Collaborative Classroom Guidance for Remote Learning

We are here to support you in this unprecedented situation. Please know that you and your students are our highest priority. To that end, the guidance below is designed to support you in maintaining some of the routines that your students have been using as a part of their Collaborative Classroom programs. The resources mentioned can be accessed via the Teacher Resources webpage.

We also invite you to join our Collaborative Classroom Facebook community group, where we come together with educators using our programs to offer support, share resources, and answer questions every day.

General Guidance

Planning Considerations

General Guidance

Copyright and Sharing

Copyright.  In order to facilitate online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, please do not hesitate to share our Collaborative Classroom program materials as needed via private or closed digital and audio environments. This includes: the ability to provide read aloud texts to your students (e.g., via YouTube set to private/unlisted), to copy and share student materials, and for teachers to share materials in order to collaborate on lessons.

Please make a reasonable effort to maintain existing copyright lines and reference owners of copyright (for example: if copying pages, keep the copyright lines; if recording a read aloud, include the book title, author, and publisher at the beginning of your reading).

Most book publishers have relaxed their audio/video copyright rules during this extraordinary time, but they do ask the following:

  • When recording and sharing a story do so privately or in a closed system (e.g., YouTube channel set to private);
  • Include the book title, author, and publisher at the beginning of your reading;
  • Delete or block access to the video or audio recordings of their books by the end of the current school year or no later than June 30, 2020;
  • Send the publisher a notification (with your school name and book information) that the recording has occurred.
    • To make this last item easier, we’ve created a short form you can fill out: Read Aloud Reporting. We will collect the data and share it with the relevant publishers.
  • Both the publisher and Collaborative Classroom would love to see the recording you made, if it’s not too much trouble to share it with us! (Updated March 27, 2020)

Sharing.  All of our PDF copies of materials found on the Collaborative Classroom Learning Portal and on our Learning Hub are available to share and use with families. Feel free to share as needed (both print or saved PDF).

Best Practices

  • You don’t have to use every idea you are offered. Make a plan that works best for you and your students.
  • Keep it simple! Decide on a few things that you can implement well that will be engaging and supportive for your particular students.
  • Consider the flow of learning including morning meetings, whole-group experiences, and independent reading, writing, word work, vocabulary activities.
  • Whole-class lessons for Making Meaning and Being a Writer lend themselves to virtual formats such as Zoom.
    • Read Aloud. Engaging in a read-aloud online can be tricky as it is easy for students to become distracted. Consider adding additional stopping points for discussion on Day 1 and on Day 2 reading the entire book.
    • If you are using a format such as Zoom, use breakout rooms for the partner talk.  As the host of the Zoom, you can pop in and out of breakout rooms to listen in on various partners.
  • Tip: Record yourself reading aloud various texts for your students to access.  (For example, you might post these on YouTube.  Remember to include the book title, author, and publisher to respect copyright.)
  • Please be patient with yourself.
  • Engage in self-care: Teacher Wellness Blog Series: An Introduction

