Our 21 Most Popular Pandemic Posts

Here are our 16 21 most-read posts with pandemic themes, beginning March 15, 2020. The first two have been wildly popular (about 75,000 reads each). Each of the others had thousands of visits, retweets and shares. Check out our summaries and explore at will. There’s plenty here to help with fall planning and teaching.

5 Virtual Teaching Strategies We’re Using

As the number of schools worldwide offering distance learning expands in response to the COVID19 outbreak, middle grades teacher Tan Huynh details how his Saigon international school developed one-to-one online learning for students after physical school ended on February 3.

Students’ Journals Could Be ‘Primary Sources’

The global pandemic “will be in the history books, won’t it?” Absolutely, 8th grade teacher Lauren Brown told her students. She’s devised a simple home assignment – students create a ‘primary source’ for future historians by jotting down their questions, concerns and observations. See her suggested prompts to get kids started.

Remote Teaching with Engaging Infographics

Middle school teacher Jeremy Hyler likes the power of infographics to engage students and differentiate instruction in science and ELA classes. Drawing on his recent book Ask, Explore, Write! An Inquiry-Driven Approach to Science and Literacy Learning, Hyler shares some remote teaching ideas.

7 Skills Students Need for Distance Learning

Middle grades kids are returning to school from many different developmental places. Distance learning this fall will demand skills students will need to learn effectively but mostly don’t have yet. School leader Jody Passanisi shares strategies to build 7 essential skills.

Eight Strategies to Quickly Assess Prior Knowledge

Find out what your student do and don’t know before the lesson begins. This post by Barbara Blackburn is the exception to our March 2020 start date. It was published on 12/31/17 and has nearly 40,000 reads since – including a big surge of popularity over the past five months.

How We Reopened: Spaces, Schedules and Systems

As schools investigated safe measures for reopening for summer school or fall classes, educator Tan Huynh shared the specific protocols put into place at his international K-12 school in Saigon – with details about classroom spacing, traffic flow, and careful hygiene. As Tan notes, Vietnam’s number of cases remained low due to strict compliance with safety measures.

Using Flipgrid & Edmodo with Google Classroom

As many of us found ourselves thrust into the realm of distance learning, Marilyn Pryle details how she uses two online platforms, Edmodo and Flipgrid, for intellectual and social/emotional learning. Marilyn Pryle was the 2019 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, is an NBCT, and the author of seven books from Scholastic and Heinemann.

5 Strategies to Teach SEL Online (or In Person)

Social-emotional learning is not a program we add on; it’s a mindset we teach with. Tan Huynh unpacks five strategies recommended by the Institute for Positive Education that can help teachers cultivate an SEL mindset, whether we’re teaching in physical or virtual spaces.

Launching a School Year in Uncertain Times

Amid the uncertainty facing teachers and principals this fall, Ronald Williamson and Barbara R. Blackburn offer strategies to keep the safety of students and staff uppermost, to communicate often with your school community, and to sustain your school’s culture.

Supporting Kids Who Are Learning Offline

School closures have made learning more challenging. For students without access to technology, this challenge might seem insurmountable. Tan Huynh looks at some ways teachers are reaching language learners who don’t have regular access to tech tools or the internet.

Searching for Virtual Teaching’s Silver Lining

Amid global fear and the incredible teaching and learning challenges generated by the pandemic, Cheryl Mizerny decided to take Mr. Rogers’ advice and “look for the helpers.” Here is her list of six silver linings she’s discovered as her school supports virtual students.

Becoming the Virtual Teacher My Students Need Me to Be

In March, when her physical classroom vanished, NBCT Kathie Palmieri knew she had to once again embrace her career-long passion for professional growth. Here’s how she tapped into best practice research and her own skill set to design online learning that kept kids and parents engaged.

In Covid Teaching Limbo? Check Out Hyperdocs.

How can teachers plan successfully this summer when they don’t know what teaching will be like in the fall? That’s the question ELA/science teacher Jeremy Hyler was pondering back in June. He decided to invest time creating lessons driven by Hyperdocs – a flexible strategy he can use face to face, online, or in a blend.

The Virtues of Teaching Middle School Online

Middle schools and their students are special. By design, grade 6-8 schools are intended to be communities, organized in houses or teams as the kids are exploring themselves and their world. All this helps in the leap to online school, says teacher Laurie Lichtenstein.

UDL: The Perfect Planning Tool for School This Fall

As we consider what school will look like this fall, teaching coach Elizabeth Stein shows how the Universal Design for Learning gives educators flexibility to teach effectively within and without any learning space – fully in person, fully remote, or using a hybrid model.

4 Buckets Manage ALL Our Virtual School Tech

As you swim furiously in the tsunami of ed-tech recommendations shared lately on social media, think “less is more.” You probably don’t need more tech apps; you need to do more with the apps you have. Tan Huynh divides his tools into four buckets, tied to learning objectives.

Survey: What Kids Said about Remote Learning

Responding to a survey by Rita Platt, middle schoolers in grades 5-8 reveal what worked and what didn’t for them during their spring of virtual learning – more freedom and free time warred with tech glitches, months without friends, and less time with teachers. Rita shares some things we might do better this fall.

How You Can Support Genius Hour At Home

What is Genius Hour? It’s a learning opportunity that gives students time to pursue their passions, explore interesting ideas and create something that they choose and will be proud of. Can we engage students during the pandemic via distance learning? Yes! Here’s how.

Kindness and Gratitude in Our Time of Crisis

For teachers to help students not only survive but also thrive through this frightening pandemic, we need to underscore both their and our fundamental need for kindness and gratitude. Author-educator Dr. Debbie Silver shares the science of anxiety and lots of options to help.

Our Vulnerable Learners Need Our Best Supports

Every child wants to be successful, but school can be a tough place for vulnerable students. To pull them into the success loop requires both an understanding of their plight and a willingness to fully support them with targeted strategies, writes Suzy Pepper Rollins.

Find Out Where Your Learners Are Now

Using the case of Grade 7 teacher ‘Mr. Thomas,’ teacher educator Curtis Chandler walks us through a 3-point strategy that can help teachers detect what kids know, what they missed last spring, and what’s most urgent to learn now. Written with new and veteran teachers in mind.

Watch for more supportive articles in August, September and all the pandemic months ahead. Like you, we don’t know how many months there will be. But we plan to be here for the duration!


MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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