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9 Ways Online Teaching Should be Different from Face-to-Face


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Listen to my interview with Melanie Kitchen (transcript):

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It’s a pretty safe bet that most teachers will be doing some form of online teaching in the coming year. Maybe you’ll do it full-time, maybe it will be some kind of hybrid model, but one thing is for sure: This time around you won’t be dropped into it without warning.

So with this chance to take a breath and do more thoughtful, intentional planning, the next question is What do we do differently? What shifts do we need to make in our face-to-face teaching practices to make the most of online learning?

To find out, I sought the help of Melanie Kitchen, a Coordinator of Instructional Technology and Staff Development serving 19 school districts in Western New York state. Melanie has years of experience working with teachers on developing blended learning and has now shifted to helping teachers develop best practices for remote learning

Melanie Kitchen

I asked Melanie to share some ways online teaching should be different from face-to-face teaching. She came up with nine: three that are specific to community building and communication, and six that focus on instructional design. Along with these differences, she also shared a few things that should stay exactly the same.

Community Building & Communication

1. The first weeks of school should be devoted to community building and digital competency.

Resist the temptation to dive right into curriculum at the start of the school year. Things will go more smoothly if you devote the early weeks to building community so students feel connected. Social emotional skills can be woven in during this time. On top of that, students need practice with whatever digital tools you’ll be using. So focus your lessons on those things, intertwining the two when possible. 

“If you are explicitly teaching persistence,” Kitchen says, “maybe I’m going to give you a challenge that’s not content-related, but something that you might have to kind of grapple with. But when I assign that, if I’m using Google Classroom, then I’m going to assign that through Google Classroom and teach you how you’re going to open an assignment, how you’re going to submit it, how you’ll be receiving feedback. So you are teaching these skills all at once, and it’s not something separate or extra. It’s just all done together.” 

Other good resources that can guide and inform the conversations you have in these early weeks are:

2. Communication with parents needs to be more thorough, streamlined, and predictable.

Parents are also adjusting to this new way of doing school. Because they are sometimes expected to play an even more prominent role in supporting student learning, they need more support from you. “We really need parents to be our partners in this learning community,” Kitchen says. 

Here are some guidelines:

3. Community and connection need to be a priority for teachers, too. 

“Teachers need to connect with each other now more than ever,” Kitchen says. Your school leadership should be building in regular opportunities for you to stay connected to your colleagues during this time. If they are not, create those opportunities for yourself. 

Instructional Design

4. Teacher collaboration is even more important.

Meeting the challenges of online learning gets easier when we work together. “As we’re all trying to get to know these students better,” Kitchen says, “we need to be working together to do that.” That means working more closely with specialists to make sure our lessons and materials meet the needs of all students, partnering with others in our content area to plan instruction, working together on cross-curricular projects, and dividing up the things all students need (like technology instruction) among teachers on a team or grade level so students aren’t doing the same lessons over and over and our work isn’t duplicated.

Fortunately, collaborating online can be even easier than trying to do it when we all teach in the same physical building. “This virtual environment has provided us the opportunity to break down those walls, to break down those silos,” Kitchen says. “Our schedules and time constraints that we may have had before will come down. We may have more opportunity to partner with people that we didn’t have the time or the space to be able to do that before.”

5. “Face-to-face” time should be used for active learning.

Online instruction is made up largely of asynchronous instruction, which students can access at any time. This is ideal, because requiring attendance for synchronous instruction puts some students at an immediate disadvantage if they don’t have the same access to technology, reliable internet, or a flexible home schedule. 

But you’re likely to offer “face-to-face” or synchronous opportunities at some point, and one way to make them happen more easily is to have students meet in small groups. While it’s nearly impossible to arrange for 30 students to attend a meeting at once, assigning four students to meet is much more manageable. Kitchen likes “campfire groups,” which are permanent groups of about four that stay together for long periods of time. This arrangement allows students to get to know each other better and establish more trust. Students might be rearranged for other activities to provide some variety, but the campfire groups would provide a stable base throughout the school term.

So what kind of instructional activities should be used for these different formats? 

What works best, Kitchen says, is to keep direct instruction—things like brief video lectures and readings—in asynchronous form, using checks for understanding like embedded questions or exit slips. 

You can then use synchronous meetings for more interactive, engaging work. “If we want students showing up, if we want them to know that this is worth their time,” Kitchen explains, “it really needs to be something active and engaging for them. Any time they can work with the material, categorize it, organize it, share further thoughts on it, have a discussion, all of those are great things to do in small groups.” 

Small group strategies she strongly recommends:

6. Content needs to be simplified and slowed down.

Online instruction is not conducive to covering large amounts of content, so you have to choose wisely, teaching the most important things at a slower pace. To make those choices, Kitchen recommends asking some key questions:

7. Instructions should be easy to find, explicit, and multimodal.

Because you are not in the same room with students, your instructions have to work a lot harder than they do in a brick-and-mortar setting. 

8. Traditional grading practices should take a backseat to feedback.

“We saw a transition during emergency remote teaching where each of us had different requirements about grades or no grades, pass and fail,” Kitchen says. “This whole environment really needs to be supported by communication and connection. If I’m to receive an A or a 95 or a 65, that doesn’t necessarily tell me as much as verbal feedback or print feedback to what I’m doing right, what I can improve on.”

So when teaching remotely, put the emphasis on formative feedback as students work through assignments and tasks, rather than simply grading them at the end. 

9. Summative assessment should focus on creation.

In online learning, Kitchen says, “There are so many ways that students can cheat, so if we’re giving them just the traditional quiz or test, it’s really easy for them to be able to just look up that information.”

A great solution to this problem is to have students create things. These can be videos, podcasts, digital or physical art, writing pieces, comics, and so on. “It’s a lot more difficult to cheat when you have to make something or do something. And it also integrates all of the areas and it builds up, all of that learning builds up into this creation that they will do.”

Image Credit: Bill Ferriter (CC BY-NC-ND)

What Stays the Same

Not everything in online teaching is different. Some aspects of good teaching should definitely stay the same.

The teaching environment may not be the same as we’re used to, but it’s important to remember that good teaching is still good teaching. “All of those things that we know are really good practices can still be done virtually,” Kitchen says. “It just might look a little bit different.”

You can find Melanie on her website,, or on Twitter at @MelKitchenEDU.

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  1. Pam Powell says:

    I truly appreciate this article on online teaching. It gives a few practical steps that guide some boundaries in how to structure the online, hybrid learning many schools will encounter. I am at a private school and we anticipate going back in person, but are making a plan b just in case.
    Thanks again,
    Pam Powell

    • Claire says:

      The article is a great read. I am enlightened as a teacher because this will help me and those who read the article too in preparing for our next online teaching. The points emhasized by Melanie Kitchen are clear and important.
      Thanks for sharing this, I really appreciate.

      • Janice says:

        This article does a good job of differentiating remote and face to face instruction, how they need to be different and how they need to be the same to provide for optimum student motivation, participation, and learning.

        • Lori Anne Brown says:

          I like the idea of creating a conducive environment that encourages student feedback as an assessment tool for what is learned, as opposed to using a traditional grading system to !measure student achievement and outcome.

        • Brenda Haklik says:

          I agree face to face instruction and online teaching is so different in many ways. I realized that communicating with parents is even more important, since they are managing their students learning at home. I teach kindergarteners, so I have to work harder ensuring parents know what papers, websites the students will need each day. I also appreciated the comment that communications need to be streamlined.

          • Andrea Castellano says:

            Thank you, Brenda. I’ll be sure to pass your comments along to Jenn.

      • This was ones of the best resources that I have found in regards to the topic of education.

      • Tracy Bunn says:

        The article “Nine Ways Online Teaching Should Be Different from Face-to-Face” was great. I especially liked the 9th way because personally I think grades are overrated, especially when students do not understand how they ended up with a particular grade–that has happened to me many times over the course of my educational experiences–not fun!

        I believe that what truly helps students is to have a conversation with them about what they are doing really well on and also ways that they could improve their performance–comments teach better than a number or a letter because they will be remembered longer in a more thoughtful manner.

        • Kecia Coar-Overall says:

          The article/podcast, “9 Ways Online Teaching Should be Different from Face-to-Face” has some great teacher tools and what I feel are best practices that could be used in any teaching environment (face to face, online synchronous, and asynchronous).

          I completely agree with you statement, “I think grades are overrated, especially when students do not understand how they ended up with a particular grade–that has happened to me many times over the course of my educational experiences–not fun!” I teach students who have some learning challenges and when I see them work hard to improve upon their learning, make progress, but still do not get a “good grade” is very disheartening.

      • Joy Gaines says:

        I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for sharing what important considerations should made for students and families in an online settings. I liked the examples that were given with each step and the linked resources and how the article ended with the things that should stay the same in an online environment. I will definitely share this article and bookmark it to revisit again.

      • Natalie says:

        Yes, this is a great article! It will help me prepare for the inevitable future of online teaching.

      • Ms. Macecevic says:

        As a teacher in a traditional classroom currently working on my Online Teaching endorsement this article was very informative in enabling the reader to get a glimpse of what stays the same from a traditional classroom to an online classroom, possible options that are out there that could help with engagement and changing up lessons. And most importantly key things to think about when designing/planning for your online class like what is or will communication look like and what form will it take on with students and with parents, etc.

    • Magnus Caithness says:

      One of the really good ones! Affirmative or / and informative. This article is well worth the read.

      • Dana Kindelberger says:

        Couldn’t agree more!!

      • Melinda Mouzzon says:

        Agreed. Eye-opening and helpful suggestions for handling late work too.

      • Mable Jefferys says:

        The article was indeed informative. The 9 steps given was very eye opening for me. I tend to spend a lot of time on step one…building relationships. I think once a relationship is built with my students, trust is established and then I can start the teaching piece.

      • Edwin Mayes says:

        Right on, Magnus! I, too, found this article to be really helpful and perceptive regarding the challenges and idiosyncrasies of online learning. The point about using technology with specific learning outcomes in mind seems particularly salient to me. The newness of being online and our desperation to create fun and meaningful learning experiences for our students could cause us to adopt too many new tech tools, or use them in ways that are uninspired. The tech is just the means, not the end. It’s important for us to apply the Tripe E Framework whenever we are considering the adoption of a new technology in our virtual classrooms. Does the tool we are considering engage, enhance, and extend our learning goals? If it doesn’t do all three of these things consistently, it probably isn’t the best choice. I’ve been thinking a lot about intentionality lately, especially because it is so tempting to simply throw in a new tech tool and call it a day when we are exhausted from planning or have Zoom fatigue. Many of these shiny new tools have potential to support effective learning, but we have to be careful about how we use them and how often, lest they become a crutch.

    • Sandra Forner says:

      This article is timely and extremely useful.

    • Maggie Degenhardt says:

      This article is filled with great recommendations that are easy to apply in a classroom setting that is both in person and virtual learning. One focus that I have observed as I visit classrooms is the need for collaboration online and in person yet in a safe learning environment. The suggestion of jigsaw, discussion posts, visible thinking routines are best practices to promote and maintain student engagement. Feedback is critical for student growth and I enjoyed seeing the information shared for including the parents the opportunity to provide feedback as well. So many great ideas, thank you for sharing!

      • Nadine McQueen Campbell says:

        Maggie, I agree with your comment, especially that about the feedback component where parents are concerned. We typically stop short of this and I see it as a great way to get parents more involved not only in understanding the curriculum more, but having a more active part in the learning process of their children.

    • Cassandra Crawford says:

      I really enjoyed reading this article. There were so many great suggestions. Socio-emotional health is really important. Your ideas are great regarding student’s mental health were very helpful. Engaging students in an online environment can be challenging at times. The ideas you suggested encourages student engagement, motivates and encourages student achievement.

    • Bethany Chapple says:

      Great post on the differences between face to face and online learning. I wish this could be seen and read by every Administrator. There are some keys elements that make online learning successful. Starting with that digital competency. To me this cannot be stressed enough. IF students don’t know how to use and interact with the technology how can we begin to except them to learn with it.

