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Breakout Rooms & Group Work

Identify methods to manage breakout rooms and limit distractions for learners.

Collaborative Planning

Set up a time that we can collaborate on ways to integrate breakout rooms into an upcoming lesson.Together we can plan, implement, and reflect on the strategy...

UDL Considerations

View the foundational principals of UDL.


Discover new ways to analyze and improve learner engagment during breakout sessions.

Instructional Strategies

Explore a variety of instructional strategies that lend themselves to effective breakout sessions

Universal Design forLearning

Optimizing teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learnPlanning focuses on

  • WHY learners should learn the content.
  • WHAT content needs to be learned and assessed.
  • HOW content and learning is presented.

Engage Learners

Three Key Elements to





Provide Support

  • Identify and address barriers to learning in planning
  • Move between groups
  • Ensure enough time to visit all groups
  • Provide feedback on progress and redirect as needed
  • Let learners know they can ask you for help
  • Address learners as a group & individually
  • Create a "Help Room" that learners can go to for one on one support.
  • Create a "Break Room" for learners who are away from computer

Establish Expectations

  • Create and reference breakout room guidelines
  • Clarify purpose & tasks
  • Use deliverables wisely
  • Set a timeframe and stick to it.
  • Consider learner Groupings

Put Learners in Control

  • Most of the teachers work is done BEFORE the lesson starts
  • Use technology tools to structure lesson and guide learners
  • Provide ways for learners to give feedback
  • **NEW** Use polls to push to BO rooms!

Tiered Instruction

Topic Selection

Web Quest & Gallery Walk


Jig Saw

Peer Tutors

Instructional Strategies

Questions to Ask When Planning1. How will I interact with learners?2. How will learners interact with me?

  • Pre-record your own instructional material
  • Start your own traditions
  • Make camera's an expectation
  • Create ways to increase and individualize feedback
  • Utilize tools for multiple ways to respond

The design, facilitation and direction of cogitive and social processes for realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.

Teaching Presence


  • Create collaborative space for learning (what tools will support this format?)
  • Identify tutors for the topic
  • Meet with tutors before class to review content and highlight important tutor skills
  • Determine how learners will be grouped; (random, poll, assigned)

Learners see each other's perspectives to help them progress.Teaching others helps learning reach a greater depthSocial interaction may help motivate learners to engage in the learning process.

Facilitate leadership development in advanced learners & support those who need additional practice

Peer Tutor



  • Create collaborative workspaces to enable individuals to participate within their comfort level.
  • Creating a list of roles creates structure and sets expectations.
  • Consider method for group organization

Social Presence

The ability of participants to project themselves socially and emotionally as 'real' people through a medium of communication.

Facilitate Collaboration

  • Incorporate learners interests
  • Provide opportunities for learners to explore their understanding of content BEFORE being taught
  • Ask tighter DOK questions.

The extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse.

Cognitive Presence


  • Relate to prior experiences learners likely have (phenomena based learning is a powerful tool)
  • Support learners to draw connections to prior content through interactive technology
  • Design challenge activity allowing learners to apply new concepts

  • Learners explore their own views on a subject
  • Learners are asked to identify evidence to support an assigned view
  • Learners collaborate to establish a view

  • Discuss how virtual discussions feel different than in-person discussions
  • Clearly establish expectations and mechanics.
  • Discuss respecting opposing ideas
  • Create guiding prompts, but allow space for fluid conversation

Before Breakouts



After Breakouts

  • Allow group leaders and individuals time to share key conversation pieces
  • Offer Mic Alternatives
  • Create space for all to share
  • Model respectful disagreement

learners grouped by on supports provided

  • Challenge, light support, full support
Learners grouped by ability to answer independent practice question
  • Ready harder questions, Needs additional practice, Requires reteaching
Learners grouped by method of desired instruction
  • Independent guided Instruction, learner led small groups, Teacher Lead group

- Same information- Varied levels of support

Tiered Instruction


  • Provide learners with a set of tasks that need to be completed at each stage.
  • Create Check in points
  • Set a timeframe
  • Assign learners leaders and/or roles
  • organize content in one easy to navigate resource.

Groups of learners explore a variety of information

Web Quest & Gallery Walks


  • Energy Exploration Webqust

  • Language Arts sensory words Gallery Walk

Learners choose the media they prefer

Learners choose between different topics

  • Life cycles;
Learners choose between different articles on the same topic
  • Cultural Music:

Allows learners to learn the same concepts through different topics or media

Topic Selection

Thailand's Country Music,

Music in South Africa,

Music of the Cherokee,

Benga Music,

Drums in traditional Nigerian Music


Read a Walkthrough,

Complete a simulation,

Watch a video,

Work in a small group with your teacher

Each group analyzes sub topic and brings infor back to the whole group.

Key Events of the Cold War

  • Containment of Russia
  • Arms Race between US and Russia
  • Development of Hydrogen Bomb
  • Space Exploration
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

Subgroups become "experts" in one component of a whole

Jig Saw


**Think about collaborative technology and group roles!