Catlin Tucker

Design a Choose Your Own Adventure Learning Experience

Catlin Tucker

It’s only two months into the school year, and teachers are exhausted. This year has made everyone, regardless of their years of experience, feel like a brand new teacher. Teachers are designing learning experiences for a range of learning landscapes.

Support Online Learning with Powerful Thinking Routines

Catlin Tucker

Project Zero at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has created a collection of Core Thinking Routines as part of their Visible Thinking Project. Teachers can view the entire collection on the Project Zero website , where each routine is described in detail (e.g.,

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Back to Basics: Lesson Planning for the Concurrent Classroom

Catlin Tucker

Teachers juggling the concurrent classroom with some students physically attending class and others joining remotely via video conferencing are trying to balance the demands of teaching in two learning landscapes simultaneously.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous: How to Design for Each Type of Learning

Catlin Tucker

This school year will look very different for most teachers. Some are beginning entirely online and others are returning to school on a modified schedule where they will only see students in person a couple of days a week.

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SplashLearn Makes Learning Fun and Creates Fearless Learners

Loved by more than 30 million kids, SplashLearn is a game-based learning program that creates engaging learning experiences to nurture a generation of fearless learners. SplashLearn is the fastest growing elementary school math program in the US, used by more than 440,000 teachers in about 77,000 schools across the United States.

10 Strategies Designed to Engage Elementary Students Online

Catlin Tucker

A few weeks ago, I published a blog titled “ 8 Ideas Designed to Engage Students In Active Learning Online.” ” I had several elementary teachers request that I work on a similar blog focused on younger learners.

A Flipped Learning Flow for Blended or Online Classes

Catlin Tucker

As teachers prepare for a new school year, many are brushing up on their video production skills. Teachers know there will be times when they will need to lean on videos to allow students to access information asynchronously. Video has several benefits in a blended or online course.

The Concurrent Classroom: Using Blended Learning Models to Teach Students In-person and Online Simultaneously

Catlin Tucker

Teachers all over the country are being asked to teach “concurrent classrooms” in which some students attend class in person and others attend virtually. The teacher in a concurrent classroom attempts to meet the needs of the students in class and online simultaneously.

8 Ideas Designed to Engage Students In Active Learning Online

Catlin Tucker

I’ve spent the last four months working with teachers all over the country (virtually, of course) as they navigate the uncharted waters of online and blended learning. The majority of teachers I have spoken with did not enjoy their initial experiences with distance learning. A big issue for many teachers was a general lack of student engagement online.

Station Rotation in an Era of Social Distancing

Catlin Tucker

Teachers are preparing for an uncertain future. Many are unsure if they will be returning to school on a traditional schedule, a blended learning schedule, or completely online. Teachers are questioning how the instructional strategies they have used in the past will work if students are coming to school on a modified schedule or if they are learning online.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Universal Design for Learning and Blended Learning: Action and Expression

Catlin Tucker

In my last blog, I focused on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principle of representation. I described how blended and online learning can help educators provide opportunities for students to perceived and engage with information presented in multiple modalities.

Universal Design for Learning and Blended Learning: Engagement

Catlin Tucker

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that is based on a scientific understanding of how people learn. The goal of UDL is to design “barrier-free, instructionally rich learning environments and lessons that provide access to all students” (Nelson, 2).

Offline Choice Boards: How Are You Integrating Offline Learning into Your Online Class?

Catlin Tucker

Schools in California will not reopen this year. Teachers are scrambling to move their offline courses online to ensure that students continue learning for the remainder of the school year. Understandably, the focus is on online learning as that is a new and unfamiliar learning landscape for a lot of educators. I am fielding questions about how to set up online courses , design online lessons , and offer small group instruction and support via video conferencing.

3 Ways to Use Video Conferencing with Students Learning Remotely

Catlin Tucker

Thank goodness for Zoom and Google Hangouts! During this time of social isolation and remote learning, these video conferencing tools are lifesavers. They make it possible for teachers to maintain a human connection with their students and guide their learning from a distance. Below are three suggestions for using these video conferencing platforms to continue teaching students as they learn remotely. #1 1 Small Group Instruction.

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7 Benefits of Lesson Plans in the Cloud

What if teachers didn’t have to lug tons of paperwork with them to and from work? Having lesson plans available anywhere is just one of the advantages.

The Building Blocks of an Online Lesson

Catlin Tucker

Even though teaching online may feel like a different animal than teaching face-to-face, there are many similarities in terms of the building blocks of a lesson. The tools teachers use to engage students online are indeed different. It is also true that engaging students in learning activities online will require (at least initially) that teachers onboard students to those technology tools and support them in learning how to navigate online tasks.

Tips for Designing an Online Lesson Using the 5 Es Instructional Model

Catlin Tucker

Covid 19 has educators and educational institutions worried about and preparing for possible school closures. What happens if students have to stay home for days or even weeks? How can we keep them learning remotely? What strategies and technology tools can teachers leverage to take their traditional classes online? I have fielded multiple questions about the best ways to engage students and leverage online learning tools if schools close for a period of time.

Preparing for Fall 2020: Blended and Online Learning

Catlin Tucker

2020-2021 promises to be an unpredictable school year. Most of the teachers I know, including my husband and most of my friends, are not sure whether they will be returning to school on a hybrid schedule or teaching entirely online. That is making it a challenge to prepare for the new school year.