    • Sreekanth says:

      Great lesson which really inspired me

    • Samira Bregeth says:

      I agree that creating community the first two weeks is essential. I’ve been restructuring my calendar with this in mind because I believe the foundation must be strong for us to have a great class dynamic. Also, giving two weeks for natural adjustment and inevitable challenges is wise.

  2. Cynthia Frankowiak says:

    I need to sit for a minute to digest the many helpful directions in your article. One which caught my attention the most is that of getting feedback from parents and students. I was unsuccessful in this aspect of online teaching, and definitely feel it made a difference in student engagement. I asked for information and input via both Class Dojo and with Google Forms, that were texted, emailed, or posted to Class Dojo. Can you share any methods that you’ve seen teachers use successfully to invite parents to connect and communicate? Thank you, Cynthia

    • June Marvin says:

      I’ve never personally used this tool, but I’m going to use Remind for this upcoming year! I have colleagues who have found it very helpful in the past.

      • Alexander says:

        This was the best resource I have found all summer in regards to the topic of education.

        I have been working on building teqcher community at my school. Do you have ideas, instructions, or resources to build community WITHIN teachers?

      • Kavita says:

        This post has highlighted the very basic and important aspect of virtual teaching learning techniques which is infact the need of the hour rather than getting and rushing into all types of apps or tools for the kids. A very useful post to learn the basics of teaching learning activities. I feel the teaching community should make the online learning very simple and cover the concepts in a manner that each level of the students group understands very easily. I like the idea of creating something for online assignments where there is a less possibility of plagiarism and cheating. Thank you very much for bringing in and reflecting on the current trends in virtual sessions.

        • Pearl Brazelton says:

          I agree with you Kavita, the need to get the kinks out of remote learning from the beginning. Students need to know what is expected of him or her while learning and parents need to know what he or she would need to do to help support that learning from home. In building a community everyone has a role to play that would assist in the student flow of learning.

          • Carl says:

            Establishing or community building is essential and community connection; the student classroom will be their home, their home away teacher help will be their parents. We or I need to establish a good connection with their parents, they will be our main connection source to the students. Working together, helps us all move the needle in the right direction.

          • RAJESWARI J says:

            Students expectations are more in online than in face to face teaching.

        • I thought this instruction was very good–fun to watch. She gave speciific ways to achieve the objective.

      • Dana Kindelberger says:

        I have never used it except for getting messages from my daughters teachers. I think I am going to try it too.

        • This was a wonderful article ! This year is so crazy, it is so important that teachers build a strong partnership with parents for remote learning to be successful…concise, positive and consistent communication and technology support.

      • Sebrina Brown says:

        I found Remind to be a lifesaver during remote learning during the Fall 2020. Our LMS was flaky since it was pushed through over the summer. We frequently had to change plans on the fly and Remind made it easier to convey the changes to all involved at once.

        • Jacqueline Roth says:

          I’ve used Remind multiple years, even before the pandemic. The chat feature allows me to have an extra means of contacting parents and a way for students to text me during the day and afternoons if they need help. You can set office hours to restrict hours that parents and students can contact you.

    • Katrice Quitter says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      There are several tools that you could consider to connect and communicate with your parents, here’s a few to check out!
      Bloomz, ClassTag, and FreshGrade are all great tools. Each of these can be used in different ways with your students and parents. Check them out and see if something will fit your needs.

      I hope this helps!

    • Marcia Baker says:

      Hello Cynthia, I just want to share that the article was very insightful and key because I was able to contact my EC parents from March- May via emails, and phone calls. They were so grateful for the contact and the fact that I was concerned about their child continuing to learn through the technoloy of google classroom. They were so willing to keep their children on track, and make certain that the assignments were done and turned in. It was a “win win” for everyone.

      • Rondell says:

        I agree with getting feedback from parents & students. This keeps the parents engaged. It also helps in knowing what works & what doesn’t. All f the articles were good & very informative. Thank you

  3. Paige says:

    Thank you so much for the work you put into both creating and collating information. I find your podcast a great resource.

  4. Your article provides an abundant amount of information. Would love to learn more about supporting early learning since it appears this will all apply.

    • Hi Robin! If by early learning you’re referring to kindergarten/first grade, we feel all of this is applicable. If you’re referring to preschool, that’s a bit out of our wheelhouse and we hope someone else can jump in and keep the conversation going! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you so much! I loved listening to the podcast and reading the post for additional links. Great work, thanks again!

  6. Claire says:

    Thank you Jennifer Gonzalez for this great article..

  7. Mark says:

    Really good and valid point. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Vicki Carter says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast. After listening I went back in and explored all the great links.

  9. lydia yehling says:

    Any hints for second grade teachers?

  10. Ali Pinzon says:

    Great article..I would like to receive emails from you

    • Ali, we’d love to have you join us! To subscribe, click here. If you have any problems, you can contact our Customer Support Team. They’ll be glad to help out.

  11. John Thomas says:

    I have worked in online education for over a decade, and I can say that most of what is covered here is spot on. I would say that one of the final points, about using research based instructional strategies, cannot be emphasized enough. You can do the same things online that you could do in the classroom. They might need to be done differently, but you can do them. If you can’t figure out how, ask someone. Find someone who has been doing this a long time, and ask them.

    One area where I will have to disagree is about scheduling live meetings. This is a decision that should be made now, over the summer, and not picked during the school year. In the episode, it was mentioned about having a weekly check in meeting, and having it at a time that works for the students. Jennifer mentioned, “One o’clock would definitely be first period.” The problem with this is that if 1:00 is first period for the ELA class, and the Math class, and the Science class, you’re going to get into a schedule nightmare. Once you add in that special education teachers, math and reading specialists, related service providers, etc. all needing times to meet with students, having all of this done ad hoc will create frustration for the teachers, for the students, and for the administrators. Teachers will find that they are spending more time scheduling meeting times than they are creating high quality instruction. I implore school administrators to take the time this summer to work out schedules for when students can meet. Send it early, so so students can see what the day will look like. They can see if there are conflicts (for example, one house has only one computer, and a 2nd grader and a 7th grader in the house both need to be on it at 1:00.) If those things are not resolved in the summer, it will create many headaches down the road.

    Another benefit of having set times for meetings is that it helps students, particularly those with special needs, to have a routine. If the times when they meet is in constant flux, it will create a level of stress and anxiety which will create an insurmountable barrier to learning.

    Do yourselves a favor. Build schedules now.

    • Crystal DeMoura says:

      Thank you; very well said and on point. Advice I will take!

    • Doug Whitmore says:

      Thanks for your post. Agree with you whole heartedly about building into schedules one-on-one meeting time intentionally before the start of the school year. I found last spring that much flexibility was required by all as specialists, tutors and classroom teachers (not to mention parents and children) had to adjust as newly discovered and needed offerings were inserted into our remote online schedule, thus creating a series of changes in child contact slots. Working out known conflicts early would be a great help in keeping a stable schedule moving into the year.

      Building schedules soon!

    • Aletha says:

      Thanks for stating that. Building a schedule now will help anxiety and give me a start in structuring my classroom setting

    • Shirley Davis says:


      This information is so beneficial to me. You drove the nail home in teaching us how to set up class from day one to the end. What technology is and is not was very helpful, also. I actually made this cultofpedagogy as a shortcut on y laptop so I can easily refer back to it.
      Thank you!

      • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

        Jenn will be glad to know that this post was helpful for you, Shirley!

  12. shadia says:

    thanks a lot for you, this article is great

  13. Miranda Nogaki says:

    I’ve been an all-online high school teacher for 5 years and am currently earning a masters in Online Instruction. This list is 100% research based! Educators, use this list like the Holy Grail of Online Instruction and share widely! Your colleagues need to know that things which sound simply, like giving feedback that is not attached to grades, and communicating thoroughly and often are practices shown by research to have huge effect size in online learning. Things like taking time to establish relationship aren’t just “feel good” strategies but are the most powerful teaching moves you can make online.

  14. Hi! Great ideas here! Would love to brainstorm how to teach some students face to face and some attending online simultaneously?!? How do you monitor the online at home students?! Yikes!

    • Uma Maheshwari m says:

      I appreciate this team for your successful lnputs in education against covid pandemic .it is highly resourceful to all teachers those who are teaching through online mode in this critical situation.. Thank you for all team members

  15. Thanks for such an insightful article. I especially like the graphic depicting what we want students learning outcomes to be from technology. It is so important especially right now to learn to adjust to online teaching that is still effective and engaging.

  16. William Holt says:

    Thank you. Helpful in providing a few new ideas and confirming already developed strategies

  17. Kelly O'Connor says:

    Holly, I agree that post is fantastic, but in the situation we find ourselves in right now (pandemic-induced social distancing), I don’t think we can encourage teachers to be physically visiting classrooms–and many will not be physically at school to do so. I appreciate the article (“How to Support Teachers’ Emotional Needs Right Now”), linked in point #3. Jennifer–I would love help finding more resources like that article!

    • Excellent point about not visiting classrooms right now! I’m still wrapping my mind around all the changes coming and I didn’t even think about that when suggesting the Pineapple Charts. Maybe this could be rectified by granting access to virtual classrooms to other teachers? So much to think about.
      As far as finding more articles such as the one you mentioned, I would recommend following Jenn on Twitter. Half of what she posts is outside of Cult of Pedagogy, so you may find something good there! I also recommend the Teacher Soul Pinterest board. I hope this helps!

  18. Julie says:

    Hi! Thank you for this article. I work with a lot of ELs. I am wondering about qualitative informal reading assessments with ELs within the online learning environment, not grading or summative or standardized assessments. I mean reading assessments to inform our instruction. Do you have any guidance on how best to go about doing those within online learning to ensure they are equitable for ELs?

    • Hi, Julie! We’ve thought through quite a few online resources that would be worth looking into, so I hope something here helps!

      Most specifically for ELs: Colorin Colorado
      Also check out: CommonLit, Raz-Kids, Playposit, and Newsela

      • Jordana Benone says:

        Great guidelines! My only suggestion? #1 needs to be done ALL YEAR LONG. Every module, every week, every lesson, every day. Personally, I have never felt more connected to my students and they tell me how much they appreciate my class all the time (and these are reluctant teens, btw). I am a MUCH better teacher online and this is all due to my ongoing efforts to build community in order to facilitate learning. When colleagues ask how my pandemic teaching could possibly be going so well, this is what I tell them. Reinvest in seeing, hearing, and knowing your students ALL year long!

  19. Julie says:

    Also, you mentioned using research based instructional strategies which led me to wonder what research is there on assessing within online learning. I work with elementary level students many of which are ELs.

  20. A valuable resource for online teaching. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Baucom says:

      I agree. Very informative and will be helpful through online teaching.

  21. Emily G Brown says:

    I teach adult-English-learners at a community college. Practice is vital in language learning! I found this helpful as we move toward a virtual learning environment this fall. Thank you.

  22. Lillian Pulliam says:

    The information shared is extremely helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  23. Jannine Hinterstein says:

    This was a well stated and very actionable article. Less is definitely more in these times! Thank you.

  24. Martina Avery says:

    I really like this article, it hit a lot of points. I also think it it will give you an ideal of how to start.

  25. Dan Lawlor says:

    Appreciate these training sessions to iron out the issues before school begins. I am a Special Education teacher and the most important thing we can do is to make access to instruction as easy as possible for both students and parents. Last school year problem I had was my students frustration levels are extremely low. (another teaching opportunity) When they have to do multiple steps they would get frustrated and give up missing one assignment after another. This needs to be address before all other training can take place. Moving to canvas and one source of communication is a good beginning point.

  26. Gretchen Chrane says:

    Melanie Kitchen was wonderful. Unfortunately, my school does not use Google Classroom and the platform we use doesn’t seem to have the save level of flexibility and options for posting class lessons, videos etc. We will have additional training on our platform which may solve some of our issues.

