Sadlier Math Grades K–6
Core Program
Full Access
Progress in Mathematics Grades K–6
Core Program
Full Access
Progress in Mathematics Grades 7–8+
Core Program
Full Access
Progress Mathematics Grades K–8
National Program
Full Access
New York
Critical Thinking for Active Math Minds
Grades 3–6
Preparing for Standards Based Assessments
Grades 7–8
Reading & Writing
From Phonics to Reading Grades K-3
Print Program
Interactive Practice Bundle
Fluency Booster Practice Book
Interactive Assessments
High-Impact Tutoring
Sadlier Phonics
Grades K–3
Close Reading of Complex Texts Grades 3–8
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Building Reading Success with Wiley Blevins Grades K–5
Tier 2 & Tier 3 Intervention for Grades K—5
Sadlier Handwriting Practice
Print Program
Progress English Language Arts Grades K–8
National Program
Full Access
New York
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Comprehension Grades 1–5
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary Workshop Achieve Grades 6–12+
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Excellence Grades 6–12+
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary for Success
Grades 6–10
Grammar Workshop, Tools for Writing
Grades 2–5
Grammar Workshop
Grades 6–8
Grammar for Writing
Grades 6–12
Building Reading Success with Wiley Blevins
Tier 2 & Tier 3 Intervention for Grades K—5
Professional Learning
Professional Learning

Virtual Learning Guide
Dos, Don’ts, Best Practices, Tips, and Games

What is Virtual Learning?

Virtual learning can also be called online learning, remote learning, or distance learning. What these terms all share is learning outside the classroom via supportive technology. There are many models and approaches to virtual learning, including synchronous and asynchronous learning, and offerings that range from fully virtual to blended or hybrid. These options can sometimes make virtual learning a confusing landscape, but they also provide huge opportunities for customization and possibility!

Synchronous Virtual Learning

The word synchronous means “at the same time.” Synchronous virtual learning occurs, live, in real time. In this approach, the students and instructors “meet” at the same time, but not in or from the same place, on some sort of online platform, like a virtual meeting or an online discussion forum. To give an example, remote students may join a synchronous class at a scheduled time in which their teacher provides instruction and then facilitates small group breakout sessions for guided practice. Synchronous learning has a community building benefit that mimics a classroom experience, allowing students and teachers to interact and communicate in real time. Here’s how to make the most of synchronous virtual learning opportunities.


Boosting engagement is one of the key benefits of synchronous virtual learning. When students are away from the classroom for extended periods of time, they can feel isolated and miss out on the social benefits of learning since they miss interacting with their teachers and friends. Synchronous class sessions allow them to connect with their peers and educators as part of the classroom and school community.


Synchronous sessions are the best opportunities to teach new content and skills, because they provide the teacher with opportunities to use targeted teaching strategies and assess student understanding in real time. They also offer students the chance to ask questions in real time. Teachers report having better success with using synchronous time for instruction and guided practice and asynchronous time for independent practice. Technology can be a huge benefit to teachers across subject areas and amazing tools like virtual manipulatives can help.

Flipped Approach

To make the best use of valuable synchronous time, teachers can utilize a flipped model in which students complete a preparation activity or bring some new learning to the asynchronous session. Perhaps students watch a video or listen to an audio introducing a topic or concept. The synchronous time can then be used for deeper discussion and questions. Here is an example of an audio passage for students to listen to before students read a passage for introducing new vocabulary words.

Asynchronous Virtual Learning

Asynchronous virtual learning does not happen at the same place and same time. In this approach, instructors assign content, activities, or projects to students and students complete their work independently and submit it when complete. To give an example, students complete modules, tasks, or activities assigned by their teacher in a classroom management system in a self-paced way. They may get feedback from the teacher within the system. Here’s how to make the most of asynchronous virtual learning opportunities.


Asynchronous virtual learning provides students with choice and flexibility. Assignments that offer multiple approaches let students make choices about how they want to spend their learning time and give students options about media and format of their work. This builds agency and motivation!


With asynchronous learning, students set the pace. They can work at the pace that is right for them, which may be different in different subject areas. Teachers should provide support with a pacing guide so students understand their obligations and deliverables. With this approach, students ready to learn faster can move on, but instructors need to make expectations clear to avoid overwhelming students that don’t need extra.


When students encounter an issue, problem, or question in an asynchronous approach, they will inevitably need help. Setting synchronous check-in times or a procedure to follow to get real-time help is important for students to keep the self-paced momentum going. Setting strategies for workarounds will help students manage their time and know when and how to ask for support.


