3 Approaches To Uncovering Learning Loss And Learning Gains … TO WHAT END?

Cross Posted from Learning Sets

From sardonic opinions to marketing tactics, system leaders have been deluged with a torrent of commentary and predictions about learning loss. The leadership challenge right now is to sort out the obvious reality of losses that have occurred because of the pandemic from nebulous abstractions of loss. It is tempting to slide back into content coverage and testing to determine how our learners have fared which will likely result in more rigidity in the four program structures that are the nest for teaching and learning:  schedules, learning spaces, learning groupings, and personnel configurations.

This is a “right now” leadership moment to articulate and own the approach for your system over the next few years. In effect, we are asking you to call it out directly, transparently for all your school community members to see so that they understand the heavy lift that requires regardless of what approach you choose.

Approach 1- RECOVER. Over the course of a few years we can recover by focusing on coverage of established curriculum with limited revisions to content but more deliberate incorporation of virtual learning tools and management systems.  Requires the purchase or design of intensive benchmark assessments, increase in instructional time, and an explicit focus on remediation to get back to grade level work.

Related Actions. While the existing school vision or portrait of a graduate are an aspiration of what we hope for every student, the clarion call is how to get students back on grade level driven by testing results. The Curriculum and Instructional Design Choices would be governed by these questions: What to cover? What to reinforce?  Assessments would be those used in the past to reaffirm coverage of curriculum and retainment of basic skills. There is an increased focus on the use of standardized testing and purchased products to determine remediation and intervention strategies. This also might impact how students are scheduled and grouped as well as opportunities they have access to such as recess and electives.

Approach 2- REFRESH. Over the course of a few years, we can refresh curriculum and pedagogy by continuing specific practices that were borne out of necessity during the pandemic. Requires intensive PLC and vertical level work, commitment to future forward goals, increased use of formative assessments, and leveraging the four structures for innovative ideas to flourish.

Related Actions. The school vision or portrait of a graduate are revisited and perhaps modified to  the range of learning environments students and staff experienced navigated during the pandemic.  For example, future-forward goals, framed as roles for learners, can be added to our aspirations such as student as digital citizen,  self-navigator, and innovative designer.  These goals become the north star to help navigate our curriculum choices for refreshing courses.   Grade level, department, and vertical teams of faculty will be focus on a deliberate review of  scope and sequence and asking:  What to cut out? What to cut back? What to consolidate? What to keep? Limited attention is given to structural shifts with basic adherence to previous schedules, and spaces (both on-site and virtual), grouping of students, and faculty.  There may be a willingness to experiment with innovative ideas such as adding a new space to create and collaborate or  periodic scheduling changes to make space for a more intensive study or  exhibition of learning. For the most part,  the curriculum is refreshed but the program structures are maintained. 

Approach 3- RESET. Over the course of a few years, we can reset and design new possibilities by making curricular and structural choices to create contemporary opportunities for our future forward goals. Requires deliberate examinations of existing practices, policies, and structures to inform next iterations of schooling for our community.

Related Actions. Actively seeking input from all perspectives in the school community to update learning goals and opportunities with a particular eye to new roles and responsibilities for learners.  A reset of the curriculum will be directly connected to streamlining of subject area courses and cultivating faculty partnerships to develop interdisciplinary and  phenomena based learning experiences. The driving questions might be:  What to cut out? What to cut back? What to consolidate? What to keep? What to create? Critical is that equal attention is given to resetting the structural nest to create the best possible learning environment choices based on actual learner needs versus habit. The four structures, schedules, learning spaces, grouping of students, and personnel configurations, are essential to  new opportunities for learning experiences whether it is a pathway model, innovation lab, mentorship program, design corner, global forums, or place-based projects.

Clearing a Path for Thoughtful and Responsive Plans

When facing challenges we are constrained by what is in our bank of options but also be able to examine a range of options moving forward. Key is partnering with all members of the community in developing and laying  out possibilities in making choices in curriculum and the structural formats that directly impact your students.

