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 Classroom, etc., while Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. may be used for synchronous video. Resources for asynchronous video (engage on your time and when it's convenient) include YouTube, Screencastify, etc. for personalized videos for students and families. It's important that school districts choose the resources they'll be using so that teachers, students, and parents can learn the platforms and resources that the district is using consistently across the district.
2. Demonstration of student learning becomes essential to avoid large learning gaps in all grade levels. This is a time to encourage teachers to offer different test formats, including oral presentations and group projects, to get a more accurate picture of what students know. One suggestion offered to a member who teaches middle school social studies involved having students research significant historical figures through an organized project. As an assessment, students could dress up and use props to do an oral presentation for the class held in Zoom. An organizer, a written essay, or a video can all be a form of assessment.
3. Students can have many reasons or excuses for not engaging and participating in school during a traditional school year, and with this unusual year, many teachers and parents are worried about the engagement and the different ways to keep students motivated. At the core, to keep them engaged, students must feel like school is important and that the learning is relevant. Letting kids make choices and giving them assignments that feel relevant to their lives are some examples of how teachers can sustain students’ interest. Allow the assessments to connect to real-world events, students' interests, and to creative activities. Other common strategies include making skill-building feel like a game and creating opportunities for students to get involved in collaborative groups...even when teaching remotely.
Are YOU ready?
Make sure to get your systems set.
And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, just get it GOing!
Until next time...
P.S. Teacher to Teacher is an online membership that offers masterclasses each month, shares resources, and provides support for educators. There is no reason to feel like you are an Island...connect and join Teacher to Teacher...your online membership for personal and professional development