The Year of Online Learning: Remote Teaching Tips from 5 Educator Influencers

Online Learning Day blog

Introducing five educator influencers you need to meet! Clockwise from upper left: Bianca Cole, LaNesha Tabb, Eric Sheninger, Amy Mascott, and CJ Reynolds

2020 is shaping up to be the year of online learning. Would you ever have guessed how much remote learning would become a part of our everyday lives?

Families, kids, and teachers all long for the days of safe and consistent in-person interaction. While challenges persist, in many ways we are lucky that we even have the option to teach kids remotely! For those who don’t have access to technology or reliable Wi-Fi, it has brought inequities and untold challenges to light.

We want to honor educators who are offering support to colleagues in their district or the entire online teaching community as they face remote teaching during COVID-19. We also want to celebrate the indefatigable teachers who, in many cases, went home on a Friday like normal—and didn’t set foot in their classroom for the rest of the year. They had to pivot to remote teaching on systems that were often ad hoc and unfamiliar.

We’d like to introduce you to some of the great teachers whose instructional strategies we feature within Teacher's Corner on HMH’s learning platform. To step up your online learning game this year, take a look at what some of your colleagues are up to.

CJ Reynolds is a blogger and high school literature teacher at an all-boys charter school in inner-city Philadelphia. He’s also what nearly every student you know aspires to be—a YouTuber! His videos on teaching will keep you entertained and inspire memorable lessons. CJ walks you through how to do a green-screen background to make it look like you’re teaching from Mount Rushmore or a woodland populated with unicorns. If you’re looking to spice up your virtual classroom, check it out:

Amy Mascott is a former high school English teacher and currently a Reading Specialist. She's the creator of the blog, and author of Raising a Rock-Star Reader and Setting the Stage for Rock Star Readers. Watch her share how to get ready for the new school year, especially if it’s going to be remote. It’s not easy to build a bridge between home and school under normal circumstances, and Amy breaks down how to connect with students and build relationships from behind a screen.

Click the image below to watch Amy's video.

Bianca Cole is a middle school special education teacher, mom, and blogger. She recently joined us on Teachers in America to talk about her remote classroom experiences at the end of last school year. We heard how she had to quickly familiarize herself with two learning platforms—both the one her school was using and the one her son’s school was using. On her teacher lifestyle blog B Like Bianca, she recently provided tips on how to build classroom relationships virtually. Read her advice on using GIFs to engage kids and learn how to play “Get to Know Me Bingo” virtually.

Bianca blog2

LaNesha Tabb is a kindergarten teacher and mom from Indianapolis. She is the creator of the blog Education with an Apron. This year, she found out the day before school started that more families than expected suddenly opted to keep their kids at home—and she had no choice but to dive into remote teaching. With 40 kindergarteners in her virtual classroom, LaNesha serves as teacher, puppet master (his name is Piper Puppy!), and customer service rep to parents who are experiencing technical difficulties. Her video about her virtual teaching experience is a must-see for early childhood and elementary school teachers. She believes that you cannot take exactly what you do at school and do it virtually. You have to have a different strategy. The big takeaway: Flexibility is the name of the game, and there’s no such thing as over-communication.

Finally, we leave you with insights for developing asynchronous learning tasks from Eric Sheninger, a former principal and current ICLE Associate Partner. He offers practical strategies that bolster “both independent and collaborative work when structured the right way while supporting critical competencies such as self-management, creativity, inquiry, and teamwork.”

Sheninger blog


Stay tuned next month as we introduce you to more of the amazing teachers from Teacher's Corner!

This blog post was updated in September 2020.

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