How To: Plan a Student-Centered Live Lesson

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

There is an obsession right now that we do virtual learning in the same way we did in-person learning. On some levels that is true.

But we also need to consider that all that made in-person great does not translate to virtual learning to prepare students for the world we live in today. Consider what this professional says...



It's time to change the paradigm.


So what makes student-centered synchronous instruction important?


Some basic understandings and practices that undergird good virtual instruction today.

  • Students shouldn't be online all day long.

  • Teachers should be online all day long.

  • Students can learn in both synchronous and asynchronous ways.

  • Synchronous teaching doesn't just mean lecturing at students on a video platform.

  • Students should be interacting with each other during synchronous times.

  • A flipped classroom helps students build self-accountability.


So if teachers are just talking at students online during a live session, what are they doing during a live session?

  • Evaluating learners’ thinking processes

  • Guiding learners to think like an expert

  • Coaching learners to expert performance

  • Letting learners construct their own plans

  • Encouraging multiple perspectives

  • Prompting learners to think about their thinking


So how do educators make this happen? Much more simply than you might think. During a synchronous session, you should follow this step by step guide to organize your planning and support student engagement during execution.




  1. Establish Learning Community and Purpose Share with your students the Virtual Space Norms, Digital Tools they'll use during the session, the level of interactivity/collaboration expected, and the session's objective(s), challenge(s), and resource(s) they'll use during the session.

  2. Provide Collaboration Time and Space (most of the session time) Explain the protocol and create a space for learners collaborate with their peers to find and engage with what they need to accomplish the goal. This happens with with support from the teacher(s) as whole group and small groups then whole group again.

  3. Frame a Strong Start Work with learners to start to use the plan they made to start “doing” the academic product, even though they won't finish it during the session! This will increase access, equity, and clarity for students to get it done and get it done well!

  4. Map the Next Steps & Options Explain what students need to do with the information they've received during the session (the due date, how to "turn it in", criteria for success, and how they'll get and use feedback), when they need to do it by, and how to get additional support

Want to see this in practice?

Check out A Recording of the session below!



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