Tips for Parents and Families

  • Share the Parent Letter (see Teacher Resources webpage) to provide guidance for parents while their child is at home.
  • Include children in making decisions by planning how the day will look and how to share digital devices or other learning tools.
  • Routine is very helpful in stressful times. Create a schedule and consider posting it so your children know what to expect.
    • Picture schedules are great for non-readers.
  • Engage in a daily routine.
  • Create a distraction-free space for students to work.
  • Use a timer to indicate periods for different activities.
  • Provide choice in activities and breaks as needed.
  • Consider activities that cause students to move.
  • Consider independent activities.
  • At the end of the “school day” have a conversation with your children about what went well, what they enjoyed, and what they might do differently tomorrow.
  • IDR Support for Parents (see Teacher Resources webpage)
  • IDR Support for Parents – Spanish (see Teacher Resources)
  • Here are activities for students to practice high-frequency words while at home. Choose just one or two to practice:
    • MEMORY: Create two sets of High-Frequency Word cards and play a game of “Memory.” Lay the cards face down on the floor or the table. Take turns trying to match identical words. The person with the most pairs wins.
    • GO FISH: Create two sets of High-Frequency Word cards and play “Go Fish.” The goal is to have the most matched word pairs at the end of the game. Each player receives seven cards and follows the standard rules for playing “Go Fish.” (Example: Player 1 “Do you have the word FROM?” If Player 2 has the requested word card then they must give it to Player 1 and Player 1 sets down their match. If Player 2 does not have the requested word card, then Player 1 must draw a card, and it is now Player 2’s turn.)
    • BINGO: Create Bingo cards with the words and play a game of High-Frequency Word Bingo.
    • HIGHLIGHT: Look at magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, etc. and highlight and read the high-frequency words.
    • ON THE RUN: Choose a word and have the student find the word as many times they can on billboards, signs, etc.
    • SNOWBALL: Set up a waste-paper basket 3 or 4 feet from a table. On scrap paper, write the letters or high-frequency words. Have the student say the letter (or word) and if correct crumple the paper and toss it for a basket.
    • UP THE STAIRS: Write high- frequency words (or letters) on index cards. Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Flash the words and if the student is correct, have them take a step up the stairs. Write “Go Back One Step” or “Go Forward One Step” on several index cards  for some added challenge.  (This game can be played with multiple students by having different cards based on their needs.  Even older kids can play along by including math equations or vocabulary words.)
    • ALPHABET SOUP: Put magnetic letters in a pot and use a soup ladle to scoop them out. Have students identify the letter they scoop!
    • SPOTLIGHT: Post high-frequency words or letters on the walls or floor, or around the room. Give students a flashlight and have them hunt for words. As they shine their light on the words, ask them to read them.
    • EGG HUNT: Put sight words or letters inside colored plastic eggs and hide them around the house. Have students collect the eggs and read the words they find.
    • TWIRL, HOP, READ: Write down movement activities or exercises on small scraps of paper and put them in a bag or bowl.
      • Some suggestions include: twirl once, hop 2 times, do 3 jumping jacks, run in place, or any other movement idea appropriate for the age of your children. Before flashing a high-frequency word, pick a movement activity from the bag. Show the word (or letter) and if the student gets it right, they do the movement on the paper.  If they do not know the word, read the word to the student, ask the student to spell the word and read the word again. Then, put the card back into the deck to try again.

Supporting Students with Disabilities

Schools must ensure learning opportunities for all.  Some general ways to modify activities for remote learning are:

  • Review the Special Considerations section of the Introduction in your Collaborative Literacy teacher’s manual and consider how the additional strategies, question simplification guidance and additional modifications might support your students. (Teacher Resource webpage)
  • Provide visual schedules to help families organize the learning day and include suggestions for movement breaks.
  • If using Zoom Breakout Rooms, have an adult join the breakout room to offer communication support for students who need it.
  • Use digital supports such as speech to text. If using a group chat-room within a learning system, offer the opportunity for students to record their thoughts instead of writing them.
  • Provide support to have texts read aloud to students as needed.
  • Look carefully at IEP goals and consider how to meet these needs using digital supports.

