Dive into Summer Learning

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Sitting here on my side porch attempting to close the tabs on the school year- literally- I have so many that need closing, I have a few final things to share with you before the official start to summer. This has been a whirlwind start to the 2020 year and to be honest, I am already wishing for summer 2021 just to know that we are not only past whatever will come this winter, but to know that we made it through what may be another hybrid school year. It’s not that I want to wish the time away, but I am looking forward to progress and changes on numerous fronts. So, as we are about to slide into summer, here are some resources to add to your beach reading and teaching toolbox.

The first is from Matt Miller: An Educator’s Resource for Distance Learning, Remote Learning, and e-Learning. Always one to share excellent resources, this set of ideas, tools, and templates will have you ready for whatever the 20-21 school year brings our way. You can even sign up for this free, 14-module (ranges from just over 3 to just under 14 minutes per module) Remote Learning 101 course. From “gearing up for remote learning” to “now what” including ideas that use no internet to how to help students with slow internet and others in between, this free course will help get you ready to enhance your remote teaching.

The next four links are to three Bitmoji Classrooms and resources. What is a Bitmoji Classroom you ask? Bitmoji Classrooms are interactive Slides using your Bitmoji and colorful backgrounds to share links, assignments, books, and more in a fun visual way. You can learn how to create your very own Bitmoji interactives here. So the first two links (actually the third and fourth if you are counting) is a copy of a free background you can use in your early childhood/kindergarten classroom to get started. Think of them as templates for those of us who like to start with them. You can just switch out her Bitmoji for yours, add your own message to the board and you can stop there or swap her bookshelf and books (with links) for your own. Both are easily adaptable to your upper elementary and even middle school classrooms with just a few changes. This is one for a Dr. Seuss-themed bookshelf and this is one for a Pete the Cat bookshelf. This last Bitmoji Classroom is a Black Lives Matter reading room filled with books and video read alouds to read and watch to with younger students to learn about being an an ally, an anti-racist, and learn about building a positive racial identity. Finally, here is a classroom full of math manipulatives like ten-frames, unifix cubes, base ten blocks and so many more for your students to use to practice their math skills. Be sure to click each element in all of the classrooms to see all the great things you will find.

The next few links are for teachers to read and learn about implicit bias, microaggressions, and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom so that come the fall, we can all do better for our students and colleagues. The first is from Edutopia, A Look at Implicit Bias and Microaggressions: A primer on the impact of implicit biases in schools and how they can be expressed by students and faculty. The next is, What is Culturally Inclusive Teaching. In it you will find videos, definitions, strategies, TED talks, lessons, and more; just keep reading, watching, and scrolling. This next article is from the Atlantic and it is titled, “What Anti-Racist Teachers Do Differently.” Hint: “Educators who are committed to black students use evidence in their own classrooms to find ways to improve” and, “It requires educators to view the success of black students as central to the success of their own teaching” They are not afraid to hold a mirror, be reflective about their practice, and hold themselves accountable for reaching all students everyday.

Looking for more ways to keep your learning going during the summer? Perhaps a little daily dose of learning to help prepare for the upcoming school year? The Global EdTech Academy is a free series of master classes, office hours, and edtech resources that you can watch and learn on your own time. So far, I watched Connecting the Community: Race and Culture in Education – Moderated by Ken Shelton (see Wakelet for additional resources) and am planning on watching the two-part master class, Embedding Authentic Choice and Voice with Pernille Ripp (creator of the highly successful Global Read Aloud). You can find all 41 current recordings here on their YouTube channel.

This final link is for all the history teachers out there who want to make sure that all stories are told and who want to “bridge history and current issues”. My colleague Mark, an amazing history teacher who seeks to do (and does) just that every day, shared it with me and so now I share it with you. It is the Choices Program from Brown University. Be sure to explore Teaching with the News, the free resources and lessons for your classroom.

Happy summer!

Handpicked Just for You

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I love when I have great things to share and today is one of those days. I have collection of items that include student voice, collaboration, exploration, and more than one that I think you will want to start using immediately.

First off is a favorite of mine for feedback, sharing, and reflection– Flipgrid. Here are some great ways to share your love of literacy from the Flipgrid blog. It’s titled, “Loving Literacy 365 Days a Year!” and it offers numerous ways you and your students can use Flipgrid to share a love of reading, discuss characters, learn from an author, and collaborate with other classes. For example, this teacher shared her 5th grade classes Flipgrid on book talks and opened it up to other classes to listen, comment, and add their own book talks. This authentic sharing of a love of books is just one of the amazing ways you can utilize this great tool. It’s not just for kids though, doing a search in their Disco (short for discovery) library will find that colleagues can participate as well through book chats, PD sharing, and more like this one on using tech in PE. Flipgrid is constantly upping their game and making it even better than it already is and it’s free for educators so why not get started and sign up?!

