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Multimodal Planning

Engaging students through varied daily activities


When designing in-person, remote, hybrid, and/or simultaneous instruction, it is important to not only vary activities, but also leverage multiple remote modalities (e.g., synchronous, asynchronous, digital, and analog materials) as well as a variety of activities throughout the day and/or lesson. Just like traditional in-person learning, engaging students in their learning means keeping the experience varied, moving, and enabling all students with an opportunity to participate in different ways. Multimodal planning does not mean changing up the structure every day but instead building a strong, consistent structure that includes multiple modalities of learning that allows students to feel safe and know what to expect. Some examples of ways to build in multimodal learning within in-person, remote, and hybrid learning include:

  • Keeping activity blocks short and focused so that students are able to participate fully without feeling overwhelmed. Short activities also help students not lose attention because, like a workout with multiple stations, you know there is an end soon and you can keep your eye on the prize.

  • Offer opportunities for choice around what to work on, where to learn (e.g., Amtrak Learning Cars), and who they work with throughout the day and/or lesson.

  • Schedule in daily time for celebration and check-ins by kicking off each day with a fun activity (e.g., have students say their favorite color when the teacher calls their name for attendance) and closing with reflection questions and/or highlights of the day. This takes only a few minutes and can help students have time to warm-up and decompress before entering another learning environment.

  • Play music to set the mood during independent practice, change of activity, breaks, etc. so that both in-person and remote learners know what to expect (e.g., different songs represent different activities), have something to focus on, and feel like they are one class despite the virtual divide.

  • Leverage technology in creative ways to allow students to collaborate virtually, engage with the content with their peers (both in-person and remote), and even check in with their teacher via chat or a breakout group.

Multimodal planning for remote, hybrid and simultaneous learning can seem overwhelming, but it is a great way to give both you and your students the opportunity to participate more effectively because you are able to move through different activities and engage in different ways throughout the day and/or lesson instead of being expected to “perform” for your students all day or all lesson, which is especially hard with simultaneous learning. In order to implement successfully, it is also important to build a consistent structure because it makes it easier for you to plan and easier for students to engage.

Strategy Resources

2nd Grade Remote/Hybrid Schedule

This document shows a basic remote/hybrid schedule that illustrates the variance of activity and subjects... Learn More