To be clear, reassuring families and faculty is critical,  but yielding to the tendency to “go back and pick up where we left off  not only may be counterproductive, but potentially damaging to the health of our school community.  For example, pressuring teachers to cover 18 months of curriculum in 10 months  may create a new wave of teacher burnout and retirements/resignations which would prompt further learning loss.   Teacher shortages for the upcoming school year is a reality.   As noted in the NY Times: Desperate to stanch staffing shortfalls, districts large and small are   increasing pay for substitutes and even advertising for temporary positions on local billboards. Some states and districts have also suspended college course requirements, or permitted abbreviated online training, for emergency substitute teachers.

Given the global nature of the pandemic and the varied restrictions within and across countries, it is difficult to ascertain how events will unfold in the months ahead. Determining when post-pandemic school life will clearly emerge is not possible, but the need for thoughtful and responsive plans could not be more timely.

Profile Of A Right Now Learner: Uncovering Learning Loss And Learning Gains

Cross posted from Learning Sets

THIS BLOGPOST IS PART OF OUR NEW VENTURE LEARNING SETS — COMPELLING AND MANAGEABLE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES — TO PROVIDE CURATED TOOLS, RESOURCES AND STRATEGIES AS WE RESET WHAT SCHOOLING SHOULD BE.

Given the extraordinary demands on school communities throughout the pandemic, there is real concern about where students are in their foundational skills, conceptual understanding, and ability to apply their learning in novel situations. This concern, framed as “learning loss,” includes choices to cut out or cut back on unit topics, challenges of student engagement in school settings, and limited assessment data to demonstrate impact. There also needs to be an uncovering of what “learning gains” have happened, such as increased use in digital tools, self-directed use of time, or developing skills and cultivating interests.

In order to generate responsive curriculum choices and structural formats moving forward, listening is key.  A commitment to formal listening should become the drumbeat of a school or system. Listening that informs decision-making  is empathy in action. If the pandemic has taught one thing, it is that we need connection and to be understood.

The following prompts organized in role-alike groups are illustrative examples that you might use to identify patterns, generate fresh thinking, and help inform deliberate actions. The intention is to uncover learning loss and learning gains during the pandemic.  Whether using focus groups, a virtual listening tour, surveys, interviews, social media groups, personal correspondence, or a community meeting, now is the time to listen.

CURRICULUM LEADERS 

(e.g,. teacher leads, department chairs, instructional coaches, building/district administrators)

What did the leadership of the curriculum look like throughout the year? (check all that apply)

  • I was left on my own to make appropriate choices based on what I believed was in the best interest of my students.
  • We worked in PLC’s  to decide what to cut out, cut back on, and keep based on our school realities.
  • Our principal/ head of school/ superintendent is requesting an increase in testing to determine loss and gain in students to guide our decisions.
  • Our principal/ head of school/ superintendent is requesting a review of formative assessments  to determine loss and gain.
  • Our principal / head of school / superintendent expected us to take into account student and family struggles in the design, frequency, and evaluation of assignments.
  • Our district leadership has organized vertical curriculum reviews to make adjustments to our curriculum moving forward.
  • Our school leadership has organized vertical curriculum reviews to make adjustments to our curriculum moving forward.
  • We will continue to structure our schedule and learning spaces on the same pre-covid model.
  • We will continue to structure the grouping of learners and faculty configurations on our pre-covid model.
  • Our school/district leadership is considering responsive approaches to schedules, learning spaces (both physical and virtual) based learner needs.
  • Our school/district leadership is considering responsive approaches to the grouping of students and personnel configurations based  on student needs.

Here are actions and ideas that we are interested in pursuing:

TEACHING STAFF

What was your approach to navigating the established curriculum? (check all that apply)

  • I chose to cover the established curriculum as planned with minor adjustments.
  • I chose not to cover 2 or more units.
  • I chose to cut back on what I deemed to be unnecessary content and skills.
  • I chose to cut back on what I deemed to be unnecessary assignments.
  • I chose to create new topics, assignments for my students to make sense of the pandemic.
  • I collaborated with other colleagues on a regular basis.
  • I worked primarily on my own.
  • I received ongoing support from curriculum leaders and/or instructional coaches.

