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5 Essential Components of a Virtual Math Lesson

When I create my math lessons for my class, I use the Gradual Release of Responsibility model. If you’re familiar with the model you know that there’s an I Do, We Do, and You Do structure that’s followed throughout the lesson. This structure is appropriate for face to face math instruction but not so much for online learning.

The responsibility for online learning is shared between the student and teacher, but the bulk of the responsibility lies with the student. In order to provide online math instruction that supports student independence, there are five essential components that you’ll need to include in your virtual math lesson plans.

Teach Math Content

There are many different EdTech platforms that you can use to deliver your online math instruction. All platforms are not created equally. To be quite honest, the platform that you choose will set the stage for the rest of the lesson. For example, if you use Edpuzzle for your pre-recorded lessons you will need to use another platform for engagement because there aren’t any engagement tools embedded into the platform.

Keep in mind, the platform that you choose to teach your math content should be age and grade level appropriate. I don’t recommend that teachers conduct live lessons with students every day, but rather use a mix of pre-recorded content along with live lessons.

Practice New Learning

Even though learning is taking place online students must still be given the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills. There are two ways you can accomplish this task. You can dedicate part of your pre-recorded video to practice or it can be done on platforms like IXL, Study Island, or Mobymax. 

I prefer to use an online platform for my students to practice their math skills, because a lot of the students don’t have pencil and paper at home.


The engagement part of your lesson is probably the most important element of your virtual math lesson. It’s easy to add engagement to lessons when you’re in your classroom. It’s a different story when you’re not there to facilitate. 

Trying to grasp your students’ attention is a bit more difficult to do when you don’t have any control over the learning environment. Engaging students virtually may be difficult but not impossible. It may take a little more creativity but platforms like Insert Learning, Flipgrid, and Seesaw can make learning online very interesting.

Math Discussion

Student voice is a SUPER important component of your virtual math lesson. Becoming disengaged and bored with online learning is a real thing! The way that you can combat this is to provide many opportunities for your students to interact and discuss the math content. 

An excellent platform for this is Flipgrid. It gives you and the students the option of responding to each other with text or video. This is a perfect opportunity to teach students how to give meaningful feedback to their classmates.

Mastery of Content

The last component of your virtual math lesson plan is the formative assessment or mastery check. As with face to face lessons formative assessment checks still take place during your virtual math lessons. The only difference is virtual formative assessment checks are based on observations and can be embedded into your pre-recorded lessons.

There’s always a silver lining to every dark cloud. Online learning can be a rewarding experience for you and your students; however, you must have realistic expectations for your lessons and learning. 

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I help math teachers who teach high need students to effectively manage their classrooms and deliver high quality math instruction. Learn more about me


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