  27. Tina says:

    I am a 1st grade teacher and will have face to face and online students. There will be no school time set aside for my online students. I am concerned that due to some parents working and student/teacher guidelines, that it will be late in the evening before I can interact with my online students. Even though I will have “office hours”, I do not know how I will handle the online responsibility without it consuming my home life. Suggestions will be much appreciated!

  28. Christina says:

    Thank you so much. Great inspiration for the start of the school year and to prepare for whatever situation we might find ourselves in.

  29. Gail Titus, Special Education Teacher says:

    This is an informative article and I will be sharing it with my teaching Team.

  30. Donna says:

    Thanks for the information. This helps frame our thinking as we move forward with online teaching and online learning.

    • Marcia Baker says:

      This does help frame our thinking and it provides the strategies necessary to operate in this virtual learning environment.

  31. Sheila says:

    Good !o be reminded to keep it SIMPLE !

  32. Angela Fuller says:

    This is an incredible resource. Initially, I thought it was going to be a simple list of 9 ways. The depth and amount of information provided, however, was extremely useful. I am looking forward to September and will be splitting my time in the classroom with face-to-face, and online. The biggest thing that comes to mind for me and how I related to each of the 9 areas was around Flipped Learning. I find all of them fit really nicely into that framework. I especially enjoyed the comment around assessment having to look different. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  33. Jeffery kay says:

    To All,
    Communication with the students and parents will be the key to getting the relationship with teacher and students, parents moving in the right direction.Relationship needs to be in a caring way. Caring for that student will enhance that student interest in the subject or assignment. The student academics will grow with caring.

  34. marcarlos daniels says:

    I really liked how you talked about self awareness and simplifying the material so that the students do not get discouraged and will not put effort into the work. A lot of other good points also. Thanks.

  35. Iolanda Marinelli says:

    Thank you Jennifer for including PBL and Equity.
    Great insights on teachers FtoF and online teachers.

  36. Cindy says:

    Great article. I really like that you valued the contribution that the specialist can make.

  37. Robert C Decker says:

    There are many students and teachers at Keller elementary. You need to know how to respond with different people in many different ways.

  38. Rhonda McClain says:

    Keeping it simple is often the best strategy of all.

  39. Ann Botros says:

    I appreciate this presentation very much.

  40. Cynthia Ortiz says:

    Thanks for sharing

  41. Gladys Tapia says:

    This is a such valuable resource for online teaching. Thank you so much.

  42. Juanita Jimenez says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  43. Omima says:

    Thank you so much. It is good explanation for a 9 ways method of teaching not only to focus on face-to-face. It helps me out that there are many other tools of learning for our kiddos.

  44. Felicia A Burton says:

    This was very informative. I listened to the interview and it was amazing. I think #5 should be shared with all school district administrators and school administrators. It makes so much sense as to how we connect with students and build that community. All of the information was relevant, but I really enjoyed and connected with #5.

    • Jennifer says:

      Felicia, I completely agree. I think having a strong relationship with the parents and students from the beginning of the school is so important.

  45. Paul Dinkenor says:

    Thanks so much for your time and effort

  46. Tanya says:

    Informative with new information and reminders of things already known.

  47. Megan Davis says:

    Thanks for all of the good information to think about! Makes me feel better about what our team is planning and gives some good food for thought!!

    Also makes me feel good about some of the things that I did at the end of last year when it felt like there were no solid things in place.

  48. Maria I Rodriguez says:

    Love this kind of information that is so important and necessary for us right now. Thank you very much

  49. Rachel says:

    What a great resource to find as I begin planning for school return with some combo of face-to-face and on-line learning. I appreciate the useful links and tips that centered around meeting the needs of all students and the importance of communication and connection! Giving students relevant and ongoing feedback on what they can improve allows them to grow and feel able to make mistakes, learn and progress. I’m wondering how we can move away from assigning letter grades, and establish better assessment of learning in online or blended models, at the elementary level, while at the same time meeting school and parent needs?

  50. Brad Remmert says:

    Quality information to assist in shifting from face-to-face to online learning!

  51. Lots and lots of good information for everyone in the education field.

  52. MaryCatherine Troxler says:

    Brought up some good points and reminders as we continue our journey. Really important to have information easy for students and parents to find

  53. Karen McClain says:

    I really like this type of training. I heard it and I was able to read the text. I am visual and this helped me greatly retain what was being said. Great information with great examples. Very helpful.Thank you!

  54. Habits of minds based on same concepts-Teaching tools in conjunction with student needs!

  55. This was so informative. First few steps, so important – building a community. I am often so anxious to get to the instruction. I may spend a few days doing this. See now that it may take a great deal more time. Thank You!

  56. Jennifer, this article was appropriate and necessary to help teachers and administrators to better understand the nuances of on-line teaching in its’ many facets. I found that this article was much more than sharing the experiences of Melanie Kitchen. Melanie was able to deliver a road map to on-line teaching by creating a digital reference library which will prove useful in the upcoming months. I am truly appreciative for the work that when into developing this article.

    Thank you so much.

  57. Darren Segool says:

    This changes everything really. Many of this procedures will do well for direct student teaching/engagement when and if we return to the classroom.

  58. Great podcast. As a retired Art teacher I embrace the idea of more emphasis on visual learning. Making videos, podcasts, Art, and other alternative methods is so exciting. I think this is so welcome for so many of our learners.

  59. Stephanie Johnson says:

    I love how you described grading as looking differently now, about creation to show student understanding. “Technology is a tool, not a learning outcome.” Couldn’t agree more!

  60. Ellen Burnett says:

    I enjoyed listening to ways that online teaching should be different.
    It was informative to hear ways to encourage student online learning and group learning.

  61. Kyle says:

    I enjoyed reading the article, I thought there were many good points about how to set standards for virtual learning. This was a great road map of how to prep for online learning with some key points to make it easier for teachers.

  62. E. Duncan says:

    My take away for the 9 ways online learning needs to be different is really focusing on what you as a teacher want the student to learn, “Simplify Content”. Feedback should be more important than grading. Your summative assessment should focus on creation, not a test.

  63. Robert Blomquist says:

    Communications is critical to building community both in person and through virtual education

  64. Stacie Ostercamp says:

    I feel that this upcoming school year I really need to be sure that my parents have the skills and knowledge to access what students have to access, for everyone to be successful. This is going to be done with diligent communication with parents, students, and teachers. This also includes me asking for feedback from all. The other takeaway is communication and consistency. This will have to be done with much collaboration with teachers and staff. I think that the main thing that I need to do with the students that I work with, is to make them feel as comfortable as possible if we do go online, with the discussion part that includes the online meetings. This may include organizing one on one or smaller group meetings. The big takeaway is being sure that we as teachers, are on the same page, consistency!

  65. Thom Jones says:

    I feel that during this upcoming school year I really need the parents and students to understand my beliefs and philosophies on lifelong learning. This is going to be done through diligent (and positive) communications with parents, students, and fellow teachers. This also includes me asking for honest and open feedback from all the stakeholders. The other takeaway is constant collaboration and consistency. I think one of the main things that I need to do with the students that I work with is to make them feel as comfortable as possible with online work, and adding this to the discussion part of our online meetings. I must be adaptable, patient, and ready to offer alternative solutions for items or lessons that need to be “tweaked”.

  66. Karyn trulove says:

    I loved all of Ms. Kitchens idea’s on online learning. I work with younger students and it is hard for them during this time. I plan on using some of her idea’s.

  67. I hope to learn more about Canvas and am able to communicate with parents. A take away is that we need to be consistent and flexible.

  68. Patrice Watson says:

    I know how to use google classroom. This year would like to learn how to zoom. So, the first day of school, I can see all my students online virtually.

  69. Krista Schumann says:

    My goal is to learn more about Canvas and to learn more tools/apps to use with Google Classroom. Article has a lot of information and resources.,

  70. Kenny says:

    Good article with practical knowledge. I wish we had a week or 2 before school to unpack everything and use the various examples

  71. Carisa Blowers says:

    “Simplicity & Grace” is my motto for the year! I plan to make learning as simple as possible for parents & as fun as possible for students using tech as a tool.

    • Tammy Hovik says:

      Great ideas on thoughts on how virtual teaching is different than classroom teaching. Good tools, such as having consistant platforms in parent communications. Thank you.

      • Laura says:

        I agree with the consistency and easing in new platforms eventually. I also agree when they shared parent communication needs to be consistent and streamlined making it more easy to get to and understand.

  72. Michele Hunt says:

    Allowing teachers the opportunity to slow down and really focus on the critical areas of learning is essential. Also, being allowed the opportunity to make sure kids and parents are familiar with the technology and giving them “how to” videos or live chats is a great way to build a virtual community.

  73. Scott Beets says:

    This is the second time I have read this article and it was a good reminder of that teaching online might be different we can do meaningful things to make feel as if we are in a normal setting.

  74. Amy Christensen says:

    “Simple and slowed-down” makes complete sense with virtual learning. I agree that’s important to focus on the most important concepts to teach.

  75. Beth Poupart says:

    After listening to this podcast, I felt relieved. I was relieved that my concerns and questions were being validated when it comes to remote learning. Many great ideas and solutions were presented. I especially liked the idea of allowing students to reflect and give feedback on a lesson or unit. I agree more creative and project based assessments will be more engaging and productive than traditional quiz and tests methods.

  76. Alicia Beltran says:

    Thank you for giving us tips on how to communicate with students and parents.

  77. This article gave me a clear reason for why I selected to teach. Giving back to my community can be and makes me feel this is my duty.

  78. Kandy Martin says:

    I’m hoping to utilize the “Breakout groups” in Zoom and I like how they mentioned using “Campfire groups” where 4 to 6 students stay together during this remote learning. Like a college cohort.

  79. Kelsey D says:

    I love these ideas! I feel like building a strfong relationship with parents and students are the foundation of online learning.

  80. Angela Brantley says:

    I liked the examples of what you should have your students do and what not to have your students do on online learning.

  81. Geri says:

    Great resources and information!

  82. Angela brantley says:

    I loved the numerous ideas to use in my classroom. I would love for my students to have small group assignments to work together in. I want the class to still feel like a class with interaction with other students.

    • Shelley Carr says:

      Fairly new at this online teaching and this article gave much needed insight and confirmation to ideas I was having regarding learning in a virtual environment. Communication to all stakeholders is key and the article really emphasized that. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  83. Richard W. says:

    I liked the idea of dogfooding. Keeping things simple and slowed down is a good suggestion.

  84. Barb Marshall says:

    Our school has already adopted some of the ideas you have mentioned. We are starting out with an Open House with 2 families each hour with that student and giving instructions on how to navigate with Canvas and Zoom. We will be contacting parents on the phone and if worse comes to worse, I will do home visits.

  85. Bob Vandenberg says:

    Thanks for the information!! Everyone needs support during these times!

  86. Kimberly R Daigle says:

    What a podcast of wonderful ideas that I can share with the teachers as a math coach for instructional practices. Thanks for the platform.

  87. Interesting interview. I like the some things stay the same, some things will need to change overall idea.

  88. Nancy Broda says:

    This information was very helpful, thank you for all the great information.

  89. Jeanne W. says:

    Great information. My school has already implemented most of these things. I like the idea of providing feedback to students versus just giving them a grade.

  90. Everett says:

    Thank you so much! I loved listening to the podcast and reading the post for additional links.

  91. Debra Hardison says:

    Great information. We all need support during this new way of learning

  92. troy brown says:

    Great information to help you build a plan and strategy approaching the school year.

  93. As an Instructional Assistant, I follow and assist the teacher in whatever lessons they prepare for the children. I enjoyed reading this article and learning about the different ways that the certified teachers can enhance the online learning experience for the students.

  94. Cari Porterfield says:

    Great information and very helpful!

    • Lori Arbour says:

      Yes, great information. And, it’s so important to make learning authentic!

  95. Shane Murphy says:

    Lots of links-still exploring and learning but very helpful

  96. Christine Vinson says:

    This was very helpful , Thank you for all your knowledge.
    I have set some standards with having a one on one personal interview so I can set some boundaries with teaching the Certified Nursing Student.
    Have to set these in beginning with Syllabus/Student Handbook.

