Scarlett Tannetta
Kelly Knopf-Goldner
Liz Leidel
This week, The Coaching Connection is responding to three teacher questions we’re hearing right now:

  1. How do I make my online lessons work for students who show up consistently and for those who pop in and out?
  2. What are effective ways to mix synchronous and asynchronous activities? 
  3. How can I make my planning and preparation for online teaching more manageable?

We are going to share FIVE flexible, modular lesson-planning templates this week that address these questions.

All three... 
  • Meet our FIVE CRITERIA (click for PDF) of what works in online learning.
  • Blend synchronous and asynchronous elements and accommodate students with inconsistent access to technology.
  • Can be used again and again with a range of content -- to reduce preparation and planning time.

**We are aware there are district requirements teachers must follow. We are  also  aware that many teachers are struggling with student engagement despite their best efforts. As our first newsletter stated (linked  here ), connection is KEY. We can’t teach if we can’t engage kids first. We also know, as our second newsletter addressed (linked  here ), that students need a lot of support managing their time and staying productive at home. These templates free teachers up to connect with and support students in those ways.

The Five Templates
#1: I do, We do, You do (virtually)
Ashley Talbot , a math teacher at Chelsea High School , created this template for a week-long set of lessons that includes:

  • A screen-cast of her introducing a topic or concept to start the week
  • A choice menu of practice problems and activities
  • A live teaching session with more instruction and explanation mid-way through the week (recorded for students to watch on their own time if they miss the live session)
  • A day of differentiated additional activities for more practice or to deepen or extend the concept
  • And a final activity to reflect on how the week went and set goals for the next week
** Bonus: She also includes a place to include her plans for intentional outreach and feedback to students throughout the week.

Check out this example: Linear Functions

Use this BLANK TEMPLATE for your own planning

#2: Engage, Explore, Explain, Apply
This template is organized to follow this basic structure:

  • Teacher poses a question about the topic or theme to ENGAGE students (in the example below, the unit is about learning to spot fake news).
  • Teacher provides students with a variety of text (including media, images, etc.) to EXPLORE the topic. 
  • Students EXPLAIN the main points of what they have learned. This provides an opportunity to clarify misconceptions or for the teacher to dig deeper into content. 
  • Students APPLY what they have learned (in this example, students create a Public Service Announcement). 
  • Students SHARE OUT and give feedback, providing students with the chance to interact with each other’s work.

Check out this example: How to Spot Fake News

Use this BLANK TEMPLATE for your own planning

#3: Exploring Themes in Images & Texts
Essential Question How can we use text and images to deepen our understanding of a theme?

To create this mini-unit:
  • Teacher chooses a theme.
  • Teacher selects images and text relevant to the theme. The texts should complement each other, build on each other, or “answer” each other in some way.
  • Teacher poses a question that ties the theme, images, and text together.
  • Students write a response to the question or make a video in which they explain their answer.
  • Students extend their ideas on the theme by choosing their own text and adding it to the “conversation”--a song, a story, a film, a work of art.

Check out this example: Theme - Isolation

Use this BLANK TEMPLATE for your own planning
#4: Mix and Match Input and Output
Each day students choose 2-3 sources for the INPUT list to examine and then complete 1-2 activities from the OUTPUT list to process, synthesize or share what they've learned.

There is an option to join a live learning opportunity every day, where students and teacher can discuss what they are learning or engage in other activities related to the theme. Take a look at the example below to see other ideas for how to use these synchronous sessions.

To prepare this mini-unit for students, you need to:
  • identify a topic or theme
  • create a set of guiding questions
  • curate and organize a list of sources (texts, images, videos, etc) and
  • identify possible options for students to use to show their learning

Check out this example: Invasive Species

Use this BLANK TEMPLATE for your own planning

#5: Wide Open Options for Reading & Writing
Educator, writer and speaker Kelly Gallagher has created a plan for his students that simply asks them to engage in daily writing (at least two pages in their writers notebook) and daily reading (for at least 30 minutes).

He provides them with many ideas for what to write about and gives them simple options for tracking their reading in a log.

In his introduction to this plan, which he shares freely on his website here , he writes:

Years from now, our students’ children and grandchildren will ask them about this moment in time, and I want them to have a record of it. Their history. 

The last thing I want to do with my home-bound students is to load them down with brain-numbing packet work. So this lesson plan was designed to honor student choice, student agency, student voice.

Check out his plans here: Coronavirus Lesson Plan

Stay In Touch - And MORE Student Writing!
Please forward this to colleagues you think would be interested. If they want to start receiving this resource, they can subscribe by clicking below.
Be in touch if you have stories, suggestions or challenges you'd like to share:
If you haven't seen it yet, the Teens in Print youth journalists have written their THIRD articles in the COVID-19 Perspective Series. Check it out!