Here are actions and ideas that I recommend moving forward:  

What was your approach to teaching and learning throughout the pandemic? (check all that apply)

  • I focused more on diversity, equity and inclusion to inform my instructional  practices and policies.
  • I revisited unit topics through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion to identify issues, texts, and tasks to make learning more relevant and challenging for my students.
  • I chose to group my learners in a range of patterns based on their academic needs.
  • I kept my learners in consistent instructional grouping patterns to meet  academic needs.
  • I chose to regularly touch base with each student to monitor programs and make adjustments in my teaching.
  • I chose to work through the established curriculum using direct teaching approaches with minimal adjustments.
  • I chose to expand my instructional approach using digital and media tools to engage my learners in an on-line environment.
  • I chose to directly develop dispositions and habits of mind that support emotional well-being with my students.

Here are the actions and ideas that I want to pay attention to going forward:

STUDENTS 

What was your teacher’s (or school’s) approach to support your social and  emotional well-being? 

  • I felt that my teacher understood what I was going through on a personal level.
  • I did not feel connected to the teacher and school.
  • I felt connected to my friends and other students most of the time.
  • I frequently felt disconnected from my friends and other students.

What was your experience in monitoring and directing your own learning? (check all that apply)

  • I was clear on the actual work and tasks from my teachers.
  • I was often confused by the actual work and tasks from my teachers.
  • I  sometimes felt overwhelmed by the amount of work assigned to me.
  • I had more control over my schedule and felt more focused with asynchronous tasks
  • I needed teacher direction on most of my tasks
  • I had growth in certain subjects or classes
    • Identify what those are:
  • I fell behind in certain subjects or classes
    • Identify what those are:
  • I fell behind on tasks.
  • I lost interest in the school tasks.
  • I was motivated to pursue new areas of interest.
    • Identify what those are:

PARENTS 

What was your teacher’s (or school’s) approach to support your social and  emotional well-being of your child? (check all that apply)

  • I felt I could get a  reasonably prompt response from my child’s teachers when requested.
  • I felt that my child’s teacher(s) understood the challenges we faced through the pandemic as a family.

What was your experience in monitoring your students’ work and communication with their teacher(s)? 

  • My child was usually clear on the actual work and tasks from teachers.
  • My child was often confused by the actual work and tasks from  teachers.
  • My child  sometimes felt overwhelmed by the amount of work assigned.
  • My child thrived with  more control over the schedule and focused on asynchronous tasks
  • My child needed constant adult  direction on most tasks
  • I believe my child showed growth in certain subjects or classes
    • Identify what those are:
  • I believe my child feel  behind in certain subjects or classes
    • Identify what those are:

Gathering input from a full gamut of sources is critical in determining how to make adjustments in program and services in order to move forward. A realistic and powerful profile of a right-now learner must be informed not only from surveys which have value but by their very nature have limits. This profile will serve decision-making in two critical arenas:

  • Curriculum choices on what to cut, keep, and create
  • Program structures, the nest where learning occurs.  Specifically, schedules, learning spaces (both virtual and physical), grouping of learners, grouping of professionals.

See our chart below.

3-Part Process For Making Deliberate Curriculum Choices:

Cross posted from Learning Sets

What to cut out? Cut back on? Consolidate? Keep? Create?

Educators face a critical challenge:  how to engage their learners in a curriculum that is responsive to where their students are right now — addressing learning losses and gains — in service to where they aspire to be. Over the past year, all of us have had our lives turned upside down. Each and every one of us had to figure out what to do next based on information that regularly was modified. To be a self-navigator, creative problem solver, and media critic (just to name a few) was essential for our resilience during this pandemic.

This is a call to sustain the flexibility, agility, and innovation that was present in schools during the pandemic rather than jump onto the “let’s pick up where we left off” bandwagon. In this post, we focus on the value and necessity of curriculum as an aspirational and actionable blueprint that staff can use for guidance in developing responsive learning experiences with their students.

To that end, we offer a three-part process for examining existing curriculum to determine what matters most for your “right now” learners. This process may be painful, especially when letting go of carefully crafted assignments and lesson plans.  Perhaps there is guidance in looking to the Latin root word for curriculum, which means a path to run in small steps. The familiarity with this path creates ruts that become deeper and make it more difficult to see with fresh eyes. Engaging in a curriculum “reset” may open up fresh approaches for how to rethink curriculum narratives.

First, revisit aspirational goals you have established as a school.

