“Starting next week, we will be moving from all virtual to hybrid instruction. Please refer to your guidebooks for next steps to be ready for the transition.” I completely panicked, but… the wonderful teachers who follow Education to the Core have given me many wonderful words of advice. Their Teaching Tips for the Hybrid Classroom have definitely put me more at ease and better prepared for hybrid teaching.
“I set up a Chrome Book on an empty desk in front of the room, camera facing me. My students from home log-in to my Google Classroom at the designated times and participate in the lessons. Then, they log off and complete the independent work packets that were sent home with them the last time they were at school. It’s so hard to teach this way, but we make the best of it. Good luck!” ~ Jill G.
“Practice work 3 days online and paper/pencil. In class 2 days intro/ review/assess. I’m not doing videos unless I have to. I see all kids two days per week.” ~ Deborah F.
“I put the assignments for the virtual students in a google slide with clickable links to the google classroom. Virtual students do the same assignments as face to face students (supposedly) at the same time. In reality you end up redoing the lessons face to face that the virtual students were supposed to do at home. It’s hard!” ~ Cheryl H.
“It is doable. We just finished our 5th week. It’s hard but you can do it. If you go in with the attitude that it will never work, it won’t work. You have to completely rethink the way you teach which no teacher wants to do.” ~ Natalie K.
“We started the first quarter with half of our kids 2 days a week and 1 day completely virtual. I do actual instruction on face to face days and the practice and rote work as Google docs virtually. On virtual days, we played Kahoot for review.” ~ Elizabeth L.
“2 days in class and 3 on line. We are sending home work packets and posting work on-line. Intro new material in person. It is hard! Keep a positive attitude and don’t let them see you sweat! Remember, no one has done this before and I like to believe everyone is making choices in learners best interest. 😊” ~ Christine S.
“I project my screen so I can see kids at home while I have kids in room. It’s very hard I won’t lie or sugar coat. And the kids at home are super patient but not always. Good luck, we are going into week four like this.” ~ Christine H.
“I zoom my students who are remote into the classroom. I put them in a desk in front of the room and try to call on them and engage them like the other students. This is only 2 times a day for about 45 minutes. I also record the lesson too in Quick time for those who aren’t on.” ~ Trisha C.
“Balancing act! Well kept data of interactions with parents and attempts to reach out to students/individual students for missing work. Fully virtual students need to have some form of autonomy; without parent involvement it often crumbles especially in sped. When you’re done for the day-do not answer late night emails from kids answering questions. Wait until the next morning or week day. You will need all of the SLEEP you can GET!” ~ Sierra S.
“Student collaboration through break out rooms.” ~ Laurie A.
“There are all kinds of online video’s available if you don’t have the ability to make your own. I do Google slide presentations with links during a normal year since I do have kids who end up on homebound or just don’t seem to make it to class. I discovered that for math, kuta worksheets are good practice and frequently have codes to walk them through the practice if needed. We have worksheets that have some short examples with notes. These are useful to use as notes in class with a few example problems to work out with them at the bottom. The old Glencoe textbooks had them as resources and the new version of it has it as well, called study guide and intervention.
We are 100% virtual right now but I am preparing to use these when we go to the hybrid model whenever that is. I expect that to be our middle step before we go back to 100% in person. Whenever that may be. Packets of work. Presentations with links. Record your lesson while you’re teaching it. and if you have a document camera, that makes the videos so much easier because it records what you are writing on paper and your voice at the same time nicely and easily and you have full control.” ~ Stephanie K-F.
“We are on our eighth week and it’s not so bad now. Our trick was having the in person kids and the digital kids do exactly the same thing. If you don’t have computers for all of your in person kids, make assignments for digital that can also be printed for in person kids. It’s definitely a lot more planning but it can work.” ~ Kate C.
“I do lots of screen sharing with my zoom! I use my document camera all the time. I’ll type important notes in a word doc. I periodically scroll threw my zoomers to check for absent bodies, cameras off, and hands raised. I have a brief morning meeting where zoomers and in person kids can see and hear each other sharing when I put on my projector. Administration gave me an OWL camera. I try to stay in the “spotlight” on zoom so students can focus on important things I’m saying or showing. This year I’m doing mostly whole group I do, you do, we do. I pull small groups of struggling learners when I can. Zoomers are allowed to log off during lunch and recess.” ~ Annie O.
