This post originally appeared on the blog LAURA RANDAZZO – SOLUTIONS FOR THE SECONDARY CLASSROOM.

Brace yourself. It’s coming. If it’s not already in your email box, it’ll be here soon — a message from your principal requiring two weeks’ worth of lesson plans that can be accessed remotely in case your school closes as part of the coronavirus outbreak.

Whether the virus actually shows up on your campus or not, it’s important we all stay calm. I’m the first to acknowledge that it’s annoying to write lesson plans you might not ever use, but it’s also wise and really shouldn’t take too long to pull together. If the ick hits the fan, you’ll be glad you have a plan.

My coronavirus action plan/lesson plans:

First, I’d press the pause button on any work of literature or unit plan currently underway. If school does close, that’d be an emergency situation and I’ve decided to write just one set of lesson plans that will universally build skills in all of my classes, grades 9-12. If you want to write customized two-week plans for each of your preps based on your current curriculum calendar, go for it. I don’t have that kind of time and since we can’t know when a closure might occur, I’m thinking it’s best if these lesson plans are evergreen. Treat it like the mother of all snow days.

Next, not every student in my world has internet access at home, so the materials need to be able to be not only posted on our password-protected websites or sent as email attachments to the parent contact list, but also gathered into a photocopied packet that folks can pick up from the front office. Yeah, that’s a pain, but it’s what’ll need to happen to ensure equitable access. If you’re in a district where all kids have reliable internet at home, you might enjoy this growing list of free and reduced-cost teaching software/apps gathered by’s Tami Brass. I love the remote learning possibilities presented by that list, but I personally haven’t had the tech tools or training time to make good use of those kinds of resources.

Instead, I built a two-week no-tech-needed calendar:


Notes and links

Week 1 – Focused on non-fiction

Monday: Students will need to choose a current event article (toilet paper hoarding, anyone?), news program, or newspaper article and fill out the “What’s Up in the World?” grid organizer worksheet. If media resources are especially scarce for your students, you could choose an article for them and make copies to include in their homestudy packets.

Tuesday: Students will examine real-world rhetoric materials on the topic of whether we should kill spiders we find in our homes and answer a set of questions.

Wednesday: Today, they’ll examine another real-world rhetoric lesson focusing this time on whether parents who shame their children on social media are doing more harm than good.

Thursday: Examine one last real-world rhetoric text on the idea of using a lottery system to determine whether which students are admitted to select colleges. Note: When school resumes, I’ll choose one of these three real-world rhetoric lessons to turn into a topic for an in-class essay. Following the same essay structure that’s used on the S.A.T. (click here for more info on that essay format), students will need to examine the rhetorical text and complete this writing assignment:


Students will be allowed to use the original published text, the list of questions I asked, and their homework answers as they write their in-class essay during one 50-minute class period. I’ll grade those essays with this rubric:


Friday: All year long, my kids read SSR books every Friday and I’ll continue this routine during their home study time. Students should already have a book they’re reading and, if not, they’ll need to find a new book. It’s unlikely that I would change their SSR Book Talk deadline since this is an assignment they can complete pretty much anywhere. For an extra bit of accountability, students will also need to complete a “Whose Phone is This?” worksheet based on any character from their SSR book.

Week 2 – Focused on literature

Monday: If kids already have their school-issued literature anthologies at home, I’ll have them choose any short story in that textbook that we haven’t yet read. If they don’t have their anthologies, I’ll pick a story and make photocopies of the text to add to the home study packets. Students will be assigned to read the story and then complete three of the choice board activities on this worksheet.

Tuesday: Students’ understanding of the three types of irony (situational, verbal, and dramatic) will be reinforced with a close reading and analysis of Saki’s short story, “The Storyteller.”

Wednesday: We’ll take a look at another high-interest short story with a study of Horatio Quiroga’s “The Feather Pillow” paired with an informational article about sleep paralysis.

Thursday: In today’s Words to Live By lesson, students will analyze how a similar theme is developed in three different mediums by digging into Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” Polonius’ advice to his son in a brief monologue from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and a newspaper columnist’s Guide to Life that went viral in the late 1990s. (Remember that whole “Wear Sunscreen” thing?) Then, they’ll close this day’s lesson with their own creative writing assignment.

Friday: Just like last week, we’ll wrap with another 30-minute SSR session. This time, I’ll have kids choose a different character from their novels and complete the “Direct/Indirect Characterization” worksheet.

Lesson plans = Done!

Please remember that any of my materials that you download from, whether free or paid, are my copyrighted property and licensed only for you to share with your direct students. If other teachers want to use these same plans, they will need to purchase the appropriate number of licenses, one per teacher. Also, none of my materials are allowed to be shared online via open access or forums. Posting of my copyrighted materials may happen only in a password-protected environment intended to be accessed solely by your direct students, such as Google Classroom or Edmodo. Posting on public websites (WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Facebook Groups, etc.) is prohibited. You know, I work hard on this stuff. Be cool.

Bleach on, everyone!

Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, WikiMedia Commons, Public domain


Since 1997, Laura Randazzo has shared her love of literature and writing with high school students as a classroom teacher, library education specialist, and curriculum developer. She’s taught all kinds of students, from the highest-achieving honors student to the continuation kid on the verge of dropping out of school, and knows “what every student wants is to be inspired, to learn, and to have some fun while at school. I hope my passion for learning and for kids comes through in these materials.” Read more from Laura on her blog, Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom, and follow her on her TpT store for more great high school ELA resources.