  97. Vincent Chambers says:

    Very informative material with lots of ins and outs on how to deal with the situation but either way this situation is gonna be very very challenging for everyone involved. I just hope everyone does their best to work through the situation positively.

  98. LaDonna Barnhill says:

    Loved this article with Ms. Kitchen. The one thing I’ve learned to focus on with online learning is the most essential part of each learning target. I love how she refers to traditional grading practices taking a backseat to feedback, which is what is most effective in the learning process anyway!!

  99. Dana Kindelberger says:

    Very informative read. Great points and a lot to think about when it comes to our new ways of teaching virtually verses face to face.

  100. J.P. Nettles says:

    Lots of good information, plenty to choose from

  101. Bree Prosser says:

    What a great podcast. I like to listen to things more than read. We have been talking about this for my school recently and I liked knowing that we are hopefully going down the right path. Those first few weeks will be getting to know new students, making sure technology works, building community. I’m so excited to get started!

  102. Tom says:

    Having been teaching virtually for a few months, I agree with a lot of what Melanie Kitchens says.

  103. Eric Beeman says:

    Lots of great information. But what struck me the most was trying to keep it simple. I’m a drama specialist so I only have the students for a fraction of the time. I don’t want to overload them with theory. Just something quick and easy so they can retain and transfer.

  104. Arlene Pyjar - Potts says:

    Very interesting information. In my first class I asked each student to introduce themselves and tell us with they did, since these are adult students, it was interesting to watch them come together. Since the adult students are of all ages, they were helping each other, connecting, and working thru the “kinks” of technology issues and programs.
    At this point in time, there are no “face to face” meetings, but since we do see each other, even though it is online, we have managed to build a “community” within the distance learning atmosphere.

  105. Aury Nicol says:

    It’s very important information.

  106. Mike Kelly says:

    We need to get the kinks out of remote learning from the beginning. Building a community is a good way to assist in this.

  107. Carol Hylen says:

    I like the idea of the SAMR model and which gradually builds upon the incorporation of technology and collaboration with peers.

    • R. Roland says:

      We use the SAMR model in my district. It is a great way to provide instruction and ensure that we are taking it to the next level. It is a good guide for new and seasoned teachers no matter what their level of comfort is with technology.

  108. Seketta Brown says:

    Good information. I definitely have to keep thing simple for my students. I can’t give them to much at one time. Teaching online you really have to focus on the most important information

  109. Howard says:

    Connections. What can I do as an educator to encourage, help, and support all students with connecting the Instructor, fellow students, websites and links along with other resources. Challenge the students to not just login but research using digital learning. Concepts, applying a variety of concepts to engage and entice the student to remain attentive to the subject. Changes, add variety with lecture, visuals, etc.

  110. Victor says:

    Thanks. Important to identify new ways to present my class

  111. mavy wilson says:

    This was very helpful in how I need to organize my thinking and priorities when it comes to digital learning.

  112. Paul Sammon says:

    Thanks for all of these supports, some never changing, and some new views of the tried and true, research supported instructional practices.

  113. Stephanie Bassard-Jones says:

    I agree that community building is vital during this uncertain time. Making connections with our students and showing interest in their thoughts and feelings is important. Allowing for open discussions and providing feedback can be beneficial to breaking the ice and promoting great dialogue.

  114. I like how they encourage simplifying/slowing down, and creating art, however, our new course outline for biology is nothing simple but one NGSS standard after another. I pray for grace and patience in this process.

  115. I would like to see effective jigsaws in action. I won’t really know my students until I get work from them so to assign a jigsaw group with experts that will truly work in a break-out room sounds daunting to me.

  116. Helen B. says:

    Good article with a lot of practical information to enhance online teaching. I look forward to using many of the suggestions that Ms. Gonzalez shared to help my students and parents become much more relaxed during this time of online instruction.

  117. Maria Lennon says:

    Good information. Try to keep things simple. Engage students, and keep things interesting. It will be a learning process.

  118. Cathy Babinski says:

    Engage all students and be accepting !

  119. Melanie says:

    I appreciated the explicit explanation of how online instruction should differ from in-person instruction, particularly the stress of building community and connection for the online class and structuring regular and predictable parent communication.

  120. Dolores says:

    This was very useful information for starting the semester. I really like the idea of “campfire groups.” Thank you for giving valuable info and strategies.

  121. Carmelita says:

    As teachers, we must be willing to change, and become innovative in how we reach our students. So, I’m looking forward to engaging the student through online instruction this fall, because it’s forcing me to step out of my comfort zone, improve my computer skills, expand on my expertise as an educator, and make more meaning connections with students, parents, and staff members.

  122. Linda Morrow says:

    This was so very informative and really made me think in a different way of how to present the information, and how to involve the parents as well.

  123. Heidy Aguirre says:

    I think it is very important to build a community create a relationship with your students and parents for them to feel comfortable and have good communication with them.

  124. Nancy Reese-Durham says:

    This was a great article for getting ready to start the school year virtually. I have used jigsaw in a face to face class and discovered how much learning goes on it the activity.

  125. Arnold Estrada says:

    In what ways is online learning and digital pedagogy similar to in-person instruction?

    The material needs to be real. The lesson needs to be addressed and clearly communicated to the students. You still need to get to know your students to build that into the lessons.


    Thank you for giving us tips. . Important to find new and creative ways to get information to students.

  127. James Grasmick says:

    Building relationships and getting students to feel like they matter in this type of learning is important. Even though these things are equally important in the real classroom it is just as important in the digital world

  128. Bonnie Lesperance says:

    I agree that it is important that children learn and that it is not solely based on tests. Small groups and padlet let a teacher know what is going on with the student’s learning progress.

  129. Denise Lee says:

    Very informative. Excellent information to do online teaching successfully.

  130. pattie schumacher says:

    I think the article had good information about our new school year. Gave many tips for not only helping the students adapt to a new way of learning but It also spoke about helping us all with this new way of education. Teachers,staff and parents are also an important part of this process. As we start a new year we must all work together.

  131. Carol Veasey says:

    I found these concepts very useful and can’t wait to start implementing them at the start of the new school year. Thanks so much!

  132. Mary Farrell says:

    The points shared in this article were informative and helpful to navigate this new paradigm of learning.

  133. Leslie Tallon says:

    Thank you.
    I was happy to see both print and video–practicing what you preach
    It is always reassuring to hear what to do instead of O dear, now what should we do.
    Thank you

  134. Kimberly Bocciardi says:

    Article had really good information. Most of the information I am already utilizing, but appreciated the reiteration that face to face time should be active learning.

  135. Routine and predicable place to look for information are important ideas.

  136. What a informative article and video. I got so much learning strategies.

  137. Marylou Lott says:

    Good information shared in this site.

  138. Nancy Robbins says:

    Fantastic article! Makes our digital work much easier to approach and implement.

  139. John Hoglund says:

    Great information thank you! I will be checking out the resources and also Melanie’s website.

  140. Carl says:

    Teachers supporting one another is vital right now. This is new to all of us, and it is important for all to bounce new ideas off one another, give support to and share frustrations with one another. We’re all reading the same book, but each will take away something different.

  141. marilyn Jesrani says:

    The concept of simplifying instruction is really good advice and important.

  142. Jule Vines says:

    Teachers must always create and maintain a safe, orderly, positive, nurturing and collaborative learning environment for a diverse population of student learners.

  143. Lisa says:

    Very informative!

  144. Bonnie says:

    Love all the reminders about building relationships

  145. Robb Morrison says:

    I’m actually quite pleased that our staff seem to be focused on many, if not all of these ‘ways’ of online learning. I’m guessing our school leaders are experts in this area, as much of the material has been the exact guidance they have provided.

  146. Tricia says:

    Very interesting. Since our school has started back already, I see that we as a staff are implementing these concepts into our teaching.

  147. Pam Carpenter says:

    This article was very informative. Our school is implementing a lot of the suggestions and tips that Melanie Kitchen discussed.

  148. Reggie Lucas says:

    These 9 tips for online teaching are great and now I feel better about giving my students quality instruction.

  149. donna munley says:

    dear melanie, this was a great instructional tool for getting started in virtural teaching. the communication, consistent routines, research based instructional strategies were pieces that i already used when i was teaching. adding the digital tools is something i am learning to do. i always used mutilmodal ways for student feedback and really am glad it is being promoted much more now. continuous feedback during student work is essential for their success and confidence to continue to learn and progress. thanks so much for all you do, donna munley

  150. J Abbott says:

    While much of this segment was a review, a reminder of considering the virtual responsibilities and the importance of personalized learning which is more easily developed with in-person learning, was a needed reminder!

  151. Lesley Quinlan says:

    I will try to implement many of the suggestions. I need to slow down and focus on community building. Our team is very good collaborating and sharing resources. I like the jigsaw idea of having the expert students helping other students. I also need to make sure that I slow down my pace and focus on the most important curriculum topics.

  152. I feel so much better after reading Melanie’s tips for successful online learning. Feedback is so important in this environment and it’s nice to know that there are other avenues to do that like Floop which I had not heard of before. This is such a stressful time for all teachers so we need help like this continuously throughout the school year.

  153. Jakob Oram says:

    This instructional tool for online teaching/learning is awesome! I feel more confident about teaching students online now.

  154. D Shreve says:

    I appreciated all the thoughts and great suggestions for this new school year. Not only on how to teach the kids in this new way, but the suggestions for teachers too.

  155. Pooja says:

    The article is very good and had lot of really good information. Thanks for sharing this with us. All the concepts are very useful.

  156. Linda Hines says:

    Enjoyed the 9 tips on on line teaching. Gave me some ideas to try is the classroom.

  157. April Smith says:

    I agree the initial days should prepare student culture in our classrooms. Students should feel confident, comfortable, and welcomed.

  158. Wanda Forrest says:

    I like the article it was great. I agree with getting feedback from parents.

  159. The teaching conversation with Melanie Kitchen was very interesting. I think it’s helpful for the substitutes to understand all the work the teacher has to do to make this online school work for them and the students.

  160. Myron Dove says:

    Was wondering about the assessment piece in online learning. Interesting approach in that feedback is more effective that testing due to the cheating aspect.

  161. N. Kalajian says:

    What a great article, and supporting links! Hope to use many of these ideas! Thanks!

  162. Consistency is key always be clear and consistent, establish routines,

  163. What a great article and so helpful!

  164. Such wonderful comments and so very helpful.

  165. Delfio Delgado says:

    Great information with a lot of things to do. To me, we should take it step by step and learn everything in the process…

  166. Sheila says:

    I appreciate the information. I do agree that this is a challenging time for all and one of the most important things is making sure we connect with parents and make sure we teachers are using a uniformed way for the students to access assignments instead of having multiple instructions in multiple places.

  167. Sophie Dudding says:

    I enjoyed reading about the TQE by Thompson. She explains how to motivate students to lead a discussion on a given text and even though this technique is designed for older students (college level), I believe it helps me guide my third graders lead a discussion. I am hoping that this will help them develop a love for learning.

  168. Heather Wiener says:

    Thank you for the great information!

  169. lisa ellstrom says:

    good interview-easy to understand
    I will start small and gradually do more

  170. Janet says:

    Thanks for the information and I’ve learned a lot.

  171. vpbailey says:

    Very beneficial and encouraging. shows how online learning can worrk

  172. Crhis says:

    Thanks for the information.

  173. Tim wilcox says:

    I really enjoyed this article and it really gives me great insight as to help my students to learn more clearly.

  174. Linda E. Whitley says:

    All the information was a bit overwhelming as a substitute teacher, but would like to delve into all aspects a bit more.

  175. Joan C says:

    This was a very informative and eye opening podcast. I took many notes to remind me of effective and useful practices for remote learning.

  176. Mary Fusco says:

    Thank you… I teach college in an education program and this is very helpful for myself and for them… practical, succinct, infirm.
    I love the way Jennifer pauses the discussion, summarizes asks questions and then goes on.

