It’s all a bad dream, right? An email, text, or direct message was given to many teachers, instructing us to gather what we could, pack up what we wanted and stay quarantined at home. Many teachers were never even given the opportunity to hug their students and say a proper goodbye. This is our new reality for the next few weeks or even months.

We’ve all found ourselves waking up and ‘going to school’ in our living rooms, kitchens or offices. Some of us feel like we’re first year teachers all over again. Every day it seems to be something new, something unknown, something up in the air. One thing I have heard a lot about is distance learning and ‘How Can I Use Zoom For E-Learning?”. I’m here to help. I want to share my initial experience, along with a few tips and a super easy tutorial. I’ve also included a free printable to send home to families with instructions for both computer use and iPad use.

Zoom For E-Learning

I (as the rest of the residents of my state) were notified late on Sunday afternoon that our school district was officially closed for at least 3 weeks. To be honest, I was mentally prepared that this was going to happen. It was just a matter of time. Because of this, I had been researching what I could do to best continue educating my students. I read lots of posts on FB from other teachers and searched the hundreds of free apps & E-Learning sites that were being recommended. I tend to be a self-starter and don’t like to wait around to be told what to do. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation. 😉 I had been staying in contact with my families, via ClassDoJo and had provided them with a list of digital resources that they could access for FREE. {You can check out those resources HERE.} My families were grateful, but I didn’t think that was enough. The next day, our school admin requested that we provide a packet of printed resources for each of our students. Again, I wanted to provide my students with materials, but also resources that could be extended for all learning levels. This is where I got my idea for the Brain Bags. By the end of the first day, I had sent out digital resources, printed packets, and made my brain bags available to all of my families and students.

On Wednesday I started working on virtually meeting with my students a reality! I found Zoom and the link for teachers to sign up for free. I signed up and it quickly walked me through the steps of creating a meeting and how to send it to families. I created a ‘Morning Meeting’ for the next day and sent the direct link to my families, via Class DoJo. I have to pause here and say that all of this was/is trial and error. We as teachers and even families, are taking this one day at a time and most of us are all in the same boat. It takes patience, as most of us (including families) are doing this for the first time. But I can tell you that once you get it up and running and your students start entering their new ‘virtual’ classroom, you AND them will be giddy with happiness!

Okay let’s get started..

What Is Zoom?

Zoom Online Meeting Platform

Zoom, to put it in basic terms, is an online meeting forum. You can have meetings with another person or multiple people, even when social distancing is the (current) norm.

Teachers have found that this is a fabulous way to give students instruction time, without having to be in the classroom. These meetings can also be recorded and sent to families that could not make it to the meeting at that time. (Please check your district’s policies on this before recording.)

The features for the free account, which are listed on the Zoom website, include:

Unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants

HD audio and video 

Screen sharing



Breakout Rooms

Virtual backgrounds

In-meeting chat

Local recording

Nonverbal feedback

Sign Up For Zoom For E-Learning

Click this image to sign up as an educator
  1. You, your admin, or teacher peers can sign up for a free Zoom account.
  2. Fill out this form to request a FREE educator account, which also removes the 40 min temporary removal.
  3. Upon verification, all free Basic accounts using your school’s email domain will have the time restriction lifted.
Teacher Profile when Account has been verified and you have been approved

Now teachers will be able to log in, schedule their classes, and send out invites to students. Students are not required to have a Zoom account and can join classes using the links sent from the teacher. For the best experience, we do recommend every user download the Zoom application on their preferred Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, or Android device. Families can also use a phone/device to access the meeting; they will just need to download the Zoom app.

Scheduling a Meeting On Zoom For E-Learning

The next step is to schedule and host a meeting! Your students are going to be so excited to see your face, as well as their friends!

Here is how to schedule a meeting according to Zoom.us.

Option 1: Scheduling through the desktop app.

  1. Open the Zoom desktop app.
  2. Click on the Home button at the top left.
  3. Press the Schedule button.
  4. Enter in Topic, Date, and other related details and press Schedule. It is recommended that you make Registration required when scheduling a meeting, as that allows you to generate a registration report after the meeting is over.

Option 2: Scheduling Online

  1. Go to https://zoom.us/meeting (You may be prompted to sign in but will be redirected to the page after)
  2. Click the blue “Schedule a New Meeting” button in the top left corner
  3. Enter in Topic, Date, and other related details and press Schedule.

    It is recommended that you make Registration required when scheduling a meeting, as that allows you to generate a registration report after the meeting is over.