“Also, set strict conversation level expectations and mute zoomers based on activity. If it’s a read aloud or direct instruction or a video, do not allow them to unmute themselves. Also control the chat settings to private conversation between you and students. ” ~ Annie O.
“One last tip: when you do pull a small group, provide a list of “center at seats” activities for independent quiet practice. Mine are read a book, do a mini book report, 4 corner vocabulary practice, free write/journaling, sight words, create and practice multiplication flash cards. The zoomers at home can also go on approved learning sites at this time. ” ~ Annie O.
“Teach like you did online. Just do it in person. After a while you can adapt as needed. Add a little “reset” getting to know you time. It takes a few weeks for everybody to get used to it again. Good luck!” ~ Carrie M.
“Phew, we just finished 9 weeks and are back full time next week. I’ve never been happier! Hybrid is possible but exhausting. I zoomed all my lessons live and parents picked up weekly packets. They uploaded pictures of everything on Seesaw.” ~ Kourtney P.
“Yes, it’s hard. It definitely takes some practice. Try a few practice runs with your colleagues, making sure you know how to turn off/on privileges for kids type- chatting with each other. If a student says they can’t see you or your screen, they probably have another tab open. Patience is key: with yourself, with the technology, with the students wherever they are. We’re starting week 9. You can do this.” ~ Jennifer R.
“Have every student attend in Zoom or MS Teams meetings that are held according to their curriculum. Send them the worksheets but don’t insist on printing them. Writing down the answers in their exercise books will do the job. Set up folders for the assignments on your computer, have the students turn them in by taking pics with their mobiles.” ~ Dirk H.
“Start using peardeck. It’s awesome. The kids can write directly on the slides, so you can see their work real time and they can see you annotate the slides while you share your screen.” ~ Michele M.
“I contracted with a school at the beginning of the year to set them up with Mevo’s for hybrid learning. It makes the classroom instruction more dynamic for the online students by following the teach and zooming in and out appropriately. It also gives options for different audio inputs so you can make sure they hear you as you walk around the room.” ~ Daniel M.
“I could write a book. The promethean or smart board really helps as your main screen. The idea is that you are sharing that screen with your students on zoom and meanwhile you are showing that screen to your students physically. I’m actually working from my desk a bit more than I normally would but while giving independent practice, will get up and walk around and help students that are physically there. All graded assignments are done digitally via google classroom or other online platforms whether they are there or virtually.” ~ Lulu S.
“I teach hybrid and all virtual simultaneously. The best thing I’ve found is to keep them on the same track. Same day same work regardless of where they are.” ~ Lizzy A.
“It is hard, but doable. The biggest challenges are dividing your attention between the two groups and navigating the technology for both groups. My advice: Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes in front of the students. Forgive yourself when things don’t go as planned. Always have a Plan B. My students have seen me struggle but persevere, which I think is a HUGE lesson for them to learn. This is not a normal school year, so don’t try to pretend you can do things they way you’d normally do them.
“Technology wise, I have found it beneficial to have 2 monitors. One to control what my f2f students see on the board and my virtual see on screenshare, and the other to be able to see my virtual students. I also use lightspeed to monitor all students when they are working on their chrome books.” ~ Denise B-F.
“It is hard. I’ve never been so exhausted. Make sure you know your school’s policy on missing grades. Almost half of my class didn’t do their work. No matter how many time I contacted them. It was a struggle when we were all virtual.” ~ Teresa M.
“Be prepared for NUMEROUS emails from both parents and students. They forget that you are teaching all day while they are learning remotely. I will often receive 8-10 emails from the same parent/child because I am “not responding” to their question. They don’t realize I am not sitting at my computer all day due to teaching all of the in-person learners.” ~ Katy G.
“My kids, while hybrid, got their lesson via Zoom or Google Meets while their classmates got their’s face to face. It worked wonderfully when technology worked in our favor. If mics are available, I suggest that as a useful tool. If you ever have to walk away from the computer(how could you not with children in your classroom) the children online can still hear your instructions. Their teachers would always check in with the virtual students at the end of a lesson to be sure they understand everything to work independently. If you’re school is doing lesson and log off, allowing children who need help to stay on the call is helpful. Small groups/break out rooms are great too, if available on your digital platform.” ~ Becky M-M.