Accountability is more challenging in an asynchronous virtual learning approach, when the teacher and students are not face-to-face. Teachers can assign and utilize online assessments to be sure that students are making progress toward learning goals. Administered regularly, virtual assessment results will give helpful feedback to students and alert teachers about gaps and areas to revisit during precious synchronous time.

Virtual Games

It is well known that games and activities can be an excellent tool to supplement and support instruction. Virtual games boost engagement and give students opportunities to practice what they have learned in a fun, dynamic, and sometimes social way. Playing games is a great activity during asynchronous time to reinforce concepts and give students an opportunity to hone their skills, whether they are playing alone or with family members. They could also be used as a fun breakout session activity to get kids playing together during synchronous time after instruction. Teachers can try these fun, virtual games with their K–8 students during virtual learning.

Virtual Vocabulary Museum Activity 1–12

In the Virtual Vocabulary Museum Activity for Grades 1–12, students are inspired by virtual museums to create virtual vocabulary museums of their own based on their favorite things or hobbies. They use the handout to write-out placards for each item displayed in their exhibits, using at least two vocabulary words per placard. Then, they are invited to tour their classmates’ exhibits and leave comment cards which contain at least one vocabulary word.

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt Activity

Students are sent off on an at-home scavenger hunt to discover vocabulary words with these free worksheets. The Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt Activity challenges students in Grades 1–12 to take the time to discover words by looking and listening in their everyday lives, and finding them in a variety of contexts.

Hybrid and Distance Learning Math Teacher Resource Kit

This Hybrid and Distance Learning Math Teacher Resource Kit includes icebreakers, games, and many other informational and supportive resources for teachers in math classrooms using a distance learning, hybrid, or in-person classroom model.

Virtual Icebreakers

Breaking the ice with students is an important part of getting to know classmates and easing tension. Fun icebreakers will help boost engagement and social connection, and fill the void that students may feel in a fully virtual learning situation.

Get to Know You Bingo Game

The Get to Know You Bingo Game for Grades 2–5 includes instructions, printed cards, and blank cards. This game is beneficial for developing a close-knit community of learners, online or offline. It could be used in a whole group or small breakout group situation.

Student Book Cover & Table of Contents Activity

The Student Book Cover & Table of Contents Activity for Grades K–5 helps students know each other better as they create clever book titles for themselves, draw cover images that show them doing their favorite activities, summarize themselves in back cover descriptions, and write seven chapter descriptions in tables of contents.

Communication and Community

Whether learning occurs synchronously or asynchronously, the benefits of community building in learning are both inarguable and harder to build online. Stakeholders are important. Beyond the community of students and teachers, parents are a critical component. Here are ways to build community and improve communication in virtual learning.

Building Community

Building community can take time, but it’s a worthwhile investment, especially when families are isolated from school and lack face-to-face interactions. On one hand, parents may be very distracted when their children are learning online due to other obligations. On the other hand, they may be more involved than ever since their children are learning from home. This dynamic can be tricky to navigate, but open communication helps.

Setting Expectations

Starting out with expectations and establishing norms for communication will support community building and make virtual learning smoother. Parents will appreciate knowing what the expectations are for their children when it comes to virtual learning so that they can best support them. It will also help parents to know when and how teachers will communicate with them directly to share information, and how they can reach teachers or administrators with questions or concerns. Instructors should have a contingency plan if a parent needs to reach out right away or has an emergency. Teachers can use these tips for online parent-teacher conferences.

Providing Support

Parents will be supporting their children in their learning, likely providing tech support, emotional support, and academic support throughout their children’s virtual learning experiences. Instructors or administrators should connect them with resources to help them play this role and let parents know how and when they can be reached. Parents should receive a toolkit of activities and games to help them support learning anytime.

Technology is Only a Tool

Remember that technology is only a tool, not a teacher. It cannot replace the important interaction among learners and between learners and teachers. Interaction and communication should be a priority to prevent students from feeling isolated, becoming disengaged, and falling behind.


Any kind of virtual learning raises questions about access and equity. It’s important that each family receives communication so that they can be sure that students have what they need to be successful virtual learners. This may include access to WiFi, a device on which to learn, the necessary programs, and required software updates. Here are important things to keep in mind to make sure a virtual learning approach is equitable and will help all students be successful.

Unique Environments

In many virtual settings, students are learning in shared spaces. Each student should have an Internet-enabled device. Remember that in many homes there are multiple devices and there may be connectivity issues and interruptions for some children. Ideally, students will have a quiet place to focus and learn but that may not be the case. Instructors need to be flexible and prepared to provide support with regards to connectivity!

Diverse Needs

Each student is different, and just as programs must be adapted for students in the classroom, they must be adapted when learning is virtual. Any platforms, programs, tools, and activities chosen must have adaptations for students with special needs and learning differences.