During this unprecedented time, we need to shift in ways that are challenging to say the least. Teaching is already challenging and this pushes us even further out of the comfort zone. But there are opportunities with Distance Learning to go deeper with students and to use technology to enhance the learning experience for students as best we can. Here are some ideas and resources.
5 Key Tips:
- Use the technology available that you are most comfortable with and demand support
- Deeper learning is more learning: Focus on big, engaging ideas and chunk the learning so students build skills more independently over time
- Be SUPER consistent with schedule, routines and procedures and keep them SIMPLE and COHERENT
- Set up a flexible responsive communication channel with parents and caregivers
- Practice self compassion and acceptance as much as possible and spread this to students and families by focusing heavily on kindness and respect while online
Resources by Tip:
Tip 1: Free Distance Learning Resources
Tip 2: Deeper Learning Really is More
Tip 3: Coherency is Your Friend
Tip 4: Communication with Your Community
Tip 5: Self Compassion and Respect Online
Interested in professional development in Distance Learning? Virtual Instructional Coaching? Webinars? Individual teachers get free support. Affordable support for schools and districts. Email me at email@example.com.
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Maya Angelou said it best above. Managing ourselves during times of stress can be challenging. What we say to students, how we say it and how it makes students feel is crucial for a safe learning environment. Students know what makes them feel good about themselves and what makes them feel successful. When I asked my students what makes them feel good here’s what they said:
- Smile when you see me.
- Call me by my name.
- Listen to me when I talk.
- Don’t make assumptions about me, ask me questions.
- Let me know that you missed me when I was absent.
- Recognize my own special talents even if they don’t show up on my report card.
- Give me a chance to succeed in at least one way each day.
- Praise me when I do something well.
- If you do not like something I do, please help me understand that you still like me as a person.
- Respect me even if I still struggle to respect others and myself. I’m still learning.
- Show me that I have a lot of options for the future, and that I can set my own goals.
- Insist I aim high. Always. Even when I don’t want to.
Ask your students what motivates them. Try to reach a young person with these self-esteem builders every day. High self-esteem builds stronger people and stronger communities. Remember, students experiencing success, even if small, is key to motivation. Motivation is key to learning.
TRY THIS ICE BREAKER AND GET SOME STUDENT VOICE ON THE WALLS
Click Here: BIO-POEM
Gearing up for #LLCON 2019! I will be presenting: Tools for Transforming Teacher Team Capacity and Leading Sustainable High Quality Pathways on Weds, March 20 at 3:30, Room Crystal A!
Here are my takeaways from last year:
Great Learning at Linked Learning Convention 2018!
I had a fantastic time at the Linked Learning Convention! So many educators from all over came together to learn about how to make the high school experience engaging for students while preparing them for college and careers through industry themed Pathways. I even got to meet an inspiring young chef who is a senior at an alternative school in Oakland who came to present at the conference about work based learning.
The Community Science Workshop Network was on hand to provide opportunities for participants to tinker, make, and explore their world through STEM and the Environment.
I was honored to present two sessions: Integrated Curriculum Design Studio and CCASN’s College and Career Pathways Leadership Guide.
I hope to see folks at Educating for Careers Conference next week where I will be presenting CCASN’s College and Career Pathways Leadership Guide: New Tools to Solve Problems of Practice on Monday, March 5 at 1:15-2:30 in Room 308 of the Convention Center.
This APM Reports documentary by Emily Hanford Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? is a really thought provoking piece about how children read and how kids and families land in the middle of the tug of war over how kids read – phonics vs. whole language still at it. We can all agree that everyone needs to learn how to read. When we examine prison populations and reading literacy rates we starkly see why. Better readers do better. Is reading natural? If we just give kids lots of books, is that enough? Where does phonics fit in? For how long? The education community does not agree. I am a scientist at heart. I must follow the science of reading to formulate my bottom line.
Reading instruction must be dynamic and include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Reading is natural for some but not others especially if you have a processing difference like dyslexia or are coping with trauma. Kids need support with phonics blending AND they need to learn whole words. Real tasks that use real texts across content areas to build background knowledge is essential for ongoing vocabulary development and reading comprehension.
