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Best Practices for Remote Learning: Effective Lesson Planning for Remote Learning

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What Does Successful Online Learning Look Like?

What are the elements of successful online learning?

Learner Centered Connected to what they know, what they are interested in

Multiple Media Types Use a variety of modes of learning - reading , interactives, discussions to keep it engaging and meet different learning styles

Promotes Active Learning​ Students should reflect on their learning and thinking, discuss, question, etc.

Promotes Metacognition students communicate about their thinking process so that the teacher can address any misconception. This leads to deeper learning.

Clear Expectations Teacher provides norms for online learning and articulates student needs for success

Educational Opportunities

Enrichment Actvities Explained

Enrichment opportunities deepen knowledge and/or skills and continue learning within a grade level.

The more engaging the activity, the more likely students will want to participate.


* Building Blocks of Online Lessons


English Language Learners

Making Content Accessible for English Learners  

Build Background Knowledge 

Link past learning to new learning 

Share a link to a short video related to the topic.  Be cognizant of the narrator’s rate of speech.  Show students how to change a video’s audio setting in order to slow the audio and turn on close captions.   

Share images/labels related to the topic   

Share a link to a shorter text at students’ independent reading level 

Consider narrating text in English 


Select high frequency vocabulary to address in a more extensive way. 

Boldface/ highlight important words or phrases 

Prepare a glossary of most important words for students  

The teacher provides student-friendly definitions with examples and visuals, and prompts the students to create their own examples using the word 

Share cognates with students.  Students can use a translating app to search the word in their native language 

Add word banks when students may need more support 

Model how to break words a part during live/ recorded classroom demonstration 

Incorporate Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking 

Create a Language Learning Goal to show how students are to demonstrate they have met your Content Learning Goal (see examples on page 12 of the BIPH)

Provide opportunities for students to engage in academic discourse with their peers, using Flipgrid and Microsoft Teams video recording features as to record their responses, and to evaluate peer responses; provide language frames to practice academic language.  

Discussion – how to facilitate discussions online – what tech tools are available?  There is a video created by IMS that shows how to break a TEAM apart into small groups for discussion.  (See video link below)

Increase Access 

Post a graphic organizer to help students organize and internalize their thinking 

Allow alternative forms for expressing their understanding 

Provide sentence/language frames to support students in producing language they wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce on their own and to model the language the teacher is expecting in a response 

Grade Level Texts 

Consider using texts at various Lexile levels 

Ensure students have sufficient background knowledge before introducing grade-level text 

Ask guiding questions and chunk text to show one section at a time.  

Utilizing Primary Language 

Check with students to see if they have access to digital tools that can support translation, such as Microsoft Translator

Allow students to brainstorm in their native language before sharing with the group in English 

Allow students to build background knowledge about a concept in their own language using online resources before beginning the lesson

Planning and Pre-Teaching

Consider the following:

  1. What apps will you be using?
  2. What materials do you need?
  3. What do you need open on your device desktop so that you can share when you are ready to present?
  4. What problems or misconceptions do you anticipate students having?
  5. Practice, practice!

Create notes to outline what you will do during the lesson. 

Knowledge Application

Plan questions to address learning goals, address misconceptions, level and types of  questions. 

How will student responses to questions be handled, reinforced, probed or refocused?

What are other options after listening to responses? 

What strategies will be used if students don’t respond, redirect, rephrasing, wait-time? 

Basic Open Questions 

How do you know? 

Why did _________? 

Can you explain that? 

Can you explain that another way? 

Why did ______? 

How is that similar to _________? 

How is that different to __________? 

Demonstrating Understanding

Ways students can demonstrate understanding:

Quizizz, Kahoot! Quizlet - “Take 5 minutes to complete this _______” I will be able to capture how much you understand before we go forward. 

Use a poll 


Assign parts of graphic organizer through Microsoft One-Note (student must know how to access) 

Pre-determined online assignment through adopted text 

Specific work with a small group channel- question to answer/solve/explore and report back to whole group. 

Create a Choice Board to show understanding.

Assessment Tips

Background Knowledge Probe -- short, simple questionnaire for students before the introduction of a new unit, lesson or topic. It is designed to uncover students’ pre-conceptions. 

Muddiest Point- check for understanding where student are having difficulties. Ask students to jot down a quick response to one question: “What was the muddiest (most unclear or most confusing) point in [the lecture, discussion, homework assignment, film, etc.]?”

What’s the Principle? This is useful in assessing problem-solving. After students figure out what type of problem they are dealing with, they often must decide what principle(s) to apply in order to solve the problem. Provide students with a few problems and ask them to state the principle that best applies to each problem. 

Defining Features Matrix: Prepare a handout with a matrix of three columns and several rows.  At the top of the first two columns, list two distinct concepts that have potentially confusing similarities (e.g. hurricanes vs. tornados, Picasso vs. Matisse).  In the third column, list the important characteristics of both concepts in no particular order.  Give your students the handout and have them use the matrix to identify which characteristics belong to each of the two concepts.  Collect their responses, and you’ll quickly find out which characteristics are giving your students the most trouble.

Summary/Exit Ticket: 

 Include a metacognitive question for students to reflect on how their learning:

  • What did you learn today? 
  • How did you learn it? 
  • How will you remember what you learned? 
  • How will you use what you learned today? 

Presentation PowerPoint and Notes

Recording Video

Recording Videos Tips for Asynchronous Instruction (sharing a pre-recorded lesson video with students) 

Video Length:  Keep it Short. The ideal length should be under 6 minutes.  Between 6 and 9 minutes, engagement drops slightly. 

Video Chunking:  A ten-minute lecture that is designed for a 60-minute lesson can be chunked into two 5-mintue videos, which would become a part of a 30-minute lesson. 

Video Presenting:  Speak fast and use conversational language to bring your authentic self into the picture.  With video, students will be able to rewind and watch video sections.  You don’t have to speak slow like in the classroom. 

Video Design: 

When recording, try to accompany what you are saying with visuals and limit reading text.  This will take pre-planning to put together the visuals 

Limit the use of YouTube videos.  Engagement will increase when students know their teacher is behind the screen delivering the instruction. 

Consider using pop-up questions in your videos to provide checks for understanding. 

Video Recording:

Make sure you are in a quiet room 

Ensure proper lighting. undefined

Follow the Rule of Thirds. Don’t be in the center of the video, be on the left or right third. 

When recording have your goal in mind 

It is ok to include mistakes in the final video.  Sometimes mistakes make the video lesson more engaging. 

Video Sharing Tools:  OPS approved tools are: Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint, Microsoft Stream, One Drive, OPS email, School Social Media site. 


Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).