“I use zoom on my computer and an IPad on a stand. Share my smart board screen and set up an iPad also on the zoom meeting. That allows the students to see my screen and annotations the same as the kids in the room. The iPad let’s the see me as if they were in the room and also allows me to see the chat.” ~ Adrian B.
“1) KEEP IT SIMPLE. I do the lesson via PowerPoint (not best practice obviously, but you literally cannot best practice with desk in rows and half your students online), assign homework (I post the answer key), and they turn it in via Canvas. Don’t try to do all the things. Just you explaining and showing that you care – the kids see it – and they will adapt and try and ask questions.
2) THREE SCREENS. Blessed was the day my desktop monitor came in. Screen share the the active board to the online kids, laptop = homebase for attendance and all that jazz, desktop monitor is full screen Teams with my online kids and their chat.
3) OVERCOMMUNICATE (with the online kids especially) simple things like, “I’m going answer questions from the kids on campus for 5 minutes, so put your questions in the chat and I’ll answer them in the next five.” I am constantly saying, “So now we are ___” “The expectations for today/tonight are ___”
4) Making the two venues equitable is impossible. So don’t try, I promise you it leads to tears, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings of worthlessness as a teacher. So do a few things that benefit your online kids, and do a few things that benefit your on campus kids.” ~ Jessie D.
“We just finished week 7, kinder, they all have computers. We make packets of any papers 3 weeks at a time and virtual families pick up. There is only so much technology they can handle. In person and virtual all do the same thing. Testing is the hardest part for the virtual kids. But it’s definitely getting… easier, no, smoother… it’s hard!! But it’s happening.” ~ Sara O.
“Hybrid wasn’t bad at all once I got the hang of it. Google classroom assignments for all. The worst part for me was teaching the same lesson at school for two days (Groups A and B). I had three virtual classes each week for days the students were at home. When at school, I taught the same lesson two days so both groups got the same face to face lesson. Wasn’t too bad. Wish we were still on it. I do not feel comfortable having over 120 kids in my room everyday.” ~ Cheryl S-B.
“I actually teach from my desk. My computer is set so that I can still see my in house students. Plus, I’m using a snowball mic that picks up sound 360°. It makes it so much easier for class discussions. I don’t have to repeat what in house said to my online learners.” ~ Julie S.
“I give my virtual kids specific instructions. There is a separate google classroom for them and every night I put the next days work for them to print along with my lesson plans. They have to follow along and submit all work by 4pm or it is late.” ~ Cathy R.
“It’s not bad at all. I hook up my laptop to my big screen and share everything through zoom. When I’m calling names I call one in person and one from zoom. My online are engaged, everyone is getting the same lesson, there is 0 double work for me. All assignments are done in Seesaw by both.” ~ Brianna C.
“Just what others are saying- very concise, clear directions. Don’t try to teach the whole time. Give independent work of you and the kids will be exhausted.” ~ Jenny A.
“If you do groups in your classroom, give each group a device and include 1-2 of the virtual kids in each group. The virtual kids will be monitored by their peers allowing you to float between the groups in class and everyone is included in the conversations and lesson. ” ~ Kris H-R.
“We do the same thing. Teach in person an hour, go online altogether for ELA( in person/at home kids) then teach in person for 2 hours, online altogether for math for 90 min. Then in person for a half hour. Of course lunch is in there etc. It’s not like how it was previous years but it’s working.” ~ Michelle F.
“We teach the beginning/middle of each subject then I let the virtual students go work on their own. My in person students complete the lesson with me. Then we have a brain break before we go online again for the next subject. The worst part for me is the constant intrusion by the admin. Popping in to observe and the parents wanting things so they unmixed and ask for information. While I’m trying to teach.” ~ Nicole S-N.
“The good part is they have the virtual part down already. Enjoy your time in the classroom finally. Go over expectations everyday. Keep screen time in the classroom to a minimum so the kids get true F2F instruction. Good Luck 😘” ~ Jennifer L-C.
“I do most everything submitted digitally so it keeps my head straight. I do t recommend trying to treat both classes as separate. Try to keep things as much the same for both the as you can. I have my digital kids participate in turn and talks via chat and they are doing well with it.” ~ Kathy N.