Traits of a Successful Online Teacher

Catlin Tucker

Last week, I had the good fortune of stumbling onto John Savery’s article titled “BE VOCAL: Characteristics of Successful Online Instructors” in which he talks about the unique challenges facing teachers who are working with students in the online environment. Savery uses the acronym VOCAL to emphasize five specific traits that a successful online teacher must possess.

Why Families Leave Schools

Do you know three of the biggest reasons families leave schools? Here they are – and what you can do about it.

3 Strategies for Personalizing Feedback Online

Catlin Tucker

Feedback is one of the most powerful tools teachers have in their “teaching toolbelts” for guiding learners toward mastery. Without feedback, students do not have a clear sense of what they are doing well, what they need to focus on, and what they can do to improve. Despite the power of timely and actionable feedback, it is easy to neglect. Providing feedback is time-consuming and often takes a back seat to other aspects of our work.

Student Agency: What Do Students Want to Create to Demonstrate Their Learning?

Catlin Tucker

In my blog post titled “ 3 Ways to Build Student Agency into Your Lessons ,” I encouraged teachers to design lessons that allow students to make key decisions about their learning. Student agency is one of the easiest ways that teachers can begin to personalize learning.

What Does Blended Learning Look Like in an AP Class?

Catlin Tucker

Can teachers who are teaching an AP course use blended learning models and cover the extensive curriculum? I get asked this question frequently as a blended learning coach. My answer is a resounding “Yes!” In this guest post, Cori Schwarzrock shares her experience using blended learning models in her AP psychology course. Over the past few years, I have been involved in the implementation of blended learning in my district.

Simple Exercise: Help Students Analyze Their Growth Over Time

Catlin Tucker

Students rarely recognize how much progress they are making over the course of a semester or school year. Their school days tend to be a blur of information, assignments, and activities. However, if students do not appreciate their growth over time, it may be harder to understand the value of the work they are doing or stay motivated.

How Online Admissions Affect Enrollment Rates

Discover the top five reasons your school’s admissions should be online.

7 Strategies Designed to Increase Student Engagement in Synchronous Online Discussions Using Video Conferencing

Catlin Tucker

One of the primary roles that a teacher plays in an online class is the facilitation of learning. Facilitation is the teacher’s ability to clearly communicate learning objectives and support learners as they make progress toward those objectives.

5 Tips for Teaching Online

Catlin Tucker

As teachers embrace their new roles as designers, instructors, and facilitators of online learning, many are grappling the details associated with teaching remotely. It can be daunting to think about how to present information online, when and where to post assignments, how much to assign, and when to expect that work to be completed. Below are five lessons I learned as an online professor that helped me to adapt to and navigate the challenge of teaching online. #1

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Health and Wellness Choice Boards for Teachers and Students

Catlin Tucker

On Saturday, I wrote a blog sharing an offline choice board teachers can use to blend offline activities into their online classes. On Twitter, Barbara McInnes suggested teachers add a wellness activity to their offline choice boards. I loved her suggestion and immediately started working on a choice board dedicated to health and wellness activities. I asked my good friend, Dr. Maria Hersey , to lend her expertise around social-emotional learning to this project.

Ask Yourself, Why Am I Grading This?

Catlin Tucker

“If I don’t grade it, students won’t do it.” ” This reasoning leaves teachers with piles of work to grade, but I wonder how much of that time spent assigning points to student work results in improved student performance. I fell into this trap at the start of my teaching career. I gave points for completing annotations, bringing books to class, and completing homework. By the end of the semester, I had over a hundred assignments in my grade book.

K-12 Private School Student Information System Buying Guide

Too many private schools are still using clunky, outdated systems, causing unnecessary stress and wasted time. That’s why it’s vital for them to invest in modern products and services purposefully designed for private K-12 education.

Post-Lesson Reflection: What Do Students Think They Learned?

Catlin Tucker

In the last two blogs, I have focused on strategies teachers can use to 1) assess prior knowledge before a lesson and 2) check for understanding during a lesson. I’ve suggested that teachers build mechanisms into their lessons to collect formative assessment data. That way, they can use that data to design learning experiences that better meet the needs of their students. The third piece to this puzzle is a post-lesson reflection.

Blending Online and Offline Learning: Exploring Hybrid Schedules

Catlin Tucker

School districts are grappling with how to resume school safely in the fall. I’ve followed international news about how schools in Europe and Aisa are reopening slowly. Schools are implementing a range of hybrid schedules to reduce the number of students in a classroom at one time. Schools are experimenting with a variety of alternative schedules. I am concerned about the number of schools in the United States that have not articulated a clear plan for reopening.

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3 Ways to Build Student Agency into Your Lessons

Catlin Tucker

Although many teachers recognize the importance of making students active agents in the classroom, it is easy to overlook student agency when we plan our lessons. However, the ability to make key decisions about their learning is a powerful motivator for students. If they are invited to tailor the learning to their interests, decide how to approach a problem, or determine what they will create, it makes them feel valued as individual learners.

Flipped Classroom 101: Challenges, Benefits & Design Tips

Catlin Tucker

The flipped classroom m odel shifts the transfer of information online and moves practice and application into the classroom. Classically, the transfer of information has occurred in class via lecture and practice has been assigned for homework. The value of this inversion is that students can pace their progress through a video (pausing, rewinding, rewatching). They also have the benefit of a supportive peer group and the subject-area expert as they attempt to apply new information.

Inspiring K12 : Creating the Joy of Reading and Self-Directed Learning in the Digital Era

Personalized teaching of reading at the K-12 level can help imbue pleasure and interest in reading and the development of a reading habit, even among digital natives. A personalized approach works better than the systematic teaching of the entire class.