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How to Pace Your Lessons for Hybrid Instruction

A 5-Part Lesson Strategy for In-Person, Virtual, and Hybrid Classes

By Laura Boyd, Educator

I have adapted teaching my content in a very strategic way by breaking up my lesson into five parts. This has allowed me to transition from in-person teaching to hybrid and virtual at ease. Each of these lesson parts provides multiple ways for my learners to meaningfully engage with the content. Additionally, I have a set amount of time for each part of the lesson to make sure the lesson pacing is swift and the students stay engaged.

Part 1: The Warm-Up

The warm-up takes five minutes and is an opportunity for students to get their brains ready for learning in my middle school Spanish class. There are usually five questions, which are a review from the previous class. This only takes five minutes and allows me to also log onto Zoom and greet kids at the door. All students, regardless if they are learning at home or in person, are engaged and getting ready for the day together. I chose to use a Google Form where students answer questions and then I am able to download their responses into an Excel spreadsheet. Students know what is expected of them from the moment they either walk into the classroom or log onto Zoom. Having a daily warm-up also gets students in the routine to complete this at the start of class.

Part 2: Direct Whole-Group Instruction

Introduction to new material is the second part of the lesson when I am providing direct whole group instruction. This usually takes between ten and fifteen minutes. Students are all logged onto Zoom and receive the instruction either from me live or watch a pre-recorded video via Screencastify. It is important that all students are receiving the same instruction with the new material. They also can go back and watch the recorded Zoom/Screencastify videos on our Google Classroom. This has been extremely helpful when students are quarantined or out of school for extended periods of time. Also, I didn’t have to record two times which saved me an immense amount of time in terms of instructional planning. Students also were able to rewatch the video if they needed to review the material.

Part 3: Pair Collaboration

Pair Collaboration is the part of the lesson when students are provided opportunities to interact with one another and the material. This usually lasts about ten minutes. I use Pear Deck Flashcard Factory, Quizlet Live, and Zoom Breakout Rooms. This is great for building community among all students. They get to talk to one another and practice the material with a peer. This has really helped both students in person and at home stay connected. Zoom Breakout Rooms are helpful for random grouping and allow students to interact with many different peers throughout the year.

I also promoted student choice and voice through this time. For example, students were able to work by themselves, with me, with a pair, or in groups of five or more. I wanted to allow them to choose their own learning room and give them a choice. This has been beneficial for students who like more intimate settings rather than whole-group activities. When we return in person, I still implement the same kind of centers where students will be able to choose which area of the room they want to go to. I also found it beneficial to allow students to choose and they often thrived when they could choose first rather than being assigned a room by me.

Part 4: Independent Work

Independent Work is when students have had time to work with the material enough and it’s time for them to complete independently. I use Quizizz and Google Forms to provide meaningful experiences to learn the material. Quizizz is a very interactive educational technology tool that has students answer a series of questions in the format of a team, individual, or test mode. Through these online quizzes, students get immediate feedback if they are answering the question correctly or not. Furthermore, as the teacher, I am able to download student- and entire-class accuracy. Students also create their own Google Forms and complete the ones I make. Through these forms, I am able to collect data and offer feedback, per question per student. Furthermore, students can create a study guide of questions and answers based on the lesson. These are great ways to show what they know!

Part 5: Reflection

Exit Ticket-Reflection is the final part of the lesson which lasts for five minutes. During this time students reflect on their learning and answer a series of questions pertaining to the daily lesson. Students usually record a brief Flipgrid video alongside with PlayDoh (visual representation of the lesson) on what they learned and how they felt the lesson went. Through these data points, I am better able to serve the needs of my students and refine my lesson to better improve student outcomes.

Through in-person, virtual, and hybrid teaching I have learned that it is important to provide consistency to students and keep routines in place as much as possible. The five aspects of the lesson allow students to stay engaged and interact with each other in meaningful ways.

Laura Boyd completed the two-year Teach for America program in Memphis, Tennessee. Laura currently holds a master’s degree in education with a focus on world language and Spanish and is starting her ninth year as a Spanish teacher for the Franklin Special School District. Laura is a technology presenter at the district, local, and state levels and has a passion for a classroom that produces superior learning as well as student engagement.

To be reminded why your work is so very important and for more stories and advice, visit our collection of teacher perspectives at The Art of Teaching.

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