“We’re lucky enough to have kids 1-to-1 with Chromebooks. If you are as well, keep teaching as of you were all virtual. The double work is not worth it. Plus it’s important to make sure kids in both environments are getting an equitable experience.” ~ Audrey I.
“It isn’t so scary. Make some power points to fall back on. Have a virtual class discussion once a week, have a lot of small quizzes instead of big exams, forget about grading on a curve, and use a lot of pictures unless you are teaching math. I gave both kinds of classes, the hybrid at Jefferson College and virtual during winters when we had bad weather and school was closed for Mineral Area College to keep on schedule for the lesson plan.” ~ Lizabeth M.
“Document camera or IPAD needs to be hooked to projector so f2f kids can see their friends and anything you show kids online. Have choice boards or stations ready for f2f kids. Allow f2f kids to have individual bags of manipulative at desk to use in class and create some bins for dirty items.” ~ Ashley H-A
“I basically keep the main part of the lesson when the other students are in zoom and record the main part to post for those that didn’t make it or need to look back. My in person students are pretty much still virtual (meaning they turn things in online in my classroom), but they get more support because I can check in on them. I teach mainly from the front of the room. I’m still working on figuring out how to do small groups better. It’s so hard, but I make it work as much as I can.” ~ Alexa S.
“If you can share the load of work with other teachers in your grade level, do it. It helps so much.” ~ Lisa M.
“I have all my students watch “doigitally”. At home they are on ipads to join Google Meets and do app work. At school, I broadcast on the Smartboard for Meets, and then they work on their ipads for app work.” ~ Christy W.
“The best advice I can give is to go easy on yourself. No matter how you slice it teaching is hard and hybrid doubles that. Give yourself some grace and go heavy on communication with parents because it’s all new for them too. You’ll save yourself some time and frustration by heading some of their questions off at the pass.” ~ Diane B-M.
“The one strategy that has helped me has been that when my students are remote, they complete items that can be graded automatically. Also, before my students leave to go to remote, I preview the assignments with them. I remind them that they can always email me anytime. When they are in person, I try to plan fun lessons.” ~ Sarah H.
“We are hybrid. We do a morning crew meeting all together and their phonics lesson to start our day. Kids at home do Seesaw activities writing journal math journal and I ready . Wr use raz kids and epic for reading. Routines and teamwork are key. Each of our grade level teachers takes on one part of the curriculum for the week to plan and create the content. consistency is important!” ~ Kristin P-K.
“Half of my kiddos are in class Monday and Thursday. The other half are in class Tuesday and Thursday. When students are at home, they do extended independent practice for what was taught in class. While some assignments are digital, it’s definitely not me teaching them virtually.” ~ Lisa J.
“I make a document of assignments we are doing the weekend before, I upload them to google classroom, and scan a lot of papers for my students if the parents want paper copies. We are in our ninth week and it was hard at first but the parents have been easy and flexible to work with.” ~Amanda C-B.
“I teach both simultaneously. At first I cried and was stressed out. Then, I decided to make my lessons on google slides, for both, and we all do the same thing together. I teach block so we are on live for 2 hours at a time and honestly it’s been great. They all do the same warm-up, get the same mini lessons, have the opportunity to ask questions right there if they need to and they do rotations just like we do in person, they get to experience everything we do in person, just from their home. They get to listen to my live read aloud every day too, which they love. I make sure they feel welcomed and don’t treat them as if they aren’t important just because they aren’t in person. It’s made my life easier doing the same things for both and the online kids just submit their work through Schoology and it’s the easiest thing ever!” ~ Jenny M.
“Send home paper packets and a weekly checklist of assignments/schedule so parents can easily tell when work is completed.” ~ Rachel P.
Like me, I hope that you found some gems in these teachers’ advice. I feel like I have a plan and best of all, that I am not alone. Now, more than ever, we need to lean on each other for support and assistance. This is new territory for all, so help from anyone is greatly appreciated.
If you have any Teaching Tips for the Hybrid Classroom, I would love to hear them. I know that it will be a rocky road for awhile, so any tricks of the trade are more than welcome! 😉
Written by: Janessa Fletcher
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