Best Practices for Teaching Online -- K12 -- Laurel Springs School

[K12] Best Practices for Teaching Online — from Laurel Springs School; with thanks to The Journal for their article on this entitled, “While Schools Go Online, Here’s How Teachers Can Turn Uncertainty Into Opportunity” by Megan O’Reilly Palevich

Excerpt:

As I was reflecting on the magnitude of what is happening in K-12 education, I wanted to figure out a way to help the teaching community. It dawned on me that Laurel Springs has just over 150 teachers and almost 30 years of distance learning experience as a school. So, I asked our expert teaching faculty—what are your best practices for teaching online? I was overwhelmed by the responses and goodwill from my team. I am excited to share with you a guide to help with working remotely, communicating with students and families, and the best tips and resources for lower, middle, and upper school.

I hope that you find this information useful and share it with your colleagues. Feel free to pass it on and share—we are all in this together. As a parent, teacher, and leader, I appreciate you and all of the wonderfully creative things you are doing to do what you do best: TEACHING.

Please feel free to contact me for any additional support!

Warmest regards,

Best Practices for Teaching Online -- from Laurel Springs School by Megan O'Reilly Palevich

PDF file here.

 

First time director, Lillian LaSalle’s award-winning, powerful documentary, MY NAME IS PEDRO, explores what public education meant to South Bronx Latino maverick educator, Pedro Santana, and what he, in turn, meant to public education. The film is also especially timely in this moment of national reckoning since the murder of George Floyd, subsequent protests and high attention being paid to public school parity.

Infectious in his optimism, Santana becomes one of the most influential public-school teachers and then administrators in the New York public school system after turning his troubled Bronx middle school, MS 391, around. He is unapologetic in his commitment to create change for kids, no matter the odds. When a glowing front-page New York Times article catapults him into the spotlight, he is recruited and then accepts a promotion to use his famed ‘out of the box’ and transformative practices to save a corrupt and divided suburban school district. But the political challenges there may simply be too great, even for the infallible Santana.

In order to continue his life’s mission that ‘every kid can learn’, (he himself was labeled ‘special ed’ as a child), he realizes that he must venture beyond not only the restrictive ‘four walls’ of the public education system, but also his own neighborhood, city and even his own country. 

MY NAME IS PEDRO is a profound story of how one person actualizes learning and positive change in children, adults, environments and communities through an ‘impact’ ripple effect strategy that he has effortlessly perfected. The film is also an essential and timely reminder of the importance of great educators that exist within the infrastructure of our country’s public education system. 

OFFICIAL SELECTION AND AWARDS:

Winner: Best Documentary, Golden Door International Film Festival
Winner: Spotlight on Documentary Award, St. Louis International Film Festival
Winner: Audience Award, Chicago Latino International Film Festival
Winner: Audience Award, Brooklyn Film Festival
Winner: Award of Merit, Impact Docs
Winner: Honorable Mention, Woodstock Film Festival
Official Selection: Women’s Filmmaker Showcase, BAFF
Official Selection: San Diego Latino International Film Festival

MY NAME IS PEDRO- Connect on Social Media:

Award-winning documentary MY NAME IS PEDRO opened [yesterday] in virtual theaters in NYC on September 17 (Maysles Cinema) and will open in the following cities soon: LOS ANGELES on October 2 (Laemmle) with major cities to follow (on October 9) including: Philadelphia (Film Society), Minneapolis (Parkway Theater), Buffalo (North Park), Baltimore (Senator, The Charles), Vancouver (Kiggins Theater), Tucson (Loft), Cleveland (Cleveland Cinemas), Phoenix (Film Bar), Bellingham (Pickford Center). Winston Salem (Aperture Cinema), Tampa (Tampa Theater) and more.

 


Per Emma Griffiths (EG-PR), if you go to the link below, you can watch this film virtually and buy a ticket by clicking on the Tickets button next to Maysles Cinema — New York, NY:


 

Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom – What’s Working, What’s Not — from derekbruff.org by Derek Bruff

Excerpt:

Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester, I wanted to know what was working and what was a continuing challenge for instructors, so I convened a conversation on teaching earlier this week attended by 18 of my faculty colleagues representing a range of disciplines. They were excited to be back in the classroom this fall. “There’s a different energy when we’re face-to-face,” one of them said. We had a lively discussion via Zoom about hybrid teaching, including what made it exciting and what made it frustrating, and I wanted to share a few highlights here on the blog.

I waited a minute or two while the participants thought and typed, and when it was clear that most of the participants were no longer typing, I said, “Ready, set, go!” Everyone hit enter, and a slew of responses appeared in the chat at the same time. At this point, we all spent a couple of minutes reading through the responses. I selected a couple that were particularly interesting and called on those participants to elaborate via video.

Also see:

Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms — from cft.vanderbilt.edu by Derek Bruff

 

If I’m standing at the front of the classroom with half or a third of my students in the room with me, but sitting six feet apart from each other and wearing masks, while the rest of my students are joining class by videoconference, what strategies might I employ to engage all of my students in meaningful learning?

I’m going to try to outline some options here in this blog post, drawing on ideas and resources from across the higher education community, but I would enthusiastically welcome additional approaches in the comments below or via Hypothesis annotations.

Derek Bruff

 

Today’s awkward Zoom classes could bring a new era of higher education — from edsurge.com by Debra Spar

Excerpt:

Indeed, the forced march to Zoom has also forced colleges and universities to wrestle at last with the incipient promise of educational technologies; with the power that was evident, if not yet realized, in the early MOOCs. Much of that power has to do with scale–the ability to take a single course, even a single lecture, and share it across a vast universe of learners. But some also comes from the strange intimacy of the small screen, and from the possibilities of collapsing both time and space.