Professional Learning Resources

Planning Considerations for Teachers 

Caring School Community

  • Relationships are everything and more important than ever, now that students are isolated from their community. No matter what activities you decide to do, maintaining a sense of community should remain your primary goal.
    • “Gather” the class for a Morning Circle digitally and conduct a modified version of the Circle. (Even if the meeting is modified to last only 5 minutes, the time maintaining connection is vital.)
      • Use the regular format for the Morning Circle. This will help you keep it short but effective. For instance you might:
        • Do a modified version of the greeting using waves instead of handshakes.
        • Modify the team-building activity by expanding the sharing time.
        • If you are using a format such as Zoom, use breakout rooms for the partner talk. As the host of the Zoom, you can pop in and out of breakout rooms to listen in on various partners.
        • Zoom also offers a polling opportunity where some team-building questions might be offered for students to share their thinking using “Would you rather…” questions
      • Some ideas for different grade levels:
        • Grades K–1 continue with the week you were scheduled to do next.
        • Grades 2–5 select a Topic Week of interest, particularly from the Character Building Topic Weeks.
        • Grades 6–8 select a Topic Week of interest, particularly from Wellness and Creativity Topic Weeks.
        • Use the Open Week template to create a conversation offering students support for learning at home or other topics they would like to discuss.
      • Possible topics for virtual class meetings include:
        • How to ask for and give help to each other
        • Ways we can stay connected as a class
        • What to do when we are bored
      • Offer students a way to maintain individual contact with you – via email, phone, or text message.
      • Consider scheduling a check-in with each student or with small groups of students; invite them for a specific date and time regularly. Allow the student to guide the conversation around topics of interest, and go beyond a check-in on schoolwork.
      • Consider writing and mailing an individualized note to each student. Invite them to write back to you.
      • Connect cross-age buddies for some form of communication – via email, phone, text message, or traditional mail.
    • Offer families Home-Sharing or Home-School Connection activities.
      • If you are conducting digital Morning/Advisory Circles, use the related activity.
      • If you are unable to conduct digital Morning/Advisory Circles, consider the Open Week Home Connection Activity to connect with families.
    • Students and adults may be feeling anxious during this time of unknowns. Some self-calming strategies to try during times of stress include:
      • Tell someone how you are feeling.
      • Hug a stuffed toy or curl up in a comfy chair for a few minutes.
      • “Shake it off” by shaking out your arms and legs or engage in some physical activity.
      • Draw a picture of yourself feeling calm.
      • Write about how you are feeling.
      • Try some of the following breathing techniques:
        • Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.
        • Practice “One-minute Breathing” – Set a timer for one minute and slowly breath in and out.
        • “Breath Moving” – Sit up straight, close your eyes. Breathe in and imagine moving the breath to the top of your head. Breathe out and imagine you are moving the breath to the bottom of your spine. Repeat.

Making Meaning

  • Consider how you will engage your students in the whole-class experience.
    • Consider stopping points, discussions, and opportunities for students to ask questions for clarity.
  • Review the upcoming IDR focuses in the lessons to determine what types of reading materials might best support your students’ engagement during IDR.
    • Encourage students to read a lot.
  • Reading Journals.
    • Have students keep a reading journal and provide a purpose for the reading. Review the focus for IDR in each week’s lessons and choose a response for each week. Reading journals are also a place that readers can keep track of their reading goals and reflect on their progress toward meeting those goals.
    • Simple reading responses include:
      • Create a timeline of your book
      • Follow a character – Who are they? What do you know about them from the text?  How are they changing throughout the story?
      • Storyboard a fiction or narrative nonfiction text
      • Double Entry Journals
    • Continue to support students by conferring one-on-one about their reading.
      • Use the guidance offered in the IDR section of your Making Meaning teacher’s manual.  Additionally, the MM IDR Comprehension Questions By Grade Level might support your reading discussions with students. (Teacher Resources webpage)
    • Consider what previously taught Extension activities or Writing About Reading opportunities could be extended or adapted for students to work on independently at home.
    • Tip: Consider creating a classroom blog where students can continue to be part of a reading community.
    • Tip: Include a Reading Strategies digital chart or other charts that readers can refer to to support their ongoing learning.
    • Tip: Guide students to practice previously taught vocabulary words by using the vocabulary activities recommended in the Introduction of the Making Meaning Vocabulary teacher’s manual.  A comprehensive list can be located on the Teacher Resources webpage.

 

Making Meaning Vocabulary

  • K–2. Provide the word and picture cards from previous weeks of instruction (BLMs on the Learning Hub or Portal). Students can play a matching game to match the word with its corresponding picture.
  • K–6. Provide the list of previously learned vocabulary words. 
    • Students can draw a picture that shows what the word means and write a sentence using the word. 
    • The words can also be used in student writing; students might be challenged to use as many words as meaningfully as possible in a piece of writing. 
    • Students can practice vocabulary by engaging in previously learned activities. (Teacher Resources webpage)
  • Making Meaning Vocabulary crossword puzzles are included in the program every two weeks. Students can do the puzzles that have been created. They can also create puzzles of their own using either graph paper or one of the free online crossword puzzle template makers.

Being a Reader Learning Letter Names

  • Provide the Alphabet Book Pages (see Teacher Resources). Students can trace each letter and draw an illustration or write about an object, an action, an animal, … that starts with that letter.
    • Students can create their own alphabet books either on paper or digitally.
  • Tip: Recommend to parents to use items available such as foam letters or magnetic letters to assemble their own name and others known words. 
  • Tip: Recommend to parents to use modeling dough, if available, to engage the students in forming letters. 
  • Tip: Recommend to parents to use items available such as sand, sugar, or salt to have students practice forming letters.

