Years ago, when schools were closed for snow, flooding, or mass illnesses, the school year was extended to make sure students got in all of their learning days. Virtual learning was like something from The Jetsons! Now, districts can choose to have digital learning days to help make up for that missed learning.
In this post, I want to make sure your virtual learning ELA lessons aren’t just busy-work, but are actually full of engaging, rigorous lessons that your students will enjoy. I will be sharing some free ideas and suggestions of online platforms that will make this work, as well as how some of my digital learning resources can tie in to help make your job easier.
With a platform like Google Classroom (or an alternative like Edmodo), you can still have collaborative “discussions” through a shared document where students can type responses directly and you can respond, correct misconceptions, and encourage deeper thinking.
You can even have actual conversations if students are able to access Google Hangouts or a platform like Zoom!
You can also assign reading with self-grading questions so students get immediate feedback to understand their mistakes (of course, you can also leave it as-is so they don’t immediately see that their answer was right or wrong if you want to take it for an actual grade).
I also have a free set for grades 2-3 about having pets- download it here!
I have several sets of paired texts that are digital classroom-ready if this is something you know your students need to practice. They are all written around fun and interesting topics like deep-sea mysteries and the Titanic, important people like abolitionists, historical events like the American Revolution and Westward Expansion, and more!
Other Online Platforms
These digital learning platforms are offering free ways to access now as Coronavirus shuts schools down worldwide:
- Book Creator is currently offering free accounts for schools to keep students and teachers connected!
- You can even get Brainpop access for your students if you don’t already have it with your school.
- Kahoot is doing the same thing to support distance learning.
These platforms are always free and offer fun, engaging ways to keep learning the standards:
- A site called ABCya.com has games that can be found by standard.
- A great platform for virtual learning with lessons AND interactive tools for students is Nearpod.
- One of my favorite online news article sites is DOGO News. This is a great way to assign some current event articles for discussion, writing activities, or comprehension lessons.
- I also love this interactive site FULL of informational articles called Wonderopolis!
- Read Write Think has interactive learning tools for students that could help cement a strategy.
- Another great reading assessment platform is Common Lit.
A key part of ELA is the mentor text you’ll be using for your lessons. This shouldn’t be left out just because students aren’t sitting right in front of you!
As I mentioned above, having a Google Hangout or jumping on Zoom is a great way to be “face-to-face” with students… but maybe you or your students can’t be available at the same time. You could always pre-record yourself reading the book using even just your cell phone- you don’t even have to be in the shot if you’re hanging in your PJs… show each page of the book instead! Either way, this would be perfect to also show your think-aloud process of a strategy while doing your reading.
If it isn’t an option for you to do the read-aloud yourself- maybe you don’t have access to the book, or you aren’t able to do the recording- there are tons of books online already recorded as read-alouds! Just do a simple search for the book you want to use!
Storyline Online is one of my favorite resources for great read-alouds performed by actors.
Also check out Epic! which is free for educators!
Whether you need mentor text activities for digital learning days or 1:1 lessons in the classroom, I have many!
I am offering a free week of ELA activities to help alleviate some stress of planning for digital learning. These are perfect for grades 3-5.
Check out all of my reading organizers and activities, and writing prompts too, just like the ones in the free download in my digital Better than Basal resources.
I also made my Vivid Vocabulary Companions in digital format, too like the ones in the free resource!
I hope these ideas, suggestions, and resources are useful to you as you may be navigating virtual learning for the first time. Best wishes in your digital lesson endeavors!