This post originally appeared on the blog Beyond The Worksheet with Lindsay Perro.

My last post gave you tips for remote-teaching. Many of you have already been told your school is closed for a minimum of two weeks. If you work in a district with ample technology, you are able to teach remotely and provide digital activities. The reality is, though, many of you do not have that luxury. Many of you teach in districts where your students do not have access to technology that is reliable enough to handle remote learning — and some don’t have technology at home at all.

So, what do you do? I’m going to give you ideas on something you will never hear me discuss outside of this situation…packets.

A packet does not and can not be full of test prep. Your students will 100% shut down after page one. You want them to be engaged for the majority of the time they are working. You also need to understand (and be ok with the fact) that there will be students who don’t complete the packet. There will be some who don’t even touch it. You need to have a system in place for how you handle this. You (and your school) need to keep in mind that some students will not have parental support. Some will not have calculators. Some will not even have food.

Here are my recommendations for packets, if you are required to make them.

  • Start with something engaging like a coloring page or puzzle (that they can glue or tape down — even if you have to send home glue sticks). If you start with something that doesn’t bore them, they’ll at least get started.
  • Move into SOME test prep or review. Do not attempt to include any new material unless you teach high-level kids. In that case, you may be able to include some new material by including answer keys for notes. The test prep or review should be light — not 50 pages.
  • Include a long-term project. A project that can be done over a few days will let them work on something continuously, rather than just jumping around skills like many reviews do. A long-term project that is engaging can help keep them focused.
  • Give them choices. A choice board will let students demonstrate their understanding using whatever materials they have available to them at their home. Some will be able to turn in creative projects and some will turn in something on a sheet of notebook paper. By having something for everyone, you aren’t isolating anyone or making them feel like they aren’t good enough.

If you need ready-to-go packets with two weeks’ worth of materials and a plan guide for each, I’ve put together something for you. These packets are 40% off because you don’t need to spend a ton of money getting things together for your students — probably on short notice. Click here to download a PDF of all free resources currently in my TpT store.

As always, if there is ANYTHING I can do, don’t hesitate to ask!

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Lindsay Perro has been creating middle school math resources since 2009 that follow the idea of going Beyond the Worksheet. She began this amazing journey because she found herself struggling to reach her at-risk learners using the traditional materials provided to her. As an interventionist, she knew she needed to go beyond what was typical. She started developing coloring activities, stations and puzzles — anything to get her students engaged while still learning. She is always looking for new ways to engage learners, and most importantly, support teachers. Join her on Facebook, in her Facebook community on her website and on Instagram.