Distance learning strategies from top teachers

As we all navigate the shift to at-home learning, it’s important to collaborate and help each other succeed. We asked IXL Elite 100 teachers to share what’s been working for them, and we’ve gathered a wealth of insights. In fact, they had so many tips that we’ll be sharing them in a two-part series!

Whether you’re brand-new to IXL, or just working to adapt to this new context, we hope you’ll be inspired by their ideas. Hint: Click the links within for more information!

If you’re new to IXL, keep it simple

Make sure your parents know about this awesome resource and how to access it at home! — Leia Wheeler

Start with skills that your students are already familiar with. This will allow them time to get used to the platform and give you time to look into IXL more. — Jordann Hardin

Introduce/assign one skill at a time. Show your students the “Not feeling ready yet? These can help:” section at the bottom of the page. This way they learn to build up their knowledge gaps. — Dave Kaul

Be intentional with your lessons. Star the ones that you want students to focus on. I check the diagnostic/analytic tools daily to see the progress they’ve made. — James Gorski

Be patient and slowly integrate IXL into your current program. The students absolutely LOVE it. — Nicola Avena

It’s worth the time to have students spend a full week working in the diagnostic at the beginning, so that you really know what ability they have and where they need to begin working. — Maritza Jennings

IXL has allowed my students to continue the process of learning and developing academically instead of just reviewing through packets or previously taught material. Trust this opportunity and know this site truly works and will foster many learning opportunities and ways to meet students’ needs across the entire learning spectrum—from closing gaps before grade level, gaining grade level knowledge at the current grade, and challenging every student above grade level content. — Travis Rhodes

Use the built-in tutorial supports for students: A student is able to “Learn with an example” before they start practicing their assigned IXL skills. Or if a student misses a question, they are able to read and learn from their mistake and click “got it” when they are ready to move on and try again. — Sherry Caldwell


Guide your students to the skills you want them to work on

I love the Spring Spotlight Skill Plans. They take a lot of planning burden off of me. I appreciate the fact that IXL is conscientious of our standards and provides content within the skill plans that students have had previous exposure to. This allows students to feel success and removes a great deal of anxiety from the parents as well. — Dr. Amy Klaren

I am providing my students with learning opportunities, which include review and enrichment assignments, through IXL. We are currently providing review of skills already taught. I love the sample problems that I may view before assigning. — Christine Gonder

I maintain reliable routines and set manageable schedules for my students. Adjusting to virtual school can be overwhelming, but there are things we can do to make it easier on all. For example, I set clear online learning expectations with both parents and students, and I create personalized “student menus” for each student. Once I established a reliable routine, I methodically introduced new technology and new assignments to my students. — Marissa Lev

I use IXL to monitor progress by challenging my students to try the same skills at a different grade level. I can monitor their work directly using Live Classroom and also by checking on the skills my students have worked on. I really like how IXL has aligned curriculum to GO MATH! as well to the NWEA RIT scores. I suggest using the same skills across grade levels in order to support students or enrich. — Jessica Mendez

I have been using the “star” feature (teacher suggested skills) and the Diagnostic Arena recommended skills to have my students working both independently on the remedial skills they need, and trying to pinpoint areas in the grade-level curriculum that they may be ready to handle independently at home. I’m hoping to dedicate a videoconference each week to answering questions and giving feedback on skills to students in a small group setting. — Mathew Baillargeon

I’ve started by having my students work on the skills that are essential to our grade. Then I plan to make instructional videos using IXL generated problems to teach through some of the skills we would normally cover in 4th quarter. Jordann Hardin

One strategy I have used is to assign skills in categories we have already covered. For example, we covered multiplication a couple months ago. But students did not complete all the skills for 4th grade. So I have assigned some of those as well as given them multiplication skills for the next grade level. This way it is not new content but they are still getting rigorous practice. Another strategy I have used is the skill plan for NWEA. I created a document so students know what RIT band they fall under. Then I recorded a video (that I posted to Google Classroom) to show students how to get to the skill plan and find the skills they should be working on. I suggested that they spend 25-30 minutes per day working through the list of skills. — Hilary O’Neill

We have elearning days every other day. The students are assigned either 30 minutes or 25 questions every day. If they have any questions or encounter any challenges, we discuss these during our Google meet sessions. Each student is on their own pace. However, I also try to assign skills that we are working on in our workbook. — Giles Laux

I created an IXL checklist for the students to work through. I also created a packet with the lists of all the past IXL strands we have done this year as a way for them to review. 


I assigned IXL skills that align with the content that we’ve learned this year to reinforce lessons that were already taught, since at this point, we are unable to teach new skills in a traditional classroom setting. It helps them master skills they recognize and are already familiar with. I especially love how IXL questions are laid out similarly to what they will see on standardized tests to prepare them for the following year. I want to prepare as many students as possible for their next grade level. — Jennifer VanGeest

I’ve been having my students do review lessons and working on new ones that I feel they might understand. — Mark C. Ledoux

I provided each student with a grid with the titles of the IXL skills. They shade in a box if they reach a SmartScore of 100. This is an excellent way to track their progress. — Donna Bailey

IXL tip: Looking for an easy way to track progress? Try our fun customizable BINGO boards!


Read on for even more insights from the IXL Elite 100!