Being a Reader Small-group Reading Sets 1–5

  • Best Practices in Teaching Being a Reader Small-group Sets 1-5 Remotely (updated 3/31)
  • Sets 1–5 texts. Share the PDF of the books for Sets 1–5 or explain to parents how to use the BookRoom App.
    • BookRoom App. Parents can download the app and use the barcodes (available on the Teacher Resources page) to select the books appropriate for the students based on their small group.
    • Students will enjoy reading and rereading books from their current set and previous sets. Students might:
      • Use a free PDF mark up app (such as Markup) to annotate and highlight in these texts. It might be fun to revisit texts and look for sight words.
      • Write another story about the characters.
      • Look for words that have the newly learned spelling pattern.
      • Play a memory game with words from the story.
    • Picture/Word Sorts. Provide the students a variety of sorts from previous weeks and sets of instruction. It’s powerful for students to revisit various sorts as well as read and reread words with known spelling-sound correspondences.
    • If you have access to Seesaw, you will find some sorts for the different weeks in Sets 1–5 that can be assigned to students. Steps:
      • Log into Seesaw
      • Go to the Activities tab
      • Search Activity Library
      • Assign to students
    • Print or send two sets of high-frequency word cards for the words your students are working on home to play memory or go fish (print 2 sets or download the PDF) . The high-frequency word cards blackline masters are located within the Set Resources (they occur every 5 weeks)
      • Set 1, Week 5
      • Set 2, Week 2
      • Set 2, Week 7
      • Set 3, Week 4
      • Set 4, Week 1
      • Set 4, Week 6
      • Set 5, Week 3
      • Set 5, Week 8
      • Set 5, Week 13

Being a Reader Small-group Reading Sets 6–12

  • Revisit the sets and lessons previously taught, review the More Strategy Practice or Technology Extensions for those lessons and consider how these opportunities can be used to support student learning.

Being a Reader Shared Reading, K–1

  • Students can reconnect with their favorite poems.
    • Read and reread poems.
    • Illustrate poems.
    • Find high-frequency words in poems.
    • Find known letters in poems.
    • Find patterns or rhyme in poems.
  • Class Books.  Give students prompts from Shared Reading texts to write their own page. Collect pages if possible and make a virtual class book or have students write their own books. For example: Use the pattern from Fish Eyes. “1 ______ fish”

Being a Reader Handwriting, K–1

  • Print or download and share previously taught handwriting practice pages. Consider review weeks as well.

Being a Reader Independent Reading

  • Encourage students to pick 3–5 books at any level they want, grab a pillow and a blanket, and find a spot to read.
  • This is reading for the sake of reading – it’s okay if they pick War and Peace or Hop on Pop.
  • Suggest that families use an audiobook, or try a service like Epic or Amazon Rapids that will read to the child as they view the text.
  • Consider scheduling 1:1 reading conferences using a digital platform such as Zoom or even using the telephone. Teachers can ask students about what they are reading and listen to them read.  Then, they can suggest one goal for students to focus on until their next meeting.
  • Activity: Bear Cave Reading
    • Set up blankets and chairs to make a tent or put a blanket over a table. Encourage students to read in the cave.
    • Variation: Encourage students to read in as many unusual spots as possible. They can take a “selfie” and upload it to show all the places they found to read.

Being a Reader Word Study, Gr. 2

  • Provide the words from open and closed sorts from previous instruction. Ask the students to do a variety of open sorts and record the sorts on paper to share with the class.  It’s important that the students continue to continue analyzing and reading a wide variety of words.
  • Provide the Word Scrambles that correspond to current and previous instruction to practice the learned patterns.
    • Word Scramble 4a and 4b: Week 4 or later
    • Word Scramble 5a and 5b: Week 5 or later
    • Word Scramble 6a and 6b: Week 6 or later
    • Word Scramble 7a and 7b: Week 7 or later
    • Word Scramble 8a and 8b: Week 8 or later
    • Word Scramble 9a and 9b: Week 9 or later
    • Word Scramble 10a and 10b: Week 10 or later
    • Word Scramble 11a and 11b: Week 11 or later
    • Word Scramble 12a and 12b: Week 12 or later
    • Word Scramble 13a and 13b: Week 13 or later
  • Provide students Word Stairs that correspond to current and previous instruction to practice learned patterns.
    • Word Stairs 4: Week 4 or later
    • Word Stairs 5: Week 5 or later
    • Word Stairs 6: Week 6 or later
    • Word Stairs 7: Week 7 or later
    • Word Stairs 8: Week 8 or later
  • WordWorks! App. Parents can download the WordWorks! App to access word work activities that directly connect to Word Study. Teachers will need to provide guidance on what activities are appropriate for their students.

