whole-class session, I may want to have students discuss a question in small groups of say four students each. I should be able to click a button that will send all the students into their own, randomly created, video groups where the four group members can hear each other, but none of the other groups. Of course, I would want to be able to talk to any or all groups at once with another click, and end the breakout groups with a click. It would further be great to be able to redistribute the existing groups into new groups with one member each from the previous groups (i.e., “jigsaw” groups). Is there any resource out there that has this capability?

    • Hi Darin,

      That is an awesome concept you’re describing to mix up groups. I know it’s easy to use breakout rooms on Zoom. A little investigation told me that you can:

      Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
      Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms.
      Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.

      It sounds like the automatic approach is just a random generation?

      As for the next step of distributing the group members into different groups, that’s an awesome idea. Perhaps it’s not possible but maybe you should reach out to Zoom and ask? Perhaps they haven’t just thought of it as an option?

      If you find out anything more please let me know and I’ll be sure to let you know if I hear any more too!

      This is where I got the info about creating breakout rooms on Zoom https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206476313

      • Kathleen Morris
  41. What a fantastic, comprehensive post Kathleen! It must have taken AGES to put together. I will be referring it to it and sharing it with others in the coming weeks/months.

    • Katie Wardrobe
    • Sure did, Katie. But it was worth it. Even though I don’t have all the answers, it’s fantastic to be able to help teachers around the world adapt to a difficult situation!

      • Kathleen Morris
  42. Thanks Kathleen for your great effort.
    Sadly our school was closed two weeks ago and it might open after 3rd April in Italy.
    I will share your tips and the post among my friends and teachers working with me!

    • Tiziana Angiolini
    • Hi Tiziana,
      I have heard things are quite bad in Italy. I’m so sorry to hear! How are you coping with teaching online? Luckily you have immersed yourself in the world of technology in recent years so I’m sure you’re more prepared than most.

      • Kathleen Morris
  43. Please share on LinkedIn

  44. I have 2 concerns with your post
    It wasn’t until near the end, that you addressed the potential that some students wouldn’t have internet access. That should have happened at the start. It’s not just those that do not have access, it’s also a matter of what type of access students may have. Assuming is dangerous. One step that a teacher could take now would be to inquire (privately so as not to embarrass individuals) about the home technology available.
    There is absolutely no mention of providing support for students with disabilities or IEPs. Failure to ensure those students get access to the same education presents ethical and legal issues.

    See my latest blog post on the issue at http://rmrose.blogspot.com

    • Thanks for your feedback, Raymond! I hope there was something you liked about the post too 🙂
      Great point about students with disabilities or education plans. I 100% agree that any students with special needs should have those needs met. This is an important consideration for schools and teachers.
      I did put something at the start about students’ access to technology at home as well as the end, but maybe it needs to be made clearer. I definitely agree that you wouldn’t want to ask about student resources publicly. Thanks for pointing that out too!

      • Kathleen Morris
      • Kathy: Yes the tips are all great, well most. 🙂 But, I really didn’t see the issue of checking to see what student(s) wouldn’t be able to participate in the online activities because they didn’t have home computer/internet access. And, maybe that’s how it should be asked: which students will you intentionally deny education to by whatever online tools the teacher decides to use?

        Once you get past that, then you did say: Most teachers who have some experience with online schooling realize that the pace is slower and expectations need to be reduced. And I was part of the team that created the first virtual high school, so I’d say I have some experience with online schooling. In a well designed online learning situation, you don’t need to lower expectations. Pace may not change either, but it depends on whether the online experience is synchronous or asynchronous. And, you do explain the options for both.

        This whole need for continuity of instruction is very important, and it’s unfortunate we had to have the virus to get to this discussion. Schools should be looking at resources like those you have posted because at some point they will need to use them, even if (and hopefully not) for the virus.

        • Very true, Raymond! Eventually it would be good if the pace of online learning could be on par with the physical classroom and it’s fantastic for educators to be reassured that it is possible.

          I did read a really good tweet last night (which I can’t find now of course). The educator suggested that due to the current state of affairs, we need to all slow down. She suggested we don’t worry about getting through as much content/coursework as usual. She stressed that with an impending health crisis, it’s important to rest, relax, and stay well. Of course, she put all this more eloquently than me but in the current context of COVID-19, I did like her points.

          I definitely agree that online learning is an important discussion to have across the education community. So that’s a certainly an advantage of the current pandemic/epidemic.

          • Kathleen Morris
  45. What you’ve curated and created here will help so many. Thank you for your time and for sharing. Amazing resource.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Katee!

      • Kathleen Morris