Office hours, for instance, migrate easily. Bringing in guest speakers works remarkably well, allowing faculty to introduce a wide range of voices into their classroom conversations. On the screen, everyone can see and hear and participate. 

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room

 

From DSC:
Yet another example of the changes occurring in the learning ecosystems out there.

COVID-19 Fuels Big Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools — from edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

Excerpt:

Florida Virtual School’s enrollment is up 54 percent year over year for its individual online course offerings and 64 percent for full-time programs. Public schools’ online programs managed by the for-profit provider K12 Inc. have grown from 122,000 enrollments in fall 2019 to 170,000 a year later. Applications to Connections Academy, a virtual school provider owned by Pearson, are up 61 percent.

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School filled up months before it usually starts receiving the bulk of new applicants. An Oklahoma virtual charter school earlier this summer was enrolling 1,000 students a day. Enrollment in virtual schools is also up in ConnecticutOhio, and Wisconsin.

 

What parents of special needs children should know about the school year — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpts:

Embarking on a new school year can be daunting if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, even under normal circumstances.

But navigating a child’s Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan while he or she begins the year with remote learning, as many are doing this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, can add multiple layers of stress, education experts say.

This makes a parents’ understanding of their child’s learning experience more important now than ever, the experts say.

“Many students did not receive services and supports that were outlined in their IEPs (including) services related to specially designed instruction, speech and language, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Now we enter the next school year with a high level of uncertainty.”

 

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 A New Way Forward:

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Also see the following “Must Reads” from A New Way Forward:


From DSC:
Along these lines…in regards to digital equity, I’m reminded of this recent graphic:

Let's use television for folks who don't have access to the Internet -- Daniel Christian

 

Just released today! Jane Hart’s Top 200 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart's Top 200 Tools for Learning -- released on 9-1-20

Top 200 Tools for Learning — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

The Top Tools for Learning 2020 was compiled by Jane Hart from the results of the 14th Annual Learning Tools Survey, and released on 1 September 2020. For general information about the survey and this website, visit the About page. For observations and infographics of this year’s list, see Analysis 2020.

 

 

Teaching isn’t the same thing as learning: How Judaism reflects fundamental principles of learning — from michaelbhorn.com by Michael Horn

Excerpts:

As I reflected, it occurred to me that what the Torah is doing is what, in education, we might call spiraling. Spiraling is the notion that a student learns more about a topic each time she revisits it and thus expands her knowledge or improves her skill level. When you spiral, you intentionally spread the learning out over time, rather than only concentrate it in certain periods.

Broadly speaking, what Judaism recognizes is a fundamental truth—that teaching is not the same thing as learning. We don’t learn when someone is ready to teach it to us, but when we as individuals are ready to learn. You can’t make someone learn who isn’t ready for it.

Michael Horn   

 

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 
 

James Lang’s Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — from tophat.com by Harleen Dhami
Navigating distraction in the virtual classroom starts with curating novel, community-oriented learning activities

Excerpt:

You suggest that how instructors teach is often at odds with how students learn. What’s the disconnect here?
The disconnect is taking for granted that students should pay attention. What we need to think about is how we structure the class in a way that sustains someone’s attention through an extended period of time. We need to think like playwrights. What do they do to maintain attention? They have acts and scenes, there’s an intermission, the action rises and falls. At the beginning of a play, something happens that is designed to intrigue you and get you engaged in the story. I argue in the book that we have to think both like a playwright and like a poet. You have to think like a playwright in terms of the structure. You have to think like a poet in terms of “what’s going to reawaken the attention of my students,” or awaken the attention of my students to this particular content for the day.

 

I’m a teacher headed back to school next month. It’s going to be traumatic. — from co.chalkbeat.org by Autumn Jones
A teacher mental health crisis is coming. Schools should prepare themselves now. 

Excerpts:

Last week, the Colorado district where I teach announced schools would return August 18 for a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. That means that teachers must face the reality of walking into a school building where little of what we were taught about being a teacher will apply. We will be expected at school five days a week, teaching alternating groups of students while also providing remote instruction for those learning from home.

What happens when, instead of getting the virus, we see educators experience anxiety, panic attacks, or stress-induced ailments? Do schools have the necessary supports in place to care for the mental health of its educators?

From DSC:
Which brings up some important questions re: teacher education / student teaching:

  • How are schools of education dealing with the Coronavirus? For example, can a student-teacher get the appropriate credits if they teach a learning pod?
  • How are schools of education modifying how they prepare the teachers of tomorrow? Are they (hopefully) introducing more training in how to teach online? 
  • What curriculum changes are in the works (hopefully) as I write this? 
  • Will many teachers leave this area of work and pursue other pathways/opportunities?
  • And numerous other questions I’m sure.

 

 

Learning ecosystems across the country — especially those involving K-12 — are morphing once again.

Have you heard about the explosive interest and potential growth involving “learning pods” — also called “pandemic pods”!?! It’s amazing to see how quickly things are changing in this fluid situation. This is another great example of how the macro-learning ecosystem for K-12 is changing — as well as the changes happening at more of a micro-level. (To see how true this is, put a Google Alert or two out there for “learning pods,” “pod learning,” and/or “pandemic pods.”)

For some information about these changes, see some of the example articles below:


From DSC:

Though very interesting to see what occurs here, I, too, am concerned about the inequalities and the potential for expanding the learning gaps across the country (between the folks who have the resources and those folks who do not). For example, consider that the cost ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 dollars per studentper month — in the San Francisco Bay Area. (See COVID-19 learning pods: Here’s how they work and what Bay Area schools say about them by Luz Pena.) Or see

On the other side of things…maybe this will be a new area of opportunity for the student teachers and education programs out there.
 

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