First Day Virtual Lesson Plan

person in front of his laptop

Photo by fauxels on

To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) I am sharing some helps for that first day with a Remote lesson on a platform like Zoom.

So far, so good, the Zoom platform has held up, so we’ve been able to have our first  remote meetings. All of my classes voted, they really want to still meet together in a virtual space, despite the craziness of my life – family home, small apartment, etc.  (more on that in a future post). I assume many of you have already had your first day, so I share this for ideas, or if you haven’t, below, you will find some helps.

I found it really interesting to go back and look at the footage of the classes, so that I could see what they could see. Very enlightening, but more on that later!

Here is a link to let you watch one of these classes (raw). By this point, I had figured out a lot of the kinks:

  • I pause the recording so that the students at home don’t have to watch dead moments (when students are working in breakout rooms, etc.)
  • I give students at home instructions
  • I know when to use the spotlight (when I am giving pertinent information) and when to let the camera go to the students (when we are discussing, Q&A, etc.)
  • The link is below, I invite you to watch it so that you can see what your students are seeing as you prepare for your virtual classes.

Topic: REL 212 2pm Class – New Testament
Start Time : Mar 19, 2020 01:55 PM

Meeting Recording:


Thank you for your reading, sharing, comments (here or on the other channels)!

Other posts in this series –

7. An Example of a Robust At Home Lesson


My lesson ideas follow:

This is the item I posted on the white board as the students came into the room:


Come into the room

Play around with the features of Zoom

  • Locate the place to turn on and off your video, mute, etc.
  • Locate the controls at the bottom of the screen
  • Locate and start the “Manage Participants” feature
  • Locate and start the “Chat” feature
  • Let me know any questions you may have

This is going to be exciting!


And this is my lesson plan. I had it ready so that I could copy and paste items onto the whiteboard or into the chat-box so that when they went into discussion rooms they could use the information.

First Virtual Meeting Schedule


  1. Welcome and Opening Prayer
  2. Check Tech – let the kids play around and see what’s what (White board display “Welcome” with suggestions) 
  3. Practice going to breakout rooms
    • Meet each other
    • Get to know the tools of the breakout room
    • Practice sharing your screen with each other
    • Make sure that you can hear each other
  1. Discuss logistics
    1. Polls – options
      • Synchronous – (together or with groups during class time)
      • Asynchronous – (together around a certain experience – at home lesson, video, PowerPoint, etc. but whenever we can during the week)
    2. Questions about logistics
  2. Lesson
    1. Go to breakout room (10 minutes)
    2. Discuss these things –
      • Are you doing okay – what are you worried about, what are you looking forward to?
      • Discuss the following questions:
        • How has working on memories and histories over the past week helped you feel connected to your ancestors?
        • Why is connection so important, what have you learned as you have been preparing this material for class?
        • Who do you feel the most connected to (if there were a real crisis, who could you call on to help you)?
        • Why are we supposed to connect to our ancestors, how can/has this helped you?
        • Why do you think the Lord has prompted the Prophet and Apostles to do more with connecting families spiritually through the Home Study Program?
    3. Back together:
        • Questions?
        • Comments?
        • Thoughts?
        • Feelings?
        • Concerns?


Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons

photography of woman using laptop

Photo by Christina Morillo on

To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) today I am sharing a few tips to help your video conferencing lessons. There are SO many posts right now:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 3.59.42 AM

on how and what, etc. when it comes to virtual conferences that I decided to just hand out some practical wisdom for the teachers as we break into it (mine start on Wednesday, I know others have started and some are just a few short days away). Whatever your situation, here are some thoughts to help out.

Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons

  • Be aware that it is even easier for the students to be disengaged in the conference rooms (they can mute their videos and their sound, so they may or may not be present with you – in body, mind, or spirit!)
  • Be engaging – here are some ideas:
    • assignments to give them and have them break out into conference rooms for those discussions.
    • Share your screen – images, photos, polls, games (yes it’s okay to have a silly game or get-to-know you activity in the middle of all of this), videos
    • Make these times enjoyable to be there. I know that some of the content is serious – perhaps turn those more serious lessons into at home lessons (see posts Thurs and Fri this week).
  • Consider using the meetings for major general announcements, or teaching basic important principles and concepts.
  • Then put them into groups for:
    • deeper study,
    • to quiz each other,
    • small group assignments,
    • discussions based on prepared questions, etc.

Tips for Teachers Before and During Virtual Conferences

  • There are videos online of how to work EVERY new technology. Just google what you need, for example this search – zoom video conferencing how to use, scroll down and find the video that you can watch in the time that you have available.
  • Get into a test conference room with friends. See what it looks like from the POV of a laptop, a phone, etc. Use all of the gadgets a head of time.
  • You can have a word document, whiteboard, or slide ready in the room when they enter with instructions such as:
    • virtual classroom etiquette
    • virtual classroom rules
    • A starter assignment, question, or item to ponder
    • Something to quickly get ready based on the reading materials, etc.
  • Have everything practiced, pulled up, and ready to go well before the meeting (just as you would a class).
  • Have the students wait in a virtual waiting room if need be and then let them enter when you are all set up and ready for the meeting.
  • Have a word document ready on your computer with things to be copied and pasted on the whiteboard (It is AWFUL to try to write with a mouse – think signing your name on the digital pads).

Tips for not messing up

That’s hilarious! 🤣😂🤣

You will mess up. You will look incompetent.

Laugh at the problems – blame the corona virus, technology, whatever, but show the students that it is okay to have moments in life when we are not in control. This is real. This is human. Many of our students feel out of control right now (just as we do at times in front of a class). [Many of our students are celebrating not being in school and “carpe diem-ing” the crap out of life and they will freak out when they realize that yes, we were holding class the whole time, but that is a discussion for another time.] 😉

Teach them how to walk away from a moment and still move forward with dignity and a positive outlook – ready to show up the next day.

You’re a teacher. It’s what we do!


Enjoy! And please share it with those who need it, and comment on ideas that you have about tips and tricks for video conferencing.

Other posts in this series –

Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days

Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What?