Instruction

Thoughtful Engagement Leads to Essential Empowerment

Categories: Authors, Instruction, Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, Solution Tree, Student Engagement

As we reflect on the trials faced during this COVID-19 state of being, we long for a chance to navigate away from struggles and toward new beginnings. During this new phase of learning designed by the pandemic, I find myself in the role of guest teacher in order to keep the education of students continuing when symptoms or close contact removes the regular teacher for a brief period. I must admit that I absolutely love being back in a classroom setting and interacting with students. Having an opportunity to provide instruction on a variety of topics fills me with both excitement and anxiety. As a principal the stakes are certainly high; you make sure to meet the same expectations you have set for your staff when you take the reins, and one of the key pieces is student engagement. Engagement is paramount while we focus on bridging learning gaps caused by the recent upheaval.

All parties grapple with building connections and maintaining engagement during this socially isolated time. The struggle is real. It is real for the teaching staff, students, support staff, administration, parents, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and the list goes on. We have all been searching for an answer on how to engage safely with each other, on the level we desire and know to be essential for growth in an education setting. Critical are the relationships built during the course of a school year. The personal bonds that teachers have with their students reinforce basic needs of belonging, which is the antithesis of what many of us are currently feeling. Social isolation, specifically in a school setting, has created a disconnect. The pandemic has often left us with somewhat superficial attachments rather than the deeper camaraderie facilitated through daily face-to-face sessions. Targeted work to show compassion and caring through our extended or virtual classrooms has been a goal for educators of all disciplines. Integrating social-emotional learning strategies has provided help in this work of regaining and maintaining connections as we shift our focus from engagement to empowerment. Read more

Searching For My “Awe Family” Response!

Categories: Instruction, Leadership, Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, Solution Tree

Image of heart with blog title

I sense a paradox of competing emotions on the horizon.

On one hand I find joy in the capacity of our positive, generous, and courageous human response to the relentless stress, strain, and change we have faced each day for almost a year now. On the other hand, I feel queasy and uneasy as we close in on the anniversary of the most intense, unexpected and unwelcome change to our personal and professional lives as educators. March 2020 seems so long ago, and yet it sticks so close to, and lives inside of, our very being as teachers.

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Introducing Our Parents as Partners: A New Resource for Parents & Caregivers

Categories: Instruction, Solution Tree, Student Engagement, Technology

This year has been challenging for everyone, parents included. That’s why we’re excited to announce a brand-new resource for parents and caregivers alike. Introducing … OurParentsAsPartners.org. 

A curated collection of helpful tips and relevant information, this new website is designed to provide assistance to families navigating today’s current educational landscape.

Based on direct insights from teachers and school leaders, the information on this site will help parents and caregivers:

  • Meet their children’s basic needs
  • Better facilitate learning at home
  • Support their children’s emotional needs
  • Ensure remote learning is on track with curriculum standards
  • Keep their children on the pathway to fulfilling their potential

Think of it as a compendium for parents supporting distance learners.

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Metacognitive Strategies for Improving Students' Mental Health

Metacognitive Strategies for Improving Students’ Mental Health

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Now more than ever, students need skills, strategies, and mental processes to more effectively cope with the many challenges that COVID-19, racial inequities, and distance learning pose.

Although many educators teach a wide range of critical-thinking skills, problem-solving processes, and coping strategies, students often lack the ability to independently identify and apply the appropriate critical-thinking skill, problem-solving process, or coping strategy to help them stay calm, think clearly, and resolve conflicts. Read more

Using Protocols in the Virtual Classroom

Using Protocols in the Virtual Classroom

Categories: Instruction, Technology

There are many strategies to help facilitate the virtual learning experience. Organizing students into small groups can be a powerful learning structure to combat student isolation and increase student engagement.

But how do you ensure that putting students into breakout rooms will produce positive learning outcomes for the group and for each student? One strategy that is effective in facilitating small-group learning is using protocols. Read more