Best Practices for Distance Teaching

Lessons learned from districts that have made this shift:

  • Simplify and be flexible...we are not trying to mimic the regular school day; kids could be feeling fearful or stressed and may not be used to the at home learning environment. Many kids are not able to manage their own schedule or have been called to child care duties.

    • Suggested eLearning Guidelines: K/1 ~ 2 hours; 2/3 ~ 2 1/2 hours; 4/5 ~ 3 hours; secondary 30-40 minutes per subject...the rest of the day can be rounded out with a variety of enrichment and screen-free activities

    • Stay flexible with pacing. Be prepared to differentiate due dates for students who struggle with the rigor or style of remote learning. Be flexible with how students submit work...maybe snapping a pic will do.

    • Consider having all work for the week posted by the start of the week and due at the end of the week (or even over the weekend). Or, try working with “windows of time” instead of specific due dates for some assignments.

    • Clearly outline expectations for students and you. See this sample of norms: Expectations of Students & Teachers

  • Be present as an instructor by posting videos of yourself, utilizing discussion boards, hosting office hours or Q&A sessions via Zoom or Google Meet.

    • Videos posted by the teacher allows students to connect with the teacher’s image and voice. The video can be short, 3 minutes or less. In that amount of time, the teacher can review highlights of the previous week, and do a quick introduction of what is coming in the current week.

    • Provide transcripts of video or audio announcements made by teachers. If you read from a script, your script should be posted as the transcript. If linking to external videos, make sure the videos have closed captioning available.

    • Give multimedia options for assignments such as slides, videos, podcasts, blogs, data visualizations, websites, infographics, or audio.

  • Be mindful of keeping learning active and chunking the content through a mix of robust discussions, collaborative work, video and audio clips, hands-on exercises, and individual work time.

  • Use frequent formative assessments. While present with students, it can be much easier to determine which students may be struggling with new learning. When teaching online, use tools such as Google Forms, Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter and your LMS, such as Google Classroom*, to gauge student learning and plan instruction and personalization that helps to keep all students on track. Here is a list of more formative assessment tools.

  • Take care of yourself! Create a schedule for yourself that includes specific times to check email, be available to students, grade, etc. Build in breaks where you step away from technology and care for yourself.

Source: CDE Guidance on Distance Learning

Grading Guidance for Teachers

  • View grading with an equity lens and the primary goal of first, doing no harm to students

  • Reconsider the kinds of materials that are "gradable" and provided to and accepted from students: photographs attached to a text message, video or audio recordings, discussion via Google Meet, interactive notebook, journal, infographic, illustrations...get creative!

Source: FAQs on Grading and Graduation Requirements

More Help

  • Please see the Tech Tools page for tools, instructions, and videos for getting started online

  • Please see the Planning Tools page for sample schedules and learning templates


Distance Teaching Resources

Click the buttons below

For additional resources: Social Emotional Support