School districts across the country have begun rolling out the instructional models that teachers and students will use when school returns. One consistent theme across states and districts is that opening school involves a mix of online and face-to-face instruction, also known as a “hybrid” instructional model.
A hybrid schedule offers flexibility and can be shaped in many ways. There is no right way to implement a hybrid instructional model. One district’s hybrid model can look very different from the hybrid model of a neighboring district. If you’re an educator facing the reality of returning to school to teach in a completely new format that includes both in-person and online teaching, then this post is for you. YOU can do this.
Teachers are some of the most adaptable human beings on the planet. You will adapt to this model and your students will adapt to this model. Let’s face it, students tend to be okay if their teachers are okay. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that we can’t always control what’s happening around us but we can control how we handle the situation and do our part, as educators, to continue to do what we do best, which is to teach.
So, let’s look at a couple of scenarios for hybrid learning. Remember, the key to a hybrid model is flexibility. At any point the decision could be made to shift the instruction to either side—face-to-face or remote—should conditions improve or worsen. Below you will find the most straightforward hybrid models that essentially divide face-to-face and virtual learning by splitting students into two groups (A and B) and developing a rotating schedule in which they rotate between face-to-face and virtual learning. This may be done by splitting the day or it may be done by dividing the week.
Another hybrid model might be developed by prioritizing subjects. This model is actually simpler because instead of coming up with alternate ways to deliver instruction, the school district prioritizes core subjects and all students attend school face-to-face to receive instruction for these core subjects. This might involve a shorter school day in which electives are taught online during the time students aren’t in the actual classroom. This model also keeps students in one room as much as possible and means the teachers move instead of the students.
So now that we’ve talked about some of the hybrid models out there, let’s talk about ways to succeed in this instructional model. Plan, plan, and plan again. Lesson planning matters. Take advantage of the time you have in the classroom and choose your activities wisely.
Activities for The Classroom
- Interactive discussion with hands-on lessons
- Labs or science work that needs supervision
- One-on-one intervention or remediation time for vulnerable students
- Center rotations (we should still do centers)
- Key foundational activities (fluency routine, guided reading, etc)
- Partner or small group work
Other “To-Dos” for The Classroom
- Check in and connect with kids
- Build your class community
- Check for understanding and reteach as needed
- Demonstrate and model remote learning tools/programs as much as possible
- Address misconceptions or difficult aspects of technology
- Cover sensitive material students might have questions about or struggle with
- Give students an opportunity to express concerns and come up with solutions to problems along the way
Activities for Remote Learning:
- View lecture materials in video format that are self-paced
- Independent work like worksheets, reading, writing, and skills practice
- Elective or advanced activities/work
When Students are Online
- Read assigned material
- Use topical slide decks
- Respond to discussion questions
- Host chats and online discussions
- Complete assigned tasks independently
- Attend class meetings
- Work collaboratively with classmates
- Take quizzes, tests, or on-demand tasks
Other Tips to Thrive
- Offer virtual orientation for students and parents
- Provide easy-to-access IT support and how-to support for when students are learning at home
- Conduct early assessments to determine student readiness and identify gaps
- Plan carefully for the needs of the most vulnerable students
- Consider increasing the number of IEP meetings for special education students and holding regular meetings with families of English language learners
- Beef up family engagement resources to ensure students and families stay connected to learning
- Don’t be afraid to take risks in remote learning—it’s okay to try something new
- Outline clear processes and guidelines for both students and parents—expectations are key
- Provide students with the tools they need to complete activities and assignments at home (manipulatives, workbooks, pencils, etc)
- Be as consistent as possible in remote learning by transitioning as much of your “daily classroom routine” to remote learning as possible—it will help your students
I leave you with this. Remember, teachers are extraordinary individuals who selflessly give all they can to their students’ day in and day out. It’s at the very core of who you are to face challenges and overcome them. YOU can do this!
I’m currently a Marketing Manager with hand2mind living in the greater Chicago area. I’m a former teacher and taught both 2nd and 6th grade math. I also spent many years as a math coach and had the pleasure of working with school districts across the country. In addition to my experience in education, I’m the mother of 2 girls ages 10 and 4. I rely on my experiences as both a teacher and a parent to write as I know many of our readers have experience with both! In my free time I coach my daughter’s softball team and spend a lot of time outdoors! I also enjoy rolling my sleeves up and tackling many DIY projects around the house!