  177. Beverly Mecum says:

    I like the information from Ms. Kitchen. I do believe it is a lot of information at one time. I will need to process this further.

  178. djhartley says:

    This was a great resource and had lots of beneficial information!

  179. Tina Dimichina says:

    Thank you for the 9 best practices for teaching virtually. It is so important to build social and emotional skills for students, especially at an unprecedented time that we are all experiencing. The insight you provided for educators is simply priceless. As I listened to your podcast, it reminded me of all of the tools we use in the classroom and can be implemented on-line as well. Wonderful job!

  180. Melissa says:

    Everything mentioned in this article is what I feel we have been working on right now.

  181. Aletha says:

    To make sure that this upcoming school year runs smoothly I need to be sure that both student and parents have the skills and knowledge to access classroom assignment and informational materials successful. Communicating with parents, students, and teachers on a constant bases will help with collaboration and me connected to the school environment. Collaborating with colleges will help me feel comfortable with online instruction. In all I want to be consistent in this new environment.

    • Terry Katz says:

      Everything Melanie says makes so much sense! Following her advice should result in keeping students engaged and give parents a clear sense of expectations. Collaboration with parents, other teachers as well as creating collaboration opportunities for students is key to successful learning.

  182. Vanessa Roca says:

    I plan to use Remind as another tool for communicating with my parents in addition to e-mail. This information was very helpful, thank you for all the great information.

    • Lori Ellis-Beard says:

      I really like using Talking Points. This is my first year using it and I find that it is easier than using remind.

  183. Thank You! Very Helpful!

  184. Diane Wood says:

    I enjoyed this article and it really gives me more insight as to helping my students to learn more clearly.

  185. Kerry Sasser says:

    There were numerous helpful points in this article. I feel like communication for online learning is the main point especially for our young learners. If our communication is clear than I feel learning will occur.

  186. Patrice Williams says:

    I totally agree with consistency. Consistency is key. Establishing routines that are clear and consistent is vital in establishing a virtual environment conducive to learning.

  187. Katherine Herrera says:

    Wow, what an important and relative topic! I can’t agree more with everything here, but specifically “content needs to be simplified and slowed down”! I am currently in my 6th week of teaching virtually, and our district is virtual for the foreseeable future (at least for the next semester). So many of my colleagues are frustrated, as it feels like we are being pressured by our administration to maintain a pace akin to what we would use in a traditional classroom environment. The students are overwhelmed, the teachers are frustrated, and it feels like even less is being accomplished by trying to accomplish more. I am definitely going to take this to heart moving forward!

  188. Tamara says:

    Consistency is key and establishing routines that are clear and consistent is vital in establishing a virtual environment conducive to learning.

  189. Melanie Kitchen’s Podcast of 9 Best Practices for Teaching Virtually eloquently explained how “Virtual” & “Face-to-Face” instruction need to be different is some ways and how they must be the same other times to optimize student motivation, participation, & learning. To reach every student’s need to feel connected and appreciated a sense of community needs to be a priority, instructional design with teachers collaborating is essential, face-to-face time should be used for active learning, lessons need to be simplified & slowed down, instructions must be easy to find, explicit, multi model, traditional grading practices need to take a back seat to student’s feedback, and assessment should focus on creation to fully scope all student’s unique skills & talents. Technology indeed is an effective tool, not a means to an end. Being a Substitute Teacher I can be effective in Virtual Learning by having clear & consistent communication, creating explicit & consistent rituals & routines, using research based instructional strategies, and determining whether digital or non-digital tools will be most effective on any given assignment. As teachers focusing on the “Authentic Learning” process & showing the student’s that we have their best interest at heart will give each and every student the opportunity to be their best self.

  190. Articulate and well thought out. Will read and re-read through out the semester.

  191. The information was very helpful. I feel so much better after seeing what other teachers did during virtual learning.

  192. The article is very good and had lot of really good information. Thanks All 9 concepts are very useful. Collaboration with parents, other teachers as well as creating collaboration opportunities for students is key to successful learning.

  193. Kenneth HOLLEY says:

    I really appreciate this article on online teaching and collaborations with parents, students and other teachers. It gives practical steps that guide some boundaries in how to structure the online and hybrid learning. There are many opportunities and tools for our use. We are on as much of a learning curve in some instances as the students. This article reminds us of that. All in all we want our students to lean and be the best they can be. We have a great opportunity. I am glad there are peers who will pioneer this with me. We will get it done. In the end we will make great things happen.

  194. Prenessa Mickens Lowery says:

    Very informative and enlightening!

  195. Richard McManus says:

    Very helpful information to help us navigate through online teaching

    • The article provided some nice strategies for both in-person and virtual synchronous learning. I also appreciated the distinctions that were addressed to differentiate the differences between virtual learning and face-to-face.

  196. This article has some great reminders of what teachers do on a daily basis. It also has great points for just online learning. I like how it states teachers should slow down instruction and figure out what the outcomes of technology lessons are going to be.

  197. YVONNE PETITE says:

    This was an excellent lesson detailing the practical steps and boundaries on how to structure and develop online tools for students and practical instructions on online classroom management.

  198. Benjamin Spells says:

    I appreciated the notion that people arWee first. Build good relationships and means of communicating then taking care of teaching and instruction.
    We need to know how are students are doing, how we are doing and also our peers before we can effectively teach student how what and where we want them to go with respect to their creativity and knowledge.

  199. Aladdin Sharkawi says:

    This is really a great interview concerning such an important different environment of teaching than traditional case.

    Based on this nice talk, many significant points need to be considered during online teaching such as building good communication environment before starting the curriculum in addition to being consistent in the way for sending instructions and receiving feedback from students and parents. On the other hand, many provided tips can be used during on-line teaching design such as small group face to face teaching “fire-camp like” as well as having creative ways for assessment.

    Great speech for such new teaching challenges

  200. Lori Ellis-Beard says:

    This article helped ground me when thinking about grades and lessons and their outcomes. I took a step back when thinking about using all the LMS platforms and websites. I now understand that if I am having difficulty with a website or online assignments, the students will be feeling the same. I really liked how the focus should be on student engagement and learning concepts not becoming a computer whiz.

  201. Dori Barefoot says:

    This is very helpful and important information as we navigate through online learning.

  202. Teresa Fish says:

    This article was very helpful with reminders on how we need to have clear expectations for remote learning as well as the need to keep content simple and slow down

  203. Sonia Arafat says:

    This article was informative and have useful practice for remote learning. Which include how to set boundaries between students/ parents and teachers.

  204. LIsa Holmes says:

    informative. Thanks

  205. Courtney Penland says:

    Great information! It was helpful to hear some familiar and new examples of communication approaches for students and families.

  206. Christopher Howell says:

    This is some useful information. I will be using these tools for online learning.

  207. Christine Boretti says:

    This article was very effective on outlining resources that will assist in presenting materials in an engaging way.

  208. Peggy says:

    I really liked the idea of having students understand why they are doing the assignment. Also requesting feedback on assignments given.

  209. Rhonda Riley says:

    9 Ways provided helpful guidelines to follow when creating your online classroom environment. There is a lot of information provided and simplifies many of the steps.

  210. Teresa Pratt says:

    . The article provides insight into how to reach learners and keep them engaged during online teaching. It also points out the importance of involving parents and communication.

  211. Wayne Dennis says:

    Very informative as it relates to online learning guidelines.


  212. The information presented correlates well with my use of Test-Out for my CompTia IT Fundamentals and Cisco IT Essentials Online Curriculum. Since I am an Computer Engineering Technology Teacher, am already applying most of the concepts presented in this section.

  213. Gloria Mitchell says:

    Good information and ideals. Non-digital learning allows the student to get involve. Communication with children and parents is important. One can measure how a student is obtaining the information. Providing feedback from all individuals. Tradition greeting is a thing of the past. Thinking outside of the box creating creativity.

  214. Thanks for the info on online learning really helps.

  215. Jackie Smith says:

    Great resources! Very informative.

  216. Edward Fuller says:

    It can not be stressed enough that teachers need help through this process as well as students. I think a lot of teachers this year are feeling a bit overwhelmed and we need assistance with this new teaching style that is being thrust upon us.

  217. Shelley McCaslin says:

    Yes, feedback is so important both in Live Meets and on assignments! I love being able to record messages for students on all their work in Seesaw. Its great for my K students who cannot read and so important for them to hear the excitement in my voice.

  218. Sandra Forner says:

    This article is timely and useful

  219. Connie Brayboy says:

    simplicity is best. Clear directs on student submission is good. Using videos,podcast good for grading

  220. Kathy Harrington says:

    Great article! I listened to the podcast of the interview. I thought the information that was discussed was very relevant to our situation now with online learning.

  221. Great article on nine ways to make online learning a success. Communication and collaboration is important especially during remote learning.

  222. Kathleen Little says:

    This article has some great insight.

  223. Desadra Leonard says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast. I really enjoyed how they explained the differences between online learning and face to face.

  224. Stacey Hall says:

    Great information about how to effectively use online teaching in several different ways. I assumed all instruction was done face to face but now I see the importance of using multiple options to keep kids engaged

  225. Ginny L Queen says:

    This was an excellent article.

  226. Kristi says:

    Informative article. Great read!

  227. Great information on building communication for remote learning.

  228. Caroline says:

    I actually receive your mailings personally and they have helped a LOT! Thanks!

  229. Joanne Eastwood says:

    Thank you for the excellent info.

  230. Excellent information! Definitely liked the blended learning and remote learning differentiating. Especially the community building!

  231. Kim Kuhn says:

    I am enjoying the valuable attachments that can be referred to again even under typical school day situations.

  232. Michelle Dunbar says:

    This article was excellent .Communication and having different resources can be very helpful with remote learning.

  233. Denise Hollis says:

    I really enjoyed this article and it really gives me great insight as to help my 8th grade ELA students to learn more clearly and effectively.

  234. Terri Anschutz says:

    Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful and student-focused article. I loved your focus on synchronous learning for student engagement and group work and asynchronous learning for direct instruction. What do you recommend for structuring synchronous learning groups during the instructional day when you have limited staff and elementary-school students? Maybe rotating student groups between synchronous and asynchronous learning stations? Thank you again.

    • Hi Terry,
      This will look different depending on the age and abilities of the elementary students, but I think station rotation could be effective in this situation. A LOT of modeling will be necessary, but elementary teachers often use stations in their classrooms and generally have great modeling of routines already in place.

  235. Chelsea Belizaire says:

    This made me realize that I am using some of these strategies, but the reason I am not seeing the results I would like is because I am not truly understanding the purpose of the strategy. For example, I have been using predict, notice, and wonder often as a strategy when I introduce a new concept. After reading that this is a way to build habits of thinking, I realize that my follow up steps to using this thinking routine need to be more intentional so students are able to make more connections as to the activating activity and the exploration and explanation portions of the lesson.

  236. LillianKatrina Monroe says:

    This article was very informative and insightful. I was impressed with the first three mentions being centered around building community with students, parents, and colleagues. Some people lose sight and focus solely on planning and instruction. However, those help drive effective planning and instruction.

    • Angela Hardeman says:

      Well said! The first steps should be to build a community with all of the stakeholders (students, parents, and colleagues). When we all share a common purpose and understanding, planning and instruction will be better; most importantly, students will be more apt to learn (with the support of their parents and teachers).

    • Samantha Vickery says:

      I agree with you Ms. Monroe! It is important that we put students first. I think that is even more important in an online environment to ensure that we still build a positive classroom community. I like that the article puts an emphasis on building a relationship first!

  237. Trinecia Ward says:

    I love every aspect of this article. I believe that we must build community first in the online classroom. I think it is also important to take the time to really slow down and focus on the big ideas and concepts that will have the biggest impact on learning. Parent communication is another important point. You must leverage parent support for the purpose of helping young learners navigate the online learning environment.

  238. Maren says:

    This article was amazing and very insightful. So many great ideas that can help teachers and subs like myself!

  239. This article is very practical and informative that provides many tips for online teaching strategy. I think the online teaching content does need to be simple and clear for student to follow. The grading system should include student’s feedback and writing report instead of just a testing score.

  240. Angela Hardeman says:

    This was very timely. Most school districts are using online learning as the sole means of learning for their students. All your points are valid, and I can’t wait to share all of them with my colleagues.

  241. Celia A. says:

    Three takeaways from your blogpost that I found to be helpful:
    1. Provide technology training for parents.
    I found that parents need the technology training just as much as the students did. Think about it, I also needed training myself on how to use all the platforms. It took some time, but the students are now comfortable using Google Classroom and the entire suite of products.

    2. Teacher Collaboration
    Now, more than ever, it is important to collaborate with other teachers; cross-content too. Don’t limit to just the technology portion.

    3. Incentives
    Also include digital incentives. Just because students are learning digitally doesn’t mean that they don’t seek out incentives/rewards.
    Class Dojo,etc.

  242. Kela Jones says:

    This was a very helpful read/ interview, we truly need to have a different mindset in order to teach virtually. I love that the first thing mentioned was the importance of community building, this expect is easily lost in the virtual classroom. Communication is a key to the success of students, parents must be an active part especially in the virtual environment.

  243. What a great article. It was very student-focused. I walked away with immediate tips to use. I enjoyed how you distinguished the time allotments for some online activities and acknowledged that online needs to go at a slower pace for so many reasons. I have found that with the students that I teach and realize that students require more feedback in the environment.

  244. Melanie Hooley says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. At this time, the district I teach in is 100% virtual with the hopes to return to some type of face to face in January. I am very interested in your discussion ideas. I look forward to exploring your site more in the future. The ideas are clear and concise and give me so many ideas to use in my virtual classroom.

  245. Katrina Paggett says:

    I truly enjoyed this article! I think it is critical to spend time supporting SEL at the beginning of the school year and throughout the year. I also agree content should be streamlined and there should be consistent and clear communication with parents. I am a HUGE supporter of teacher collaboration/ teacher efficacy and I truly believe it is key to implementing online teaching successfully. Finally, I LOVE the comment “Technology is a TOOL, not a learning outcome.” Thanks so much for sharing a wealth of information!

  246. Mable Jefferys says:

    This article was very informative and gave me vital information that will help me learn my students on a deep level.

  247. Eddie Johnson says:

    You are spot on with #1. Building community was a big emphasis in our school. In the Spring (when the pandemic first happened), all of the teachers had built community and the strength of that community made for a relatively smooth transition for many teachers. In contrast to this school year, the sense of community we enjoyed in the Spring was built in person. Building a community virtually is a completely different ball game. One thing our teachers have done since day one this year is morning meeting using the Responsive Classroom format. It has helped to have set time daily to connect with students.

  248. Brittany Stewart says:

    This is such timely article. It really brings the simplicity back to teaching. Focusing on building classroom culture “rituals and routines” helps establish the connections and expectations not only the students have with their instructor but with each other. A lot of the points are interconnected, once you establish and build community the work that you do through the steps after this is just a reflection of the community you built.

  249. Joan Hopton says:

    Very good information. As a substitute teacher I received a better perspective why lessons and it’s layout for instructions must be followed.

  250. Winifred Koebert says:

    Very interesting – This new technology is challenging to all but the way of the future. Keeping parents and students updated on the weekly assignments is crucial in making this virtual world work. I agree that grading will be different from the traditional ways and that cheating is easy but we as teachers/paraprofessionals need to think up creative ways to meet the challenging needs of the material covered in order to assess how the students are progressing.

  251. Humberto Lizarraga says:

    Great information! Lots of reinforcement of what we are doing and new insights.

  252. Heidi ilie says:

    I really like the idea of campfire groups. It gives the kids more time to get to know the same kids and it saves a lot of time on creating groups in Google Meet. Thanks.

  253. Annie says:

    This post compiled everything I am learning and observing into one convenient place. Community building and communication are so important and the slower instruction is a great way to practice understanding in your classroom. We are all experiencing hardships and knowing that teachers are being kind and purposeful with their teaching is a great way to support students. I will definitely be bookmarking this blog for future use!

  254. Bob Thompson says:

    I like the idea of building digital literacy first because both students and teachers can be easily frustrated when things don’t run smoothly. It’s important to have a sense of community with students as we are really learning together! 🙂

  255. Sarah Tominna says:

    I feel that teacher collaboration is very important. Online learning is easier when we work together. Why reinvent the wheel? This will make for less frustration and save more time.

  256. Robert Thompson says:

    I agree that establishing digital literacy in the first few weeks of instruction is vital. This can reduce a lot of confusion for the students and help teachers anticipate problems that could arise during online instruction.

  257. Katherine Aldred says:

    I left the classroom to retire ten years ago but have stayed active in the education community by subbing in middle and high schools. I have found that allowing students virtual rights in the classroom gives them learning ways which cooperate with their everyday lives. Collaboration between teachers further facilities understanding for both the teacher who is learning how to incorporate digital into the classroom, and the somewhat more seasoned teacher who learns daily from those around her.

  258. Natalie J Chun says:

    I am fresh to this new distance learning. The expression from this digital learning will allow all teachers to expand to opening up to ways of utilizing and enhance the grading system based off the assignment at hand. The idea to create is all up to the teacher and the strategies thats presented

  259. Very informative article with basic, simple info we all need. Great suggestions for using other tools also.
    Its a keeper which should be referred to again and again.

    • Very informative and timely article with basic information we all need at this time. Great suggestions for using other tools as well.
      This article is a “keeper”.

  260. Marti Brunski says:

    Love this article, lots of great information! I like the different areas to discuss what needs to happen in online learning.

  261. Priscilla Weber says:

    The article was helpful and good points especially for a long term sub. It’s a keeper

  262. Connie Brewer says:

    As a retired teacher who has gone back into the classroom, these articles are very enlightening. I am more of a resource for current teachers to use, and these many wonderful ideas and strategies will be helpful in helping them and their students.

  263. Carmen says:

    Helpful discussion on what changes and what stays the same.

  264. Christine Williams says:

    Since online learning is quickly developing into the educational model for the future the information was eye opening and invaluable.

  265. Megan Clawson says:

    I love the idea of using online learning to promote deeper thinking and learning. Also raising awareness for better use of online learning to benefit the student.

  266. Sharon says:

    This content was informative and helpful in remote teaching.

  267. Violet says:

    Thank you for sharing such insightful information.

  268. Linda D says:

    Excellent ideas for remote learning and teacher guidance. Creating learner desire to be engaged and explore are key to knowledge attainment and retention. Love the ideas.

  269. Jana Bernhardt says:

    Even as we go back to “normal” teaching I think these reminders about how technology should be used within our classroom are vitally important. We will all have some version of asynchronous learning or flipped classrooms as we move forward and these apply as much now as they did when we were all teaching remotely/hybrid/etc.
    Thanks for the good read (again – since I saw this last year too!).

  270. Sophia Catchings says:

    This article gives great information regarding online instruction. I think this past school year would’ve been less stressful if I had resources such as this prior to conducting full-time online lessons. Most practices suggested by Ms. Kitchen were performed, some without a clear understanding of why, but this article gives clarification on the strategies and their implementations.

  271. Sarah Morgan says:

    Wow! Such a wealth of information all in one place, with links to even more. I feel like almost all of the ways that online learning should look different probably shouldn’t be different… they should be incorporated into the brick and mortar classroom because, let’s face it, that needs to look different than it typically does! I particularly like the suggestion of having kids MAKE something to demonstrate their learning – along with the resources for what that might look like. Thanks for all the ideas and resources!

  272. Marny Murovitz says:

    I also think it’s super important to establish a sense of community before diving into curriculum. It makes student engagement and collaboration much easier.

  273. Aroneysa Braxton-Harris says:

    I truly enjoyed reading this article. At the beginning of the pandemic, most teachers were thrust into online teaching with little or no training. Reading this article has given me some great ideas and concepts that I plan to incorporate into my classes next year such as building my community with the students, parents, and co-workers. I loved the practical steps to set some boundaries in how to structure online or hybrid learning. I agree with using the asynchronous time to research and obtain facts and the synchronous time for deeper dives into the course content and more student engagement. I also agree with the information you shared on how technology should be used in our virtual classroom. I totally support flipping the classroom.
    Thank you for sharing your amazing insight.

  274. Rondalene Wright says:

    I enjoyed this article. The author suggests that educators understand that there should always be active learning. Students should feel connected to what they are learning and enjoy the learning experience. There are times when they need to have some form of social interaction. Parents can play a role in their learning by reinforcing the content that was covered in the classroom.

    When teachers need to collaborate, they should use that time to share ideas and different strategies that worked for them. Content should always match the students’ abilities. According to Gonzalez (2020), when content does not match ability, students can become unmotivated to learn. Teachers should make sure that students understand the material and that they provide feedback in a timely manner. Teachers should also allow students to demonstrate what they have learned using creative approaches.

  275. Thank you for sharing your insight on the 9 ways online teaching should be different from face to face. The pointers you provided were very practical and student focused. I really like the idea of students producing projects or products to demonstrate their mastery of the content. In an ideal world, it would be great if more traditional end of course grading could be replaced with student projects and/or products. I think our students would be more engaged and take more ownership of their learning.

  276. Dyann Ryans says:

    This was very informative. I especially liked the information on SEL.

  277. Ann Van Loo says:

    I agree with not starting with the course content right away. You need to teach the students about your platform, expectations and getting to know each other (just like in a face-to-face classroom). I also learned some great ideas for my new endeavors.

  278. Dr. Mariah Buchanan says:

    Listening to what you had to say about the difference in online teaching and face to face, I got a lot out it. I believe that making sure you connect with your students is very important. Creating a community and also helping the students to know that they are cared about will help them want to learn more and with better ease. Thank you for sharing with us.

  279. Therese Riza-Lawrence says:

    I love that expectations remain clear and concise, despite if the learning platform is face to face or virtual. I find that it is really important for communication and expectations to be transparent and consistent. Students respond well to structure that is predictable.

  280. Ayanna Thompson says:

    This is a great read, Ms. Gonzalez. In particular, the first two points caught my attention the most. It can be easy to assume that everyone has similar starting points in an online setting. In reality, however, we are all at different places. This is an incredibly important aspect to consider when teaching online. Not only do we need to ensure that our content is rich and worth our students’ time and energy but we also must ensure that the platforms and portals that we are utilizing do not create barriers of entry that can obstruct learning. This leads me to your point on spending significant time at the beginning of the school year building community. Not only is this HUGE, but it also provides us the necessary time to ensure that everyone (students and guardians) are comfortable with the technologies we will be using and troubleshoot if necessary. Thanks so much to you and Ms. Kitchen for this insightful read.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:


      I am so glad that you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! I will be sure to share your comments with Jenn.

    • Vidya says:

      Thank you for this information. So many problems are faced in this situation. But we are taking this as a challenge.

  281. I loved reading your views on online teaching. Feedback makes the difference in online teaching and provides students with more than just a grade. I believe that making a connection with the community is most important as well.

    Thank you for sharing.

  282. Vanessa Gittens says:

    Thank you so much for these super tips on Online Teaching!! It is definitely daunting going back into the classroom after the Pandemic and not knowing what to expect. Teaching both virtually and in person simultaneously was so challenging!! This was a great article on some simple ways to go back to “normal” teaching, while still incorporating all of the new virtual teaching skills we have learned this past year!!

  283. Thank you for sharing your insight; the first point that stood out to me was #1, the first weeks of school should be devoted to community building and digital competency. I couldn’t agree with you more. All too often, teachers, myself included, are forced into teaching the curriculum day one. To be honest, I have already scheduled plans to start day two so that I can at least go over rituals and routines on the first day of school. This summer, teachers focused on creating a curriculum map that has teachers beginning the curriculum the first day of school. I am hoping we can all come to an agreement that developing rapport and establishing a positive environment conducive for learning is more important to create at least for the first week.

