These are trying days we are currently living through.  With many schools closed for an indefinite period of time, students need to learn at home.  Which means teachers are placed in the difficult position of providing at home learning on super short notice.  If you are a teacher, I wanted to give you some ideas about instruction for when students stay home.  These are things you can do to help your students and their parents continue their children’s education as we navigate this new situation.  I hope this list helps you get through this challenging time!

8 Instruction Ideas When Students Stay Home

1. Listen to recorded read alouds

listening to recorded read aloudsReading aloud to students is such an important part of the school day (especially for younger students).  When students need to stay home, this crucial element can easily be forgotten.  But your kiddos still need to hear fluent reading!  You can get around this by assigning your students to listen to recorded read alouds.  Youtube has TONS of read alouds available or you could record some yourself.  The books could be picture books or even chapter books where you send out a video of a chapter each day!

2. Send home games or activities that students can use repeatedly

self-correcting puzzle exampleThink of it like doing centers at home!  You can send home prepped Board Game examplegames and activities (if you thought of it ahead of time) or send them out to parents to print at home.  Either way, games and activities that students can do over and over again are a great option because they can use these as much or little as needed!  When students are staying home, self-correcting puzzles or games with an answer key are helpful because students can check their own answers.  Games and activities are also waaaaay more fun than just sending a packet of worksheets.  Check out my TpT store for some great options!

3. Use Google Docs (or other online sharing programs) to work on writing

typing on computerWorking on writing is a perfect activity when students are staying home because they are likely to have more time and more quiet than in the classroom (although not always, depending on home situations).  Google Docs and other online sharing platforms allow you to distribute instructions to your students and keep in touch with them about the progress on their pieces while they work from home.  This is also a great opportunity to provide individual feedback to your kiddos!

4. Record instructional videos for students to watch at home

This one seems like kind of a no-brainer, but if you want to introduce new content, you can record videos for your students to watch at home.  Here are a few ways to get the videos to your kids:

  • Make a private YouTube channel for just your class (Bonus: students can leave comments to engage with the material and you can respond as well!)
  • Upload your video to Edpuzzle (Bonus: Edpuzzle allows you to add multiple-choice and open-ended questions for students to answer as they watch, then you have access to their answers!!)
  • Email your videos to your class
  • Upload your videos to Google Classroom or other shared online spaces you have with your class

5. Use online programs that you can monitor

Online programs are great at-home learning opportunities, especially if you have already used them in the classroom and you receive feedback on your kids’ progress (such as Lexia, Dreambox, or IXL).  Many programs allow to assign certain topics or a specific number of minutes for kids to complete, so you can have some control over what they do at home.  Plus, kids will always appreciate the chance to use technology, even if it is for learning!

children using computer program

6. Give parents online resources for practice

There are TONS of online education sites (and lots of them are FREE!) that kids can use to practice skills while they are at home.  Although they may not be as helpful to you as the programs you can monitor, these websites are still a great way for kids to continue learning while they stay home.  Some of my favorites are ABC Mouse, Spelling City, Prodigy, Readworks, and Scholastic. Check out this awesome list of free online learning sites to get you started!

7. Do test prep and review activities

Skills based graphic organizers previewSince introducing new content is difficult when kids are at home instead of in the classroom, this a perfect time to assign test prep and review.  Use this time to have kids really solidify what you have taught so far, and they will come back ready to rock the new material.  Check out my TpT store for some comprehensive, ready-to-use review packs for math, reading, and language!

8. Have kids READ….but provide some sort of accountability

child readingObviously, reading is a wonderful at-home activity and is so important for our kids to do in and out of school.  If you want to make sure your kids are reading AND make it a little more fun, give your students some sort of accountability (check out this post for more ideas about independent reading accountability).  You as the teacher can provide the accountability, or you can delegate to parents.  Either way, make it something FUN and MOTIVATING!

Genre Jigsaw Puzzle exampleSome ideas are:

  • reading log with incentives
  • genre jigsaw puzzle (get it for FREE here)
  • email you when they finish a book or read a certain amount of time, then you send them a funny or encouraging message back
  • daily reading graph with incentives

Tips for Instruction When Students Stay Home

  • Keep in mind your students’ home life situation.  Some assignments and activities might not be appropriate for students in different situations.
  • Consider whether your students have online access at home.
  • Provide incentives for completing work and assignments at home.
  • Stay in touch with parents and students as much as possible.
  • Be flexible!  Instruction will not look the same as in the classroom, and that is 100% okay!

I hope these ideas and tips help keep the learning going when your kids need to stay home!  If you have any other suggestions or feedback about instruction ideas when students stay home, please leave a comment below or send me an email.  Good luck and stay healthy!