Next is a virtual book club paired with “a unit in a box” and it’s called #thebookchat. The creators of #Thebookchat choose books that introduce students to underrepresented voices and authors. Every six weeks or so educators from around the country are participating in an online discussion via Twitter using #thebookchat to discuss the selected book. Their next chat discussing James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time will be on March 10 at 9PM. What is fantastic about it is the list of diverse books and the accompanying resources for each. Everything you would need to share with your students as they read this book is included in the HyperDocs for each selected book. If you are looking for a way to add more diversity and inclusion to your curriculum (which we all should be doing), this is for you. While these books are mainly for high school students, this list from Edutopia offers books for all grade levels.

Sutori is a great tool for creating interactive timelines, but did you know you could do much more than that? This post offers 50 ways to use Sutori in all subjects and each level of school that you may not have considered. Think study guides, book reports, biographies, interactive discussions, assessments, lab reports, and 44 more.

Last and certainly not least is Classroom Screen. I learned about this yesterday from a tweet from my friend Loren and have been obsessed with it ever since. It is a multifunctional classroom management tool that you can begin using immediately. It combines timers, noise-level monitoring, stop light, a random name selector, white board, backgrounds, video, text, and more into one neat package. Just click the link, select the tool, and go. It’s that easy, that fun to use, and that good.

Read, Connect, Listen, Learn

Each week when trying to find things to share with my colleagues, I spend time clicking links in emails, opening links from Twitter, engaging in webinars, and reading different books on my Kindle. This week’s share pulls from all these places and comes with opportunities for everyone. Get comfy, there’s a nice amount coming your way.

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First off is an opportunity to connect with other classes during World Read Aloud Day. World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) is just two weeks away, happening February 1st. Lit World has pulled together the many ways you, or you and your class can celebrate WRAD including connecting with an author via Skype. Additionally, Mike Soskil, a teacher whom I follow on Twitter and wrote about during the 2017 DITCHSummit has created this connections project that your students can do synchronously or asynchronously depending on what works for you. However you choose to participate, it will be a great way to share a love of reading with another class.

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Speaking of reading, next up is Common Lit: leveled reading passages, text sets, instructional materials, and text-dependent questions created by teachers for teachers and is FREE “because teachers shouldn’t have to pay.” Common Lit recently, they added literacy materials for third and fourth grade so now the literacy support materials go from third through twelfth grade! There are many ways to find what you need including a searchable library, search by book, genre, grade level, lit device, text set, or theme. You are going to want to browse their collection and do some looking around at everything they have; it’s quite robust! Similarly, ReadWorks is free for K-12 teachers and has passages, texts, and curriculum that you can use to differentiate for your students on all topics and across all subjects. Like Newsela, ReadWorks lets you reach all learners; you can get less complex versions of original texts using step reads. Additionally, students can read or listen to texts and comprehension questions.

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The other day EdCurrent offered a free webinar titled, “Moving from One-Size-Fits-All to a Universal Design for Learning”. I signed up and then watched the recording the next day, which, as a side-note is a great way to deal with webinars that you are interested in but may not be able to participate in when offered. In any event, the next day in my inbox, along with the “sorry we missed you” message was the link to both the recording and the resources.

A great quote to come out of the webinar is this one, “How can we maximize the amazing strengths that Ss have so that we can eliminate barriers and make everyone successful?” It made me think of Lea Waters who recently tweeted this, “We often ask ourselves the question ‘What is wrong with me?’ But when we ask ourselves the question ‘What is right with me?’, we start to get a fuller sense of who we are. We start to identify the #strengths and assets that really help us to thrive and reach our full potential.” Its up to us as educators to create an environment in our classroom where all Ss can feel successful. To learn more, check out the recording.

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If you like to watch videos to help with learning, then you will like Edutopia’s, research and science-based “How Learning Happens” video series. Currently there are 22 videos on topics like Cultivating a Belonging Mindset, Fostering Positive Relationships, Building Academic Confidence, and Developing Foundational Skills.

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Lastly, if a child you know has anxiety, Renee Jain, a University of Pennsylvania MAPP (Master of Applied Positive Psychology) graduate and creator of the GoZen website (tools for dealing with anxiety and building resilience in schools and at home), now has a FREE podcast, Dear Anxiety. Jain and her guests share research-based solutions for “greater mental wellness for the whole family.” Currently there are four episodes, “Worrying about Worry”, “Tackling the Perfectionism Monster”, “Transforming Anger for Parents” and “Transforming Anger for Kids”.

Happy browsing!