From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter told me about this great/cool WIN-WIN situation here! I thought it was so cool, that I wanted to pass it along. What a great way to help communities, students, folks who want to read/write/produce art and more!


 

Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Chicago's only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space

Powered by Bookshop: Supporting local, independent bookstores.

Chicago’s only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space, Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge; while also using the power of words to better our community.

 

Perfect poetry picks for your homeschool — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Perfect poetry picks for your homeschool

 

From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

From DSC:
Thanks Tony for this item. I was trying to think of how to do this just the other day…so I’m a bit late in posting this, but better late than never, heh?

 

33 Great Ways to Teach English with Technology –from englishpost.org

Excerpt:

How to Teach English with Technology is about language and second language teaching using the best educational technology resources for the ESL Classroom.

When technology integration in the classroom is seamless and thoughtful, students not only become more engaged, they begin to take more control over their own learning, too.

 

From DSC:
Besides the idea of a learning journal and having students check in on these 3 questions…

…here’s another idea/approach to consider using:

The Start, Stop, Continue Strategy —  by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

  • Write down one thing they would like for you or their classmates to START doing to make the course more successful.
  • Next, ask students to write down one thing they would like you or their classmates to STOP doing.
  • Then, ask students to write down one thing they’d like for you or their classmates to CONTINUE doing.

 

From DSC:
The problem with some of this, I realize, is that one person’s learning preferences are just that. They represent that one person’s learning preferences. So someone may say they don’t like using Discussion Boards, while someone else says that DBs work well for them. But if you hear enough of your students say to stop doing XYZ, then that’s solid feedback. Or if enough students ask, “Could we START doing ABC?”…that’s good feedback. 

I found the above item from Barbi’s recent posting:

Excerpts:

  • Here are two recommendations and one strategy to encourage students to read:
    RECOMMENDATION #1 TO GET STUDENTS TO READ: FIND THE WHY.
    RECOMMENDATION #2 TO GET STUDENTS TO READ: CLARIFY THE “DO”
 
 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 

From DSC:
Below are some resources for teaching at home. And some of this (much of this?) is not typical homeschooling, just as much of what’s being done out there isn’t necessarily typical online-based learning. And some out there may not like such lists, and would prefer a detailed report on just one tool. But this last week was incredibly busy — and time is not a luxury I have right now. And these resources might provide someone out there with just the right tool or pedagogy that they’ve been looking for.

Also, I might suggest:

  • Creating a Google alert (google.com/alerts) on HSLDA, on homeschooling, on homeschoolers, and/or on related searches.
  • Create a Keyword Alert on an RSS aggregator such as Feedly
  • Follow relevant hashtags on Twitter such as #homeschooling

Some analog ideas:

  • Reading a book together
  • Watching a play, drama, or another type of program together
  • Taking a walk out in nature together
  • Gather together as a family and/or lingering over breakfast or dinner
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Taking pictures

And now is a great time to see what your child or children WANT TO LEARN ABOUT! Turn over the control to them for a while — and watch what happens when intrinsic motivation takes hold! 


Not a teacher but find yourself homeschooling? These educational apps are free — from parade.com by Stephanie Osmanski

  • This posting covers 25 Free Learning Apps

We are all homeschoolers now (podcast) — from cato.org featuring Kerry McDonald and Caleb Brown
Thanks to COVID-19, many parents find themselves with kids at home all day. What’s the best way to keep them engaged in their educations? Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled, comments.

Getting Smart’s Getting Through

Free, Online Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools — from cato.org by Kerry McDonald

Homeschooling Mother and Author: 6 Ideas For Parents While Schools Are Closed — from fee.org by Kerry McDonald
Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, there are steps parents can take to make time at home with their children more rewarding and tolerable.

Apps for Special Needs Students—As School Buildings Shutter — from edutopia.org by Janey Clare
The coronavirus creates a unique challenge for special needs students—educators share recommendations for apps to support learning at home.

How to Support Home Learning in Elementary Grades — from edutopia.org by John Thomas
A first and second grade teacher shares his home learning plan for his students and how he is engaging their families.

6 Lessons Learned About Remote Learning During the Coronavirus Outbreak — from blogs.edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

 

From DSC:
How’s this for your next gift for that person in your life who loves books!?! 🙂


The Bookwheel Allowed 16th-Century Scholars to Read Multiple Books at One Time — from interestingengineering.com by Trevor English
This contraption allowed engineers to read multiple books at the same time.

 

Top ten podcasts every teacher needs to hear — from wiley.com; with thanks to Emily Liebtag for her posting on Twitter for this resource

Excerpt:

Listening to podcasts is an easy way to dive into a topic that interests you and learn something new from others who share your passion for education.

We’re highlighting the following ten podcast episodes featuring Jossey-Bass authors that you can listen to whenever, wherever to help you master your craft or reignite your love of teaching.

So, take some time for yourself, grab your earbuds, and press play on these…

 

Can Storytime in the Laundromat Improve Early-Childhood Literacy? — from PBS News Hour, edweek.org, youtube.com

Description:

How about reading a book in between the wash and spin cycles? That is what’s happening in some of the nation’s laundromats as early-literacy groups, librarians, and laundromat owners combine forces to bring books and story hours to everyday locations.

 

 

 
 

Awesome study hacks: 5 ways to remember more of what you read — from academiccoachingwithpat.com by Pat LaDouceur; with thanks to Julia Reed for her Tweet on this

Excerpts:

  1. Annotate as you read
  2. Skim
  3. Rewrite key ideas in your own words
  4. Write a critique
  5. List your questions

 

Reorganizing information helps you learn it more effectively, which is why Rewriting makes the list as one of the top 5 reading study hacks. It forces you to stay active and involved with the text (from DSC: the word “engaged” comes to mind here), to consider arguments and synthesize information, and thus remember more of what you read.

 

 

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