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Interactive writing instruction online with young children

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many teachers have shifted to teaching students using videoconference technology in order to abide by physical distancing protocols. Teachers are adapting their face-to-face instruction to online learning environments, which impacts their lesson planning, interactions with students, and opportunities for formative assessment. This is particularly challenging for our youngest learners—not just keeping their attention, but leveraging the technology to scaffold their emerging literacy skills.

This video demonstrates how to facilitate an interactive writing lesson with kindergarteners and first graders in a distance learning environment. Watch Professor Nell K. Duke from the University of Michigan as she teaches children how to collaboratively write a letter using an online interactive whiteboard.

The lesson and teaching strategies align with evidence-based recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Practice Guide, Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers, in particular, the recommendations to:

  • create an engaged community of writers,
  • encourage students to collaborate as writers, and
  • write for a real purpose and audience.

In the introduction to the video, Professor Steve Graham, WWC Panel Guide Chair, briefly introduces the Practice Guide and related recommendations for instruction.



Improving Instruction (Educator Development), Improving Instruction (Early Learning)

Publication Type

Publication Date
November 1, 2020