How to adapt lesson plans for remote instruction

Lesson plans are often designed for an in-person classroom environment, full of group work and interaction. How can you adapt these existing lessons for virtual learning? Our team of teacher trainers offers these helpful tips:

Get back to basics

Before you get started, take a step back and ask yourself what you’re aiming for students to gain from your lesson, and how you’ll assess their understanding. Here are a few key questions to think through:

  • How can you reduce the essential information into about 10-15 minutes of direct instruction?
  • Would it be better to show your students the concept live, or just record it ahead of time so they can watch later as many times as needed?
  • How will small groups come into play?
  • In what ways will you assess students’ understanding and give feedback?

Some lessons will be harder to adapt than others, and that’s okay! There’s no need to adapt a lesson that might be too hard to virtualize. The key is to think about ways to simplify each topic down to its essential concepts, and deliver it in a way that makes sense for both you and your students.

Encourage students to collaborate

Many lessons include breaking students into small groups. The good news is, this is still possible virtually, and many video conferencing platforms have tools that can help! For example, Zoom allows you to place students in “breakout rooms” that are useful for collaborative projects or interactive discussions. Plus, students can work together on assignments using tools such as Google Docs and Google Slides, even when they’re not in the same place. 

There are many ways you can use IXL to promote collaboration, too. For example, you can pair students up to work on an IXL skill together. Use the reports in IXL Analytics to pick one student that has mastered the IXL skill already and one that needs some help. Have the first student teach their classmate what they know about the concept, and explain how they worked their way through the skill. The first student will gain confidence through teaching, and the second will benefit from the extra guidance!

Take advantage of IXL’s tools

IXL has many features that can help you adapt your existing lesson plans for virtual learning.  For example, if you’re using a textbook or following your state’s standards, then IXL skill plans are your new go-to lesson planning solution. Skill plans put the exact IXL skills you’ll need to teach each concept at your fingertips. They’re tailored to perfectly match each chapter and standard, so students directly practice the topics they need to know. And skill plans even integrate with IXL Analytics to show where your students stand and take grading off of your plate.

For whole-class instruction, tools like Screencastify are an easy way to share IXL with your students. When you start a new IXL skill, you can use “Learn with an Example” at the top-right to introduce the concept. Then, model how to answer a few questions for your class before having students chime in to help answer them. If your students miss a question, review IXL’s answer explanation with them to address any misunderstandings and illustrate how to approach similar questions going forward.

Looking for more ways to boost your virtual instruction? Check out our implementation guides for at-home learning, live assessment, and more!