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How can I establish procedures that easily convert between virtual and in-person learning?

May 4, 2021

Well-established procedures bring order to the classroom, but more importantly, they help teachers maximize instructional time.

However, as students continue to toggle between in-person and virtual learning, it’s important to establish routines that work in both circumstances.

When creating efficient procedures—regardless of the classroom setting—there are two key factors to consider.

Flip the switch for procedures in virtual and in-person learning

1. Students need to understand the purpose of the procedure.

Explain to students why the procedure is relevant. What purpose does it serve for the reader? Why is it important to a writer? How does it help a mathematician?

Then, if the classroom setting changes in the future, start first by reaffirming that such a procedure is still necessary. This makes the purpose behind the routine a common denominator between the two classroom settings. Then, roll out any tweaks that may be applicable.

How to quickly transition procedures PURPOSE
How to quickly transition procedures PROCEDURE

2. Craft procedures that are universal and transferable whenever possible.

The key to a seamless transition is transferability—and that requires planning. While a procedure may be introduced when students are in person, consider how it would work in a virtual-learning setting.

When the same or similar procedures are used in both situations, everyone wins. Teachers dedicate less time managing problems and re-explaining processes, and students participate with the confidence that comes from knowing the expectations.

Here are a handful of examples that target transferable procedures needed for a strong writer’s workshop.

PURPOSE: Every day, we will have a short mini-lesson where I teach you something new about being a writer or improving your writing.
PROCEDURE: If you are in person, you’ll be on the carpet at this time. If you are working remotely, the lesson will be prerecorded. It’s your responsibility to watch it each day before 1:00 p.m.

PURPOSE: Every day, during writer’s workshop, we will have independent Writing Time where you will practice the skill I just taught you. During this time, you may have a question for me.
PROCEDURE: When we are in person, you will pop up your Help! Tent. For those of you learning from home, you will access the virtual Help! Tent.

PURPOSE: On a regular basis, I will conference with you about your current writing. This is one of the best ways I can let you know what to continue doing as a writer and where you could improve.
PROCEDURE: For the in-person learners, this may occur individually or in small groups at your desks. For those learning from home, we will conduct a similar small-group meeting via Zoom.

While every classroom circumstance is unique, offering students structure and routine is essential for a strong learning environment. But, in these uncertain times where the definition of a “classroom” is ever changing, educators need to be ready to seamlessly flip the switch from in-person to virtual without losing precious instructional time.

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