Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

05.11.20Dissolving the Screen

Close Up Reflection Of Boys Face In Computer Screen With Scrolling ...
“I see the work you do and I value it. It connects us…”

Distance learning leaves teachers less connected to students and students less connected to teachers. Ideally, then, the way we approach online learning would address that challenge by not only making our students feel more connected but by making them feel connected to us specifically by the work we do together. That is, we would send the message that when you engage in the work of learning it connects us- because I notice it and value it and just maybe find happiness in it too.

My colleague Jen Rugani gave the name “Dissolving the Screen” to this idea, and last week I posted a great video of Achievement First’s Ben Esser doing that. People really seemed to like it so I thought I’d post a few more examples. These are from Sean Reap, Linda Fraser, Rachael Shin and Deb Gravina.

Sean’s opening brings To Kill a Mockingbird to life and remind students of how much they’ll have to talk about when they’ve read it too. Linda subtly notes that she “can’t wait to see who can solve” a challenging problem. Rachael lets students who do strong daily work feature in the next story problem, and Deb reminds students that she’s always available to talk about their work as they engage in it.

The message is: doing the work connects us and I see and value all your efforts.

Hope you’re able to borrow one of these ideas as you work with your students.

To learn more about the curriculum Sean is using, visit


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