Distance Learning – Tips on navigating this strange, new ‘normal’

Marc Andrew is a primary school teacher who loves using technology to support learning and teaching.
Education Scotland’s Professional Learning and Leadership Team offered Marc the opportunity to share his experience with a wider audience via a blog where he shares some of the key lessons he learned from his first week of teaching from home.

There are some great tips for communicating with parents whose first language is not English.

Watch the video to hear Marc discuss his top ten tips for teachers supporting home learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

EEF Blog: supporting parents to undertake brilliant book talk

Schools already encourage parents to read with their children , but additional tips, support, and resources can make a significant difference to making it more effective. Research evidence indicates that promoting the development of reading habits with parents is worth our effort.
Access the EEF blog here to read how schools can offer parents accessible tips to engage in sustained, effective book talk.

#ExcitingWriting: TeachStarter’s online writing resource. Write a letter of appreciation or support

This is a collection of 10  greeting cards with matching letter templates. These cards are ideal to send to the elderlyessential workers or to anyone who is feeling isolated and lonely. You can use the FREE Online Lesson Builder to create a lesson online for remote learning.You can write a short description of the task, upload the card and letter templates and then share it with students who are learning from home.

You could also build this into a collaborative project by  asking learners to plan and initiate (safely) a community card collection to support the elderly and isolated :receiving a card could give them the hope and determination that they need to get through these challenging times. Cards/letters could also be sent to key workers.

Learners could:

  • design a persuasive poster to encourage members of the community to take part
  • research the location and contact details of care homes in their local area
  • assign tasks and organise collection and delivery ( with appropriate safety measures)


Access the free resources here

Please let us know how your learners have used this resource. Share here on the blog or via Twitter @fvwlriclit

A 5-Step Guide to Making Your Own Videos: boosting learners’ engagement

This model, built around self-made videos that empowered students at all levels to learn at their own pace and build mastery skill-by-skill, was originally developed by  high school teachers pre-COVID . The teachers used these screencast-style videos:

  • To replace traditional lecture-style direct instruction, freeing them  up to work directly with individual students;
  • To give directions for projects and other complex tasks; and
  • To provide remediation on skills that students might need to practice.

Click here to see example of a short video on inference. It  introduces an important concept, provides several examples, and gives the students a task—all in just over 4 minutes.

Access the full article here.

Please share  your  results via the blog or @fvwlriclit

EEF : support resources for schools


To help support home learning and maximise the impact of work set, the EEF has produced some initial planning and reflection tools. EEF intends to draw upon the expertise of schools, further developing resources that can help everyone ‘bounce back’ when schools do re-open.

The EEF research underpins the RIC Literacy plan and these resources draw existing evidence together. There is, for example, support  for home reading/talking  that can be accessed via the “Communicating Effectively with Families”  section.

There is also a checklist/flowchart that makes recommendations for disadvantaged learners/families with  supporting links . Many of  the recommendations  will be familiar as they are  integral to the effective pedagogy underpinning the RIC Literacy Academy’s programmes .

There are, of course , the usual links to resources  but  there are also very useful  frameworks  for texts to parents that provide unpatronising advice about supporting learning at home. They also provide good advice about  how to minimise the  flow of information to parents/carers, especially those with limited access to the internet or  difficulties with data usage and cost. The advice also provides guidance about managing  expectations re work/study at home.

Resources available here include:

Please share via this blog or  Twitter @fvwlriclit  how you have used these resources.

CLPL for #ExcitingWriting: ready when you are!

During the Easter holidays, Jane Considine, author of “The Write Stuff” livestreamed Youtube CLPL writing sessions to help develop the teaching of writing every weekday at 7:30pm .

Free, recorded sessions are available via the links below.

Each session  focuses on one aspect of writing and lasts for approximately 45-60 mins.

These sessions have been recorded for practitioner use only: pyjamas and prosecco CLPL!

Please let us know  how you get on with  these #ExcitingWriting  resources via @fvwlriclit or comments here  on the blog.

Session 1: demonstration writing  

Session 2 : the three zones of writing

Session 3: the ideas of writing

Session 4: the grammar of writing

Session 5: the techniques of writing

Session 6: narrative unit of work

Session 7: non-fiction 

Session 8: independent writing

Session 9: the writing lesson

Session 10: the greater depth writer

CLPL: Microsoft’s Flipgrid, a useful tool for engaging learners, encouraging creativity and capturing responses to remote learning tasks



Would you like your learners to showcase their learning or  the reading they’ve been doing by sharing booktalks? Give Flipgrid a try!

NB Please remember to check your Authority’s advice about sharing images and anonymising learners before using.

Access information about Flipgrid here



Literacy CLPL : a one -hour course to support working with your learners using Teams

When you are ready to move your use of Teams on, click here to access a one-hour online course called “Crafting a collaborative learning environment with Class Teams.”

Edutopia: 4 Tips for Teachers Shifting to Teaching Online

An educator with experience in distance learning shares what he’s learned: keep it simple, and build in as much contact as possible.
“The coronavirus has caused widespread school closures for an unknown duration. Teachers are scrambling to find ways to support students from afar through distance and online learning. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this daunting task, you’re certainly not alone.

I’ve also struggled to reach students outside of class. For several years, I taught in communities where students struggled to attend school consistently. To help absent students access my courses, I developed a blended, self-paced, mastery-based instructional model that empowered all my students to learn, whether they were in my room or not. Today, I run The Modern Classrooms Project, where I help other teachers do the same.”
Read the article here