The Missouri Reader WINTER ISSUE Vol. 44, Issue 1 - Page 15






Annemarie Jay and Harry Mercurio

Adjusting to the Pandemic:

Instructional Changes During an Extraordinary Global Challenge

Rebekah E. Piper

Laurie A. Sharp, Ed.D.

Roberta D. Raymond, Ed.D.

Mary Jo Fresch

A combination of synchronous versus asynchronous learning took place as teachers became used to this new temporary norm in remote education. Regardless of the situation, both students and parents wanted to see teachers either through live or recorded sessions and meetings. Even though the focus became the essentials of reading/language arts and mathematics, teaching practices had to allow for differentiation of student readiness levels for both remediation and enrichment. Although Tomlinson’s research (2017) preceded today’s widespread remote learning during the pandemic, her work advocates the necessary implementation of differentiation techniques as critical for every teacher’s toolbox. Her work seems relevant to the remote teaching and learning of diverse learners that is happening now. Some elementary teachers, using both live and recorded sessions, approached language arts lessons using a workshop model, with a whole group recorded instructional session, followed by small group live sessions that were needs based. Thus, a combination of whole group, small group, and individualized instruction attempted to meet the needs of all children.

Lessons Using A Differentiated Model During Remote Instruction

Transitioning from in-person classroom instruction to remote instruction was successful for teachers who were able to differentiate instruction while using technology to deliver instruction to their students’ homes. A basic goal of remote learning is to make the teaching-learning situation similar to what would take place in a classroom. Following are five examples of differentiated learning via remote instruction that were used by elementary teachers in a northeastern state. Teachers are encouraged to adapt these examples for their own on-line instruction.

Example 1: Math

Whole-group instruction took place for fourth graders when the teacher pre-recorded sessions of a concept of a new topic (mean, median, mode, and range) which lasted approximately twenty minutes. After viewing the recording, students had the opportunity to process the content and to practice with the teacher guiding their attempts. The work from the practice sessions was either self-checked (if the teacher provided an answer key) or, for students who struggled with any or all of the content, small group live sessions addressed their individual needs. After viewing, follow-up consisted of small group live sessions to fix-up or reinforce students’ conceptual understanding. Therefore, whole group, small group, and individualized teaching and learning were effectively addressed with the tools used for remote instruction.

Example #2: Reading Skill

The teacher introduced and modeled the use of an expository text comprehension skill, facts/questions/response (FQR) (Harvey & Goudvis, 2017). This lesson was presented live (although it could have been pre-recorded). The teacher modeled FQR first and then engaged students with the skill while gradually releasing responsibility to them. The children were guided by the teacher and worked along with him prior to independent application of the skill with an informational article. For other students needed more practice, the teacher provided additional models until she felt those students could adequately apply the skill themselves. Then, the students posted their responses on the on-line platform’s discussion board which enabled class discussion and teacher assessment of their learning.