    The second point that caught my attention is #6, content needs to be simplified and slowed down. In my experience, I have found that our superiors are more concerned about staying on point with the pacing guide regardless of mastery to prevent from being scolded by their superiors at the district level. Continuing to push through content for fear of backlash means nothing if the students are not demonstrating mastery. We, generally speaking, really need to slow down and be more intentional about finding and using the right resources and strategies to ensure students are mastering the learning targets.

    Again, thank you for your insight; I have saved this information and will share with my PLC this school year.

  284. Victoria B. Mallison says:

    The article was very interesting. It really helped me to understand digital tools. I got lots of ideas about how to handle online learning. I am ready to explore all possibilities.

  285. Shaun Johnson says:

    I agreed with all components of this article. It is very important to establish community when teaching online. Building and establishing relationships is the key to ensuring the lines of communication are not crossed or blurred. Parents and students need to make a connection to the educator. Pacing is also the key. Instruction should be clear and paced correctly, so that the students are not confused my the bells and whistles of online learning. It’s harder to read the room from the screen, so online educators will need to assess students often to ensure mastery or the progression towards mastery occurs.

  286. LaSaharon McClain says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. I agree that good teaching is good teaching regardless of the teaching environment. It is important to remember that as we implement online teaching there are some practices that occur in face-to-face teaching that should stay the same in online teaching.

  287. This article really made me feel better about what I was doing in my virtual classroom (Padlet, using one platform for communication, Remind, and more) and gave me great suggestions on what to add.

    Thank You 😊

  288. Sheila C Geyer says:

    I really enjoyed this article. As teachers, there is always something we can improve with our teaching. With virtual teaching I am constantly trying out things to see if they work. After reading this article, I took what I did not know but with some things I am doing now. For example, Padlet, Nearpod and etc. Thank you for the information.

  289. Nadine McQueen Campbell says:

    This article provided great ideas for those of us who are currently engaged in teaching and learning in an online setting. I especially like the information that addresses teaching the technology, explicitly, before diving into the content. With content so vast, it is difficult for us to carve out the ‘instructional’ time to do so. The question that comes into my mind is how can we as educators pre-emptively teach the technology in order to maximize instructional time/pacing?

    Great ideas centered around communication with all stakeholders. This is critical, more than ever, in a virtual space for students in elementary grades.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Nadine, I agree that these transitions would flow more easily when students possess the technological pre-requisite skills. Knowing this, we are reminded to integrate technology into our regular units as often as possible. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  290. I have taken copious notes on this podcast. As a virtual teacher I thought that it was very important to listen to all available resources that could benefit my students. I was very pleased to find that my district in GA stresses several of the points you made. For example, as a whole, our district uses Remind. It has purchased a subscription for every teacher and expects the teachers to utilize Remind as the “go to” app for communicating with their parents. Also, my district uses Microsoft TEAMS and itsLearning. All students Pre-K through 12th grade in public school use the same platform. Thank you so much for your blog. I look forward to more episodes.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Rebekah, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with these communication platforms!

    • E.F. says:

      I also work for Cobb County in Georgia and am so happy that we now have one location where parents can go to and find almost everything they need to communicate with staff, and also view their students’ assignments. We are presently using the CTLS platform and Microsoft Teams as the one stop shop. In the beginning, it was very important to designate some time to building community and learning how to navigate the apps/platforms to be used for synchronous and asynchronous learning. The podcast is very useful, and I plan on referring back to it for ideas moving forward.

  291. Liza Rowan says:

    I found this article very informative and substantial. It gave me several new ideas to think about as I actively engage with my online class. I especially liked the idea of utilizing several modes of communication. One stable mode is good, but adding a few others helps immensely in reaching the students and parents in my class. I found the introduction also helpful. This year, I was able to do that but I like your ideas about community building and digital citizenship being the basis for the rest of the learning throughout the year.

  292. Rhonda Davidson says:

    I really liked reading over your article. I liked how you correlated online teaching with face to face teaching. Two things that I am taking away from this are how important communication is with students and parents and how important it is to make sure that all of the communication is very clear. I loved the Jigsaw method of teaching. Thank you for all of your insight.

  293. Stephanie Vasquez says:

    Excellent information! I can’t wait to share with my collaborative team.

  294. Patsy K. says:

    Thank you for sharing such valuable supports for online teaching.

  295. Matthew Lawrence says:

    Hi, Jennifer–I enjoyed the article. I am certainly going to take your advice about spending the first days of class engaged in social emotional skills and community building. During my brief time as an all-virtual teacher, I didn’t do any of that, I think my practice suffered.

    Also: you made a statement that I want to ask you about. You write, “Online instruction is not conducive to covering large amounts of content, so you have to choose wisely, teaching the most important things at a slower pace.”

    I teach US History, which is an EOC course, and it requires that I cover a massive amount of material in a relatively short amount of time. I can’t cherry pick the important things, but I don’t have any way of knowing what is going to be on the test. What is your advice for a teacher like me?


    -Matt Lawrence

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Matt, I agree that it can be challenging to determine what to focus on when everything seems important- and your situation sounds particularly difficult! When I had to teach virtually in spring 2020, I attempted to cover the same material that I would have normally taught, and it was a near disaster. For the 2020-2021 school year, I chose priority standards, considering not only my grade, but the level above, thereby ensuring that students would move to the next grade with at least a foundational understanding of the major concepts.

      I also recommend going back to the post and scrolling down to section 6 – see if any of the ideas in the bulleted list are helpful. And in section 7, there’s a link to our dogfooding article, which is a process that can help ensure your assignments are manageable, combining skills and content in each task, and putting emphasis on frequent feedback.

      I’d also recommend using the jigsaw method, flipping the assigned reading to homework, and using multi-modal means of content delivery so the material becomes accessible and digestible.

      Essentially, use any and all strategies you can employ to get the most bang for your buck so that your time and their time is maximized. For example, check out Jenn’s post: To Boost Higher-Order Thinking, Try Curation – it’s a simple teaching strategy to implement while requiring deeper thinking. Hope this helps!

  296. Trina Almeda says:

    I appreciate the points made in this article. In particular, the graphic at the end that demonstrates the notion of technology being a “tool” rather than an “outcome” is an important distinction to make. We do not want to get caught up on the wrong focus!

  297. Nicole Bernard says:

    One of the most meaningful things mentioned in this article to me was the idea that summative assessment should be focused on creation building. Not only does this help with cheating or students receiving too much support from family member etc. It helps to ensure that students have a depth of knowledge and understanding of a subject. In order to apply knowledge to a project, students need to have a working knowledge of the material. The project will reflect their level of understanding, effort and engagement with the material.

  298. Latauisha Willis says:

    Great article! My “aha” moment was teaching community and technology competency when school begins. Over a year ago teachers were just thrown into online teaching and struggled themselves with online teaching. Then the next school term my district created a new online teaching platform that teachers had to learn 2 weeks before school started which sent teachers into another frenzy. Teachers could not focus on training students because they were too busy learning a new system. So along the way the focus became how to use technology instead of learning the content. I will definitely teach technology competency first if given chance to plan ahead of time. It will definitely save time, frustrations and technology struggles. Teaching will be much smoother as teachers focus on content during lessons instead of training how to use technology.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Latauisha, I can relate about the technology competency issue! Thankfully, there are many educators helping us navigate these tools. If you haven’t checked out 6 Ed Tech Tools To Try in 2021 I highly recommend it!

  299. S.M, says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. You shared several ways online teaching should be different than face-to-face teaching. One of the ways I found informative for teaching online is to build community and digital competency in the first few weeks of school. We can’t expect students to understand and become successful with their online learning if we don’t spend the time modeling and encouraging community building or understanding how to work the online program/ platform you are using.

    Another way online teaching is different which stood out to me is that the face to face instruction should be active and the summative assessment should focus on students creating things. When I was teaching online, I found that small group instruction was more engaging and productive than the whole group instruction. I feel small group instruction also helped build our community. Having students create things for assessments will truly show what they know and will enhance student engagement.

  300. Belinda Smith says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I really liked your comment on collaboration “Meeting the challenges of online learning gets easier when we work together.” This being my first year working in a 100% online school, I have definitely learned that I could not do this without my learning communities (science team and SPED team).

  301. Paulette Allard says:

    Thanks for sharing. I like picking up tidbits of info to make my online teaching more engaging whenever possible. Every little bit helps.

  302. Althia Horton says:

    I enjoyed the article. Thank you for all the links to resources. I found everything helpful and enlightening. I will follow your podcast.

  303. Donna Marsh says:

    This is an AWESOME podcast. The strategies and resources I obtained are valuable. I only wish I had this information prior to COVID-19.
    Thank for all you do!

  304. Phoebe Harrington says:

    Thank you for this helpful information and insight! I agree that initial communication is crucial to student success. Also, simplifying content (less ‘busy’ work) makes sense with online learning and using digital and non digital tools to tackle that standard based content. I agree that students should have the option to do things by hand, rather than 100% digital…getting away from the screen for a bit is a good thing.

  305. Carol Brown says:

    This was an excellent article. I like the broke down of how online learning/teaching should look during community building, communication, and instructional design. I, especially, found # 7 (Instructions) quite useful. I will be implementing these tools when providing instructions for my online students in the future.

  306. Brian Lewis says:

    I really enjoyed your perspective in your research. I really like the focus of grading to be more to the feedback that traditional grading.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thanks, Brian. I’ll be sure to pass your comments along to Jenn.

  307. Michael Tydings says:

    This article is loaded with great stuff. It took me too long to read it because I kept on clicking other links: Dogfooding (while I’m not going to try my dog’s food because I know he already likes it, I definitely need to start taking my own assessments) and single point rubrics were my favorites. Thank you for sharing!

  308. Miles Price says:

    I agree with item #9 that “SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT SHOULD FOCUS ON CREATION.” My co-teachers and I have started utilizing Flipgrid as a tool for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in each unit by teaching any concept from the current unit. This gives students the flexibility to use their higher order thinking skills and the ability to choose what topic they want to teach the class about. Students know that their video could be randomly chosen to present to the entire class, and they’re given a rubric to help them meet our teacher expectations for video presentations. So, I believe that we’re not only teaching them Math standards, but we’re also preparing them for a future of doing virtual presentations that need to be clear and concise.

  309. I love that your first tip focuses on not only community building but also digital competency. I agree that it is imperative that we spend time showing students how to use the technology tools that they will be using to complete assignments and assessments. Taking the time to do this at the beginning of each semester will help decrease the amount of frustration felt by all stakeholders (i.e. instructor, students, and parents.)

  310. N. Emmert says:

    I am new to standards-based grading & am excited to give your new variation of the Single Point Rubric a try. I loved reading all of your tips for engaging students (especially with the campfire groups & suggestions for small group discussions.) ~Nicole Emmert

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      So glad you found some helpful strategies here, Nicole! I’ll be sure to pass on your comments to Jenn.

  311. Judy O'Neal says:

    I didn’t know there was a technical word for what I was doing called “dogfooding.” I find that it is important to run through the lesson from the viewpoint of the student and workout any glitches within the lesson. I enjoyed reading the article and found it to be very helpful.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Glad you found the article helpful, Judy! Jenn will be happy to hear it.

  312. Sandra Logan says:

    It is refreshing to acknowledge that teaching online is not the same as teaching face to face. I think the biggest takeaway for me is having asynchronous time for class sessions and changing the way we are conducting assessments. Thank you.

  313. Mary Nelson says:

    I love the final chart. It is such a crystal clear reminder that tech tool are not tools in and of themselves. They are vehicles for active thinking, problem solving, and creative thinking. I love that reminder.

  314. Gini Morgan says:

    Single point rubrics! Yes!

  315. I truly enjoyed this article, it was nice to see that some of the strategies mentioned I already had in place virtually and in-person. I play music every morning and students have jobs in my classroom because I teach them it takes All of us together to have a great classroom environment.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thanks for sharing, Danesha! Jenn will be happy to hear that the post was helpful for you.