Beginning a Meeting/Lesson on Zoom

This is a snapshot of my Zoom profile page. This is where I start the meeting/lesson from
Click to open the video/audio
Click YES to join the computer audio!!
Important Buttons on Zoom

Tips for Using Zoom for E-Learning & Distance Online Teaching

Here are some downloadable and printable directions that you can share with students & families. 🙂 You can click the above image to access or you can download through this link!

Want to watch a video?

If you wish to watch some videos of me talking about my experience, then feel free to watch it here or on my IG story highlights!

Questions? Comments? Tips & Your Experiences?

And if you have any further questions or you have more tips and tricks, please leave them in the comments below and I will respond and add them to this post! Happy Virtual Teaching!

30 Responses

  1. How do students get notified of a meeting? I read that since my school uses clever that is how they can best access ZOOM.

  2. You can also use the whiteboard or share screens from your browser. If you use ESGI you can open that site and test kids.
    I have been using it for a week and the kids love it…so do the parents. I also started doing show and tell Saturdays and storytime Sundays where the kids each read a story to the class from their leveled book baggies or from EPIC. We will have a guest parent reader every week.

  3. Hey Abbie,

    When I went to set up my account with my school email (CCSD), it said an account was already active with Rick Allen, and did I want to join that account. I that what I want to do? I tried to screenshot the email, but I cant paste it here.

    Any help

    1. Hi and thanks for your question. I do not believe it’s linked to Google Suite at all. Zoom is not related to Google, as it is it’s own platform and program.

  4. Hi! Thank you for your insights regarding Zoom! I have been using it for 2 weeks now but wonder if you could tell me how to . . . .
    Use a prerecorded video to upload onto Zoom.
    I have recorded Guest Readers and uploaded them through YouTube but can’t seem to get the link onto Zoom. I would like to start the meeting, give a mini-lesson, show the video, then do some after discussion.
    Do you think these can be “Inserted” within a Zoom Meeting?

    1. Yes! You need to use the Share Screen option. You need to have a browser open and then can just open up the YouTube links, or you could embed the links into a PowerPoint. Hope that helps!

  5. Thank you so much for ALL you are doing and I wish I hadn’t entered the Zoom meeting late. I appreciate the information on your blog and will keep coming back and reading! You are very kind, talented and helpful!

    1. Hello and thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I added 2 more sessions to try and get to more participants, so check out if the Saturday or Sunday option works for you!

  6. What time of day have you found works best for all your students to attend a meeting? During school hours or later in the evening?

    1. Hi and thank you for your message! I have found that during the day works best for my students. I asked families if our designated time works and everyone said yes!

  7. This has all been so helpful! Thank you! With copyright laws, , how are you obtaining permission for read alouds?

    1. Hi and thank you for your message! Many authors have given their permission to read their books, but I am not posting my read alouds anywhere either.

  8. Hi! I have just begun using Zoom but my administrator wants all staff attached to the children to attend—including her, PE, Music, service providers etc, but I want to keep it to my class, my 2 paras, and myself. What are your thoughts?

    1. I meet with my students each day at the same time, but offered my admin and specialist teachers to each come on a different day. They had the chance to share something, like read a book or video. I also gave them the chance to stay during my lesson or leave when they finished their part. It has worked well so far. But I also keep my Zoom session between 30-40 minutes, so my ‘guests’ know that they do not have very much time.

      But how would your admin and other teachers have the time to meet with every teacher that Zooms with his/her class?

    1. I do a combination of literacy & math review, using powerpoint slides, as well as screen sharing a variety of videos an online digital books. 🙂

  9. Hi there! Thank you for sharing! Do you happen to have an anchor chart for student expectations during a ZOOM meeting?

    1. HI and thanks for your message. 🙂 I did not make an anchor chart for my Zoom sessions, as I think that everyone has different expectations! Happy Zooming!

  10. Any suggestions for keeping a pre-k child interested in the zoom meeting. He likes to run away and this is distressing to his mother.

  11. Is it possible to see all of the kids who are in the meeting with me when I share my screen? I’d like to play games, but I’d have to see them all at the same time.

  12. Hey, Thank you ! It’s going to be helpful! Can you please share some topics for preschoolers?

    1. Hello and thank you for your comment. Do you know how to use the screen share feature of Zoom? That is how you share YouTube videos and visual assignments. Hope that helps.

  13. Hi Abbie, thank you for sharing this post. I am also a teacher and our school will also utilize the online teaching mode. Although some of our learners are using modular learning dueto problems with internet access and reliable gadgets, there are some who chose online learning and so we are preparing for it. I am familiar with Google classroom though. When using Zoom, are the kids required to their email accounts?

  14. How to I send an invite to parents to a meeting that is a week away? I’m able to do the invite if it is a few minutes away but not to schedule ahead of time. Thanks

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