Foundations & Frameworks Tips for Remote Teaching and Learning

We are certainly living and teaching in interesting times. For those of you teaching Foundations & Frameworks, the challenge of moving a highly interactive program to online environments can be daunting. Though few of us will be able to use all these suggestions, here are a few ideas for continuing with as many of the program’s components as possible.

Small Groups

Perhaps the biggest challenge to an online shift is not losing the collaborative comprehension that takes place in small group sessions. Online platforms, such as Zoom, offer tools that may help you maintain this important component. In addition to group discussions, Zoom allows you set up breakout rooms, where smaller groups of students can meet for conversations. For example, you might toss out a question, such as “Is Mr. Grimshaw a helpful or dangerous character?”, and then have smaller groups meet in chat rooms for a minute to discuss their thoughts before reconvening the full group. Zoom has several video tutorials that explain its features and how to use them. Google Hangouts offers some similar options.

Literature Access

Several public library systems offer access to e-books. Our local library offers this service via the app Hoopla. Libby is reportedly a similar app used by some libraries. If you cannot find the exact books you have been using for a unit, check Make Way for Books for alternatives. (Sign in, then click on “Books” for the F&F search options.)


If students have their SPECS Logs at home, have them take photos of their entries with a cell phone to submit for review, as needed. The same can be done with vocabulary responses. Consider making more use of My Link. Author Chat, and To Think On responses. If needed, use one of these as a formative assessment of text understanding in place of live discussion.  Depending on your platform, this could be scanned and uploaded, be part of a live virtual meeting or a chat, or answered in a question or a quiz in google classroom.

Other Ideas

Here are a few other tips from Foundations & Frameworks’ teachers currently making the move to remote instruction:

  • Take advantage of the mini-units (for example listing specific literary skills and page numbers on the lines on the SPECS logs).
  • Encourage slow reading.
  • If you are introducing a skill, video yourself doing the experience, modeling via read-aloud, and introducing the visual tool.
  • Ask one process question per day and fill in only that part of a VT.  Introduce a new process question each day so they accumulate.
  • Use the opportunity to help students rely more on the rubric to self-evaluate.  Use one descriptor per day, and let students respond to a question like, “I was proficient in this skill because I _______________.  
  • If your students know how to make slides, give them a template and have them submit vocabulary words this way
  • If your students have experience with online visual tool applications, such as Prezi, consider using one for part of an “intellectual art” project near the end of a unit
  • Post video book talks for non-F&F books to promote free reading. Research suggests that a major reason upper elementary students “plateau” in their reading abilities is because they read less than the younger versions of themselves.

Remember that life has been changed for parents, too. One friend explained to me that she works as a pharmacy tech and is needed at work. She returned home after a full day of work to find 13 email messages from teachers with instructions for her children. While she committed to doing her best, she explained that the attention and time it would take was overwhelming. We need to extend lots of grace during this time!