Being a Writer

  • Set aside time daily for writing.
    • Ask students to write about their day.
    • Ask students to write about books they are reading.
    • Have students observe a plant or tree (or other object) closely and write about your observations.
    • Encourage your child to write everyday items:
      • Grocery lists
      • Things to do today
      • Letter to ____
      • A persuasive letter to you explaining why they need more time for any activity they want to do (for example, online games or TV)
    • Include “Writing Ideas” charts created during class lessons.
    • Continue to support students by conferring 1:1 about their writing.
    • Consider what previously taught Extension activities or Writing About Reading opportunities could be extended or adapted for students to work on independently at home.
    • Print or share previously taught writing skill practice pages from the Student Skill Practice Book.

SIPPS

  • Best Practices in Teaching SIPPS Remotely (Revised 4.7.2020)
  • Provide students the opportunity to individually practice phonological awareness for Beginning and Extension.
    • Locate the Beginning and Extension Phonological Awareness document in the SIPPS section of the Teacher Resources webpage.
    • Review the video.
    • Consider the SIPPS level and lesson of the student. 
    • Select one video for students to practice phonological awareness per day.
    • Select a different video for each day on instruction. 
    • Center for the Collaborative Classroom wants to extend our deepest gratitude to Abby Doss and Sara Hutchinson Elementary Literacy TOSAs, Sioux Falls School District, South Dakota
  • Provide students the opportunity to individually review spelling-sounds and word reading for Beginning and Extension. Locate the Beginning and Extension Spelling-Sound, Decodable Words, Mixed List document in the SIPPS section of the Teacher Resources webpage.
    • Review the video.
    • Consider the SIPPS level and lesson of the student.
    • Select one video for students to review spelling-sounds.
    • For students in Beginning Level, select one video for students to review decodable words.
    • For students in Extension Level, select one video for students to review word reading using a mixed list.
    • Select a different video for each day of instruction.
    • Center for the Collaborative Classroom wants to extend our deepest gratitude to Abby Doss and Sara Hutchinson Elementary Literacy TOSAs, Sioux Falls School District, South Dakota
  • Provide the reproducible sight word dictionary for Beginning, Extension, and Plus levels.
    • Highlight words the students have been taught so they can review and reference the words when reading and writing.
    • Ask students to make a card for each word using index cards.
      • Use the read-spell-read routine to practice the sight words.
      • See the additional activities offered above (in the section Tips for Parents and Families) for practicing high frequency words at home.
    • Provide students with the PDF of the previously learning stories for students to read and read from the Beginning, Extension and Plus levels. Students might:
      • Use a free PDF mark up app (such as Markup) to annotate and highlight in these texts. It might be fun to revisit texts and look for sight words.
      • Write another story about the characters.
      • Look for words that have the newly learned spelling pattern.
      • Play a memory game with words from the story.
    • Provide parents/caregivers guidance for supporting their child to reinforce previously learned instruction. Locate and review the sample parent letters for grades 1, 2 and 3 in the Additional Resources section of the Teacher Resources webpage. Consider how you might intentionally create a resource to support parents/caregivers in reinforcing previous learning.
      • Center for the Collaborative Classroom would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Monica Bennett, Elementary Language Arts and PALS Instructional Specialist, Virginia Beach Public Schools, VA.
        • Note: Virginia Beach Public Schools wrote the parent letters to support remote learning for their PALS identified students who are receiving SIPPS as an intervention.
    • For Beginning, Extension, and Plus levels, provide the spelling-sound charts to support students as they are reading and writing at home.
    • For Challenge level students, provide the irregular sight syllable chart and/or spelling sound chart to support them as they are reading and writing at home.
    • Tip: For access to PDFs of the Spelling-Sound and Sight Word Cards for Beginning, Extension, and Challenge Levels, please go to the Teacher Resources webpage.