  316. Sharelle says:

    Great interview!

  317. I JUST love your web site! I have gotten so many good ideas for my teaching through it. I work with ESOL parents and students and you have so much information on that! It is so useful.
    In regards to this article it just amazes me how much technology we can now use to help ESOL kids and parents.
    I do find it true that collaboration between staff is more important than ever, especially with all the emotional situations that are going all around the classrooms.
    Thank you Jennifer for your posts. I always learn something!

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      So glad you feel this way, Sandra- I’ll be make sure Jenn sees your message!

  318. Deonte Moore says:

    Loved your ideas thank you very much!

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Deonte, we’re so glad you’re enjoying and finding value in our resources!

  319. Kim McCarter says:

    Thank you so much for your excellent article (and the very helpful links you provided to other resources!). It was great to read a succinct (and spot-on) list that clearly articulates similarities and differences. I found your commentary very reassuring as you reaffirmed many of the changes I made when my district moved from F2F to online. Of course, many of the changes I made were a result of mistakes and lessons I learned the hard way, but your article confirms that, ultimately, I made appropriate adjustments. You gave me confidence that I am on the right track. Thank you!

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Kim, we’re glad you found this post useful. Best of luck to you in the rest of your school year!

  320. Dr. Sandra Fingall says:

    I truly enjoyed this interview. As a student of Instructional Design for Online Learning, I agree with much of what was presented. The idea of creation for assessment has always been my choice as a CTAE teacher. In creation students are in the application quadrant and are naturally more engaged.
    Thanks again for an awesome interview.

  321. Matt Burrell says:

    Great information! I agree that making that connection with students and focusing on social/emotional needs in the beginning sets a strong foundation and is well worth the time invested!

  322. Julie Walsh says:

    Thank you so much for the engaging article! I felt some validation for things my team and I did during online learning and particularly enjoyed the SEL connections.

  323. Ben Dedwylder says:

    I enjoyed your article very much. I connected to the need for communication with students’ families to be thorough, streamlined, and predictable. My school uses School Status, and I have found it to be an invaluable tool for communicating with parents. I like that it keeps records of dates and times of communications. I also connected with the importance of peer collaborations for online learning situations. My communication with other teachers provides insight into strategies that work for them that can be adapted for my own purposes. Your article extended my thinking about the important first few weeks of school. Time spent building community and developing digital competency will truly pay off throughout the school year. This strategy will help my students and their families to better understand my expectations and procedures. Your insight into assessment was great. I like the idea of student-created authentic assessments. This is a great way to encourage higher order thinking skills. The challenges I face with online teaching are areas in which I need to gain competence. The use of online grouping is one area I need to improve. Another area is my own lack of knowledge of the possibilities that are available for encouraging communication between learners with each other and myself. I am dedicated to conquering this challenge in the near future.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Ben! Jenn will be happy to know how much you enjoyed her article.

  324. Marcie Williams says:

    I think education is changing/evolving everyday. As a virtual teacher, I am teaching at a slower pace. It seems to take the students longer to “follow directions” (some issues are technology related). I do agree that the first few weeks of school is the most critical for building relationships with students and families. Having parents as teaching partners is vital in the virtual world. Communication is KEY! Great article, thank you!

  325. Marlene Michael says:

    This article was so helpful for those like me who are transitioning their mindset to teaching online. You made so many valid points that I hadn’t considered and I am going to put them into practice. Communication with parents particularly resonated with me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight with us!

  326. Tenise Starre says:

    This article is a jewel to have discovered. So many ideas were on point and I loved the additional links to gain more information on how to practically use the ideas presented. I bookmarked several so I can reference and learn from later.

  327. Tania Pachuta says:

    Loved this article and how it focused on 9 simple points and linked to additional resources for everything mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

  328. Catherine Jacobs says:

    This podcast/blog brings to light some very important points to include:
    Establishing consistency and predictability with information sharing and communication between students, parents and other key stakeholders. Parents and students alike need to understand how to access and share information to ensure that they are successful in the online platform. Parents cannot be as effective in supporting their child/children in the online platform if they aren’t familiar with the ins/outs of it.
    Setting boundaries is also mentioned to safeguard your own time as a teacher, as well as provide parents and students with appropriate ways to communicate, and know how to access help when needed both during class time and after hours (help with homework, missing work, questions about assignments, grades, as well as technical issues).
    I also like how it mentions making communication “multimodal” as everyone has a preference in the way the send/receive information. We want to ensure that everyone can choose a format that is a best fit for them.
    The blog mentions the importance of staying connected with other teachers, colleagues, and administrators to as ways to gauge how you are doing professionally as well as personally.
    Several key points about effectiveness of instruction ensuring that you’re appropriately using instructional time synchronously and asynchronously to promote student success in learning and retaining what they have learned.
    The statement, “Content should be simplified and slowed down” is paramount in the online learning environment. I like going through the standards with each unit and evaluating what exactly students need to learn and then ensuring that instructional strategies are focused on what students need to know and not filled with frivolous activities. Our lessons should be intentional.
    I like the point of focusing on effective and appropriate feedback and not so much “grading” assignments and that assessments should include creativity (students should demonstrate what they have learned in ways that require them to actively engage in higher order thinking to develop a plan, implement it, and show you what they have learned rather than regurgitating something they have memorized.
    Truly enjoyed your podcast/blog and look forward to listening/reading more of them.


    Catherine Jacobs
    Middle School Science/Special Education Teacher
    GIVE West, Norcross, GA

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thank you for this thoughtful response, Catherine! We’re so glad you enjoyed the post.

  329. Denise Feinstein says:

    Community building is essential for online teaching. Students, parents, and tutors must feel that they belong in the “classroom.” The group must develop a level of trust and a willingness to accept the online classroom as a safe place. Thank you for sharing the other sources for information. I will continue to engage and learn best practices for online learning.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Let us know if we can offer any support in the future!

  330. Kimberly Rush- Idigo says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I learned a lot. You detailed the 9 steps perfectly. The embedded links were very helpful because I was able to completely grasp the concept. I will be focusing on some of these strategies going forward.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Jenn will be so glad to know that you found the post helpful, Kimberly!

  331. Christen Melton says:

    Thank you for writing this article. The two points that particularly resonated with me were that “content needs to be simplified and slowed down” and that “traditional grading should take a backseat to providing feedback.” These are things I really struggled with when I was thrown into virtual instruction, and it is very validating to read that these are not only okay, but necessary for effective online teaching. I bookmarked several links throughout the article, and I look forward to utilizing these resources in my own classroom.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Christen! Jenn will be so glad to know that the post was helpful for you.

  332. Annika Sterling says:

    This article provided quite a few valuable points for teachers in the virtual world. Communication with parents is absolutely important in order to ensure parents are constantly aware of classroom activities or expectations. Thanks for sharing this resource!

  333. Gina Young-Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing. I agree with slowing down the pace and having students completing a product for a summative assessment is a good advise.

  334. Lakeisha Grange says:

    I strongly agree that the first week of school should be devoted to building strong relationships with students and developing students’ digital competency. Students will be inclined to participate in the lessons if they know that they are in a safe learning environment. Also, helping students navigate through the LMS will make them better equipped to function in the course. Thanks for sharing!

  335. J. Alford says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I am currently going through an endorsement course to be better prepared for online teaching and your insight has been invaluable in building my understanding of what some strategies that I can use.

  336. Mary Floyd says:

    I was especially gratified to see your suggestion that parents need to be taught how to use the technology. During our remote learning, I found many of my student’s parents did not know where to begin, much less be able to help their student. Thank you for a great interview!

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Jenn will be glad to know that you found the interview helpful, Mary!

  337. D'Andrea Wright says:

    I am currently taking a course for online teaching and this blog was very helpful in helping me frame how I can do this to the best of my ability.

  338. Nathan Butler says:

    Having taught for our county’s online program full-time for nearly 9 years, I think there’s often a lot of uncertainty for students, parents, and even colleagues on exactly what it is that we do and how it’s not the kind of haphazard approach to online learning as what so many places in the country were forced into during COVID-19 shutdowns. This might make a nice introductory item for new teachers coming into the online space to help them understand how their world as teachers is about to change if they make that jump.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Nathan, Jenn will be glad to know that you found value in this post. I’ve been a virtual teacher since 2012, and I agree with you that people still experience so much uncertainty when thinking about online learning. Please feel free to share this post with colleagues and any teachers you know who are considering a shift to virtual!

  339. Ann Marie Girard says:

    This article was very enlightening. I loved how you shared the tips for online teaching. I really enjoyed reading about dogfooding and how technology is a tool not an outcome. I look forward to reading and learning more from you.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Glad you found the post helpful, Ann Marie!

  340. Lindsay Rock says:

    I teach for an online school in Atlanta, GA and we practice many of the things you mentioned. Building relationships is a big one for me. I liked what you said about communication; I send an email at the same time every Monday and Friday to both parents and students to let them know what is going on/has gone on for the week. Feedback on assignments is also a big deal at my school, even for students who make 90+ on things.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Hi Lindsay,

      Knowing how challenging as online education can be, it’s good to hear that some of the same best practices we use in the classroom transfer to the virtual classroom! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jill L Reiter says:

      I appreciate that you highlighted the importance of providing feedback, even for high-achieving students. Feedback is not just about pointing out areas for improvement; it’s also a way to acknowledge and celebrate their successes. Offering feedback to all students, regardless of their grades, reinforces a growth mindset and shows that you care about their learning journey. It’s an effective way to motivate students to strive for continuous improvement.

  341. Briar Schmitz says:

    Great Article! I learned more about things I am already doing and things about strategies I need to be doing better at in my synchronous virtual classroom.

  342. I. Braimah says:

    This article was extremely informative. Thank you for sharing.

  343. Ashley Doherty says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Communication and community building are so important in online teaching!

  344. Flavia V. says:

    It seems to me that this article assumes an asynchronous environment, which is the way our program is set up. It’s feels so good to see that we’re already implementing many of the suggestions here! How would we handle the first few weeks of online “initiation” when kids are taking courses for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th+ time? Perhaps the “module” could be “tested out of?”

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Hi Flavia,

      I agree, it does makes sense to assess students on what they know and can already do at the beginning of the year. They might be able to test out of some tasks or lessons and save some time in the process. I’d still make sure to take time to establish a learning community and lay out the expectations for the course, for example, going over Habits of Mind, which was linked in the post. It’s always a good idea to go over the basics even if they’ve heard it before, though. Each year is a new opportunity to set good habits!

  345. Rammadi Sapkota says:

    Namaste! I am secondary level Social Studies and Human Values Education subject teacher as well as Principal of Indrenee School, Nepal. I found, this article is very resourceful, analytical and insightful for me. Thank you!

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Thank you for reading! We are happy you found it useful!

  346. Very beneficial

  347. Jacqueline Souffrant says:

    Thank you for sharing your article with us. I agree that community building in vital at the beginning of the year! I also like that you shared that somethings should remain the same for face to face and online learning.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Glad the post resonated with you, Jacqueline!

  348. Lori Hetherington says:

    I really liked what the article had to say about spending time up front building community within the class and using that time to teach students about the platforms and procedural items.

    • Margaret Harris-Shoates says:

      Thanks for sharing, Lori! We’re glad you found the post useful.

  349. Jill L Reiter says:

    I completely agree with the idea that the first weeks of the school year should be dedicated to community building and digital competency. This approach not only sets a positive tone for the rest of the year but also equips students with essential skills that will serve them well in a technology-driven world.

  350. Thank you for sharing this information with us! I love how the first focus of online teaching is community building and communication. This is definitely necessary in setting up success for students and teachers. Parents/guardians should definitely expect consistent communication regarding class room expectations, assignments, and student progress. Without this first focus, students can become lost in the virtual world and feel as if they are all alone in the learning process.

  351. Wilhelmina Hicks says:

    I love your suggestion to have students create or do something for assessments to alleviate the online cheating. Thank you.

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