As I’ve moved to a remote platform, I’ve been reminded of the importance of having at least one backup lesson plan available for my students.
If my internet goes down . . . if my platform becomes unstable . . . if an individual student can’t participate remotely, I want to have a pertinent activity ready for my students. That way, class can keep moving until I (or they) can rejoin.
Here are some guidelines I’ve found useful:
- Integrate the lesson with the current activity and outcome.
For example, students in one of my writing classes are working on transitions, so I’ve prepared two exercises for practicing transitions that support the essay they’re writing for the class. In addition, I’m developing a guided small-group discussion plan that supports the current reading assignment.
- Communicate the purpose.
Students reasonably want to avoid anything that looks (remotely) like busy work, and especially if I have to be offline, they need to know how the backup activity relates to their coursework.
- Provide parameters.
How long should the lesson take? How will students share the results of the activity? Can they work in teams?
- Assign responsibility—to everyone.
When the class regroups, everyone should have something to contribute. If students have responsibility for reporting back, they’ll be much more likely to make productive use of the activity—and to maintain the class momentum.
Do you have suggestions for backup lesson plans? Please share your ideas in the comments section.
Anne is a writing specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning.