running a synchronous lesson

Building student community is critical for retaining students in the class. One easy way to do that is to open the online, synchronous classroom 10 to 15 minutes early and monitor (but don’t participate) in informal student chatting in the online classroom. As Jon Gustafson puts it, this links “should” behaviors (attend class, pay attention)Continue reading “running a synchronous lesson”

7 Reasons Not to Schedule Your Class Around A Weekly Project

When teachers are not physically present with the student, they cannot easily engage in the kind of joint attention required for a high-quality Socratic discussion that enables students to make good, independent sense of the content—also known as “essential overload.” Students are often distracted by a novel task and not focused on the content itself.Continue reading “7 Reasons Not to Schedule Your Class Around A Weekly Project”

5 Tips for Teaching Students Who Don’t Read Well

Students with print issues could be English Language Learners (ELLs), students learning English as an Additional Language (EALs), have dyslexia, have poor reading comprehension skills, or perhaps be visually impaired in some way.  post visual schedules Decades of research supports the use of visual schedules. Color-coding these is also useful. Every day, the student withContinue reading “5 Tips for Teaching Students Who Don’t Read Well”

Online Differentiation

This type of differentiation is not the same thing as meeting special education requirements, although the two may overlap. Meeting special education requirements is a legal obligation, unique to each student with an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. One finding from education research is that within-class ability grouping often has negative effects for low-ability students,Continue reading “Online Differentiation”

5 LMS Features I Don’t Use

Automated Attendance Many LMSs permit automated attendance checking for synchronous sessions, and have features that permit it to be a percentage of the final grade. This also applies to tardy students. Seating charts can be created as well. In my experience, these features are often buggy and not recommended. Even when implemented, privacy concerns shouldContinue reading “5 LMS Features I Don’t Use”

5 Things I Don’t Do in Synchronous Classes

Use photos for slides. In a good LMS, screen reader users can access text from OCR-capable PowerPoint and PDF files shared in the session. Slides should not be crowded, with a goal of no more than five lines of text per slide, and no more than five words per line. Slides should be high contrastContinue reading “5 Things I Don’t Do in Synchronous Classes”

How do you schedule the work?

When planning to teach online, we should always make sure our students know what we want them to do. When teaching online, provide a written, posted schedule weeks in advance. I also repeatedly assign the same types of assignments. This is true whether I’m teaching in a blended class, or all online. I am notContinue reading “How do you schedule the work?”

why I don’t use lessons from 3rd party sites

and you shouldn’t either I do not recommend the regular use of materials from third party (whether for-profit or not-for-profit) lesson sharing websites. While teachers may sometimes run across a good supplement for an individual unit, using these sources as a major part of a course has several issues. Copyright Many public school teachers areContinue reading “why I don’t use lessons from 3rd party sites”

Don’t Make Up Your Own Curriculum

When I search for a curriculum, I want one written by experts. Experts understand the “deep structure” in a content area. Because experts organize knowledge differently, we want their expertise when deciding what is important to include in class. For example, a non-expert who writes curricula might wrongly interpret the Slave Narrative Collection at theContinue reading “Don’t Make Up Your Own Curriculum”