Here are my Top 5 Reading Tips Based on Reading Science:
1. Phonics is ESSENTIAL through at least 1st grade and should continue as needed through strategic grouping.
2. Spelling instruction is important but should never hold students back from new learning or be overdone.
3. Word study or morphology with roots, prefixes and suffixes teaches kids to crack the code as they develop as readers starting in 3rd grade especially when gamified.
4. Leveled, “just right books” can limit access to and practice with complex language so beware.
5. Science, social studies, art and music build students general content knowledge and develop and even accelerate reading comprehension skills.
Need help developing your reading approach based on reading science? Let me know. I can help.
Building Blocks of Reading
The end of the school year is often a frenzy of activities and we all can’t wait for the summer to begin. We make a huge energetic push to get the kids and ourselves to the finish line so and the lure of sleeping in a little later and the summer adventure we have planned are naturally on the forefronts of our minds. But are we missing out if we don’t make time for some reflection on our year? Time flies and the school year ramps up and we think, “what was that system improvement I wanted to make?,” or “I know I wanted to tweak this unit but I can’t remember what I wanted to do and now I don’t have time to do it,” or “I really was never able to reach that student and I really need to do better for kids but how?” We often don’t have the opportunity to innovate or iterate because as soon as the year starts up again, the madness begins and we start our race to the finish line once again.
Taking the time to do a written reflection at the end of the school year is a powerful ritual that can go a long way to moving the needle for teachers and principals but also for the students we serve. Teachers who engage in reflection rituals often end up sharing this reflective practice with students. Same goes for school and district leaders. Self knowledge of accomplishments and areas for improvement helps our brains and the systems we create grow. Reflective mindsets are more open to collaborative inquiry and can more easily adapt and be responsive to challenges and changes and interrupt the status quo that continues to marginalize way too many students and families. The more reflective rituals are honored, the more they take root and flourish.
Here is a process for reflection that helps us be systems thinkers as we “go wide” to assess our current reality and lift that which we want to celebrate and replicate and that which we need to tweak or stop doing altogether.
An After Action Review is a high level set of reflective prompts that foster reflection in a short period of time.
Try this set of prompts:
- Based on your goals for the year, what was supposed to happen?
- What actually happened?
- What do you think accounts for the difference?
- Think of student who you had great success with. What actions did you take do you attribute to this success? What other factors in the system were at play?
- Now think of a student who you did not reach. What actions did you take do you attribute to this challenge? What other factors in the system were at play?
- What will you do with what you have learned from this reflection? Write out a list to act on.
What are some of the ways you reflect? Feel free to leave a comment.
And after some purposeful reflection…go to the beach! For real. Recharge those batteries. You so deserve it and in case not enough people said it – THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR KDIS EVERYDAY!
The University of California’s annual “a-g” course submission period is February 1 – September 15 and the May 31st Phase 1 deadline is fast approaching.
In order for students to accomplish their a-g requirements to be eligible for UC, high schools must submit course descriptions for approval in order for the course offering to “count” so timely submission and approval is imperative for our students. A-g Course Descriptions are essential to robust Programs of Study and also can be opportunities for teachers to collaborate on curriculum development and can support instructional coherence. The AG Course Management Portal
has an extensive list of already approved Course Descriptions that schools can adopt and provides anytime access to:
- Draft and submit new “a-g” course
- Check the status of course submissions
- Search and view “a-g” approved courses
- Update your institution’s demographic information
Another amazing resource for a-g approved Course Descriptions is University of California Curriculum Integration (UCCI). UCCI Course Descriptions have the distinction of being “integrated” with Core Content + CTE industry themes. While these course were mainly designed to be used in College & Career Pathways, any CA high school can adopt them.
I have had the opportunity to write approved descriptions and also to build out the approved courses into fleshed out units and have found the work so rewarding. Here is a link to some of the work I coordinated: tinyurl.com/UCCICourses2015
Teachers collaborating on Curriculum development is the best professional development in my view! #learningbydoing
Solved Problems of Practice in real time at Educating for Careers! Learned new ways to serve at risk students from Apple Valley High and also how CTE is MTSS! This is the teacher conference. Practical take aways! Looking forward to next year’s shenanigans.