It used to be mid-summer break when the echos of “I’m bored” and “There’s nothing to do” would often be heard, but with the physical distancing and Stay-At-Home orders, it’s not only children that have uttered these sentiments. And now that the new school year has begun, many educators and parents are finding themselves overwhelmed and stressed to the max.
As an advocate for following the philosophy of the Indian Proverb A House With Four Rooms, I have some suggestions to spark some fun and learning for all ages for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
The Physical Room includes your physical body and the physical space in which you live. So this list offers a smorgasbord of ideas.
Back at school? Too tired? Rest. Brain fog? Rest. Overwhelmed? Rest. Haven’t had a day off in two weeks? Rest.
There are many draining activities that simply resting can mitigate. Resting covers a multitude of draining experiences, but as teachers, sometimes rest and relaxation are just the beginning of what you need.
So...what happens when rest isn’t enough? You may need outside help. Here are three signs you may need extra support when rest isn’t enough.
There are times when things are too far gone or too big to manage with a nap and a weekend getaway. Some forms of weariness might need outside, professional help. Thankfully, there are people who can get you back on track even when...
Starting back to school is certainly a CHALLENGE this year, and you may wonder why I may suggest you take a leap into another CHALLENGE, but it's an important one that can help your students with Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).
Writing and journaling is a great strategy for working through emotions, ideas, and thoughts. There are several ways you can put together a journaling challenge for all grades. One of the easiest is to use a site like www.journalbuddies.com for prompts.
Daily writing in a relaxed format provides a non-threatening way to be able to explore different thoughts, ideas, topics, and feelings without being concerned about audience presentation. It can be a low-stake writing assignment that opens up to deep conversations.
Educators and parents can start by offering a daily prompt to get students writing routinely. Another strategy is to have them write friendly letters to you or to other classmates...remember...
With the summer break winding down, it's time to prepare for welcoming a new school year; however, for most teachers, this year will be quite different from years past. School districts will be reopening with modified school schedules, remote learning, distance learning, or a combination with a hybrid system. Professional development has included training for digital platforms, available resources for curriculum delivery, and Universal Design for Learning Guidelines.
As a learning team, we must come up with multiple ways to interact with learning and demonstrate that learning with and for our students.
It's time to get ready, set, and go!
1. Engagement is a key: optimize individual choice and autonomy while providing that information is presented in more than one way, including text, audio, and hands-on formats. Students and families need to be able to access and learn how to use the platform chosen by the school district. This may be using Schoology, Google...
As schools prepare to welcome back students, whether face-to-face or virtually, they must quickly assess just how much progress students lost because of the emergency spring shutdowns and summer hiatus.
Most educators, parents, and students agree that a lot of instructional time and learning were missed. Imagine the reports from the Los Angeles Times that reports Los Angeles school districts said about 15,000 high school students had failed to do any schoolwork in the first few weeks after the spring shutdowns.
Absenteeism was also a problem throughout the country. According to The Boston Globe, one-third of Providence Public Schools' 24,000 students were reported as chronically absent between March 23 and May 26th. Imagine the lost learning opportunities.
Educational leaders have warned that the pandemic could set back an entire generation of children, and without the data from the end of year exams, many share concerns about...
“People respond well to those who are sure of what they want”
- Anna Wintour
There’s a train of thought that all things in life are neutral until meaning is attached to them. That’s why one person’s tragedy is another person’s opportunity. It’s entirely the same with making decisions. Outcomes - or the fruits - of a decision don’t have any inherent meaning until the people attached to the decision apply it. That’s why there’s more to consider when making a decision than what might seem obvious.
Making good decisions takes intention. The bigger the stakes attached to the decision, the more thought goes into making it. It might not take much thought to eat breakfast but choosing what to eat runs the decision through a gauntlet of sorts.
Decision to be made: What to eat for breakfast
Considerations: Time allotted to eat, health components of the meal,...
The decisions to start school with remote learning are starting to come in across the country, and many teachers are scrambling to figure out how to take their curriculum online without losing the academic rigor needed for student growth.
Here are a few key strategies from Teacher to Teacher for taking your teaching online:
1. Create meaningful relationships with students and parents.
Put together a tutorial for parents that equips them with the essential skills needed to facilitate learning at home. Make sure to include access to the learning program you will be using. Explain your classroom expectations, routines, instruction delivery, and grading policy for assignments. It is also important to teach e-safety recommendations during your tutorial.
There are a couple of ways to do this tutorial via Zoom: record yourself walking through the steps of logging on and provide a tour of your online classroom or record the tutorial with parents so that they can get answers to their...
Each day there's more news, opinions, and worries about reopening schools, and educators, parents, and students know that one way or another, school starts in the fall.
Many children experience anxiety about returning to school under normal conditions; however, with the uncertainty and health risks of Covid-19, the anxiety levels are higher and shared among students, parents, and educators. Parents juggling working from home and facilitating their student's schooling have had the opportunity to understand and show empathy for teachers. "I love my twins, but I don't want to be their teacher; I'm their mom. I just bless their teachers for spending all day with them Monday through Friday and having the patience to deal with their nonstop questions and teach them what they need to learn," Shelly said.
What are some of the things learned from the emergency shut-downs this past spring and the turn to remote learning?
One of the reasons adults resist making decisions is their lack of experience. Kids who grew up under hovering helicopter parents didn’t have the same opportunities to make decisions that empowered kiddos did. Kids with parents who structured every second of their kids’ day may not have developed the problem-solving, critical thinking, and negotiating skills that free-range kids learned...yet as educators, we can encourage kids to make their own decisions.
Some may argue that the world isn’t what it used to be, and kids can’t experience the freedoms that their feral latch-key parents had. Long gone are the days of going out to play in the neighborhood and not coming home until dark to parents who relied on Swanson’s tv dinners and sitcoms to fill up the hours prior to bedtime. There’s a truth that the world is no longer as safe for kids to explore.
Children require a higher level of...
Reopening schools in the fall is very much a part of our conversations as we move through the weeks of summer. And, the one thing we all seem to agree upon is that there are a lot of opinions. Rather than address those opinions from politicians, education leaders, healthcare professionals, the CDC, communities, parents, and students, I’ll use this blog post to encourage a few essential actions for teachers to prepare for the new school year.
1. Relationship building is essential to teaching whether in person, in a hybrid model, or with a completely online distance program. There are several things you can do to start building relationships with your students, parents, and the educational team.