Examine your vision or portrait of a graduate and reflect on what student roles and related skills are central for them to navigate and thrive. This work can provide a balcony view to clarify broader learning goals that ideally guide day to day learning choices that teachers and students make—goals that take the long view on determining the strength, approaches, life-skills, and aptitudes needed to support our learners.

  • For teachers in the identification, creation, and/or redesign of compelling problems, questions, and challenges that can give insight into a refreshed curriculum storyline. Otherwise we are more likely to recycle what we have immediately in front of us, to cover old material, and to miss an opportunity.
  • For students as they are becoming more skillful, sophisticated, and strategic throughout their school years. This is especially helpful now when students may feel increased pressure/anxiety in anticipation of pace of learning to “catch up” for what was missed.
  • For the school community in reaching consensus on realistic priorities will be central to our efforts. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to go for the granular, memorize some facts, scramble to construct where “we left off.” It is critical to reach consensus as a school community on learning goals that will serve as a North Star to decision making.

This renewed focus and commitment to the vision or portrait of a graduate should be driving your curriculum reset.

Second, examine and clarify your current curriculum narrative.

  • Compile existing units of study from your curriculum. Ideally, this can be done in grade level bands (e.g., K-1, 6-8) to ensure the choices you want to make do not put undue pressure on other grade levels to capture essential content. Working in departments on the high school level is obviously important, but it is also equally important to review across a grade level to see what the challenges will be for learners attempting to juggle multiple demands.  
  • Examine each one and tell a brief story (thumbnail synopsis) of that unit. Why does it exist? What is the essential learning students will be able to continue to develop and transfer when that unit is over? What are the most critical standards to be in the foreground?  
  • Review the storyline through the scope of the year. Are there connections between the units? What does your curriculum value the most?  

Third, ask yourselves the following questions:

Could you cut out unit(s) of study to make room for deeper investigation and development of key concepts and skills?

In any composition there is an editorial review where the question of “cutting” material is central to the whole. What matters most given the time that we have for our specific learners with our specific conditions, we must govern how we decide. To be clear, when cutting units it will be critical to examine standards that were emphasized in a unit. Given that standards are cultivated over time, it is likely that the faculty teams can readily identify the most critical standards that have been in the “foreground” in the design of learning experiences. It is always a concern to us when we see a unit of study with 30 standards listed (this is not an exaggeration) since these proficiencies take time to develop. Bundling standards that naturally cluster together in student learning is a natural way to align assessments. A faculty team can look at bundled and individual standards to sort out which are the most essential to their specific learners and those that are not.

Could you cut back each unit of study significantly? 

It is highly likely that individual educators have made key decisions to cut back during this past year. Moving forward we suggest your planning teams review the “thumbnail” story of the curriculum through the year to determine places where they may elect to cut back and distinguish the most essential from the less critical material in their units.   The task is to distinguish the most essential elements in the curriculum and place them in the foreground.

  • Skills: Given the importance of cognitive and technical skills in the long term growth of learners, teachers will want to elevate critical skills integral in supporting students within a given discipline as well as sub skills tied to Future Forward Learning Goals.
  • Content cuts: The tendency to “cover” content needs to be confronted in order to move forward.  Distinguishing content that directly supports and is central to the Future Forward Learning Goals and storyline might prove to be a great challenge but also a rewarding one. Of particular value will be to proactively have our learners show the connections between the key content and that storyline as the curriculum develops.
  • Assessment cuts: Considerations and decisions about what formative and summative assessments will be the most revealing and helpful demonstrations of learning should be determined as a faculty both across grade levels and vertically. Certainly the impact of state or provincial requirements for public educators and education organization policies (e.g.,. College Board, IB) is a major factor in decision making. Bottom line, if there are cuts in the curriculum then there will be corresponding cuts in the assessments.

Could you consolidate based on units of study and personal learning progress during the remote learning time?

Given the nature of your course or grade level subject area layout, if there are related and clear connections between units then combining them is possible. To consolidate means to combine elements to make a more effective coherent whole. On a practical review of the scope and sequence of a year’s units, we can step back and not only determine what we might cut and where we might cut back, but where we can merge units of study. Consolidation can certainly occur within an existing unit as a teacher reviews and revises elements and activities based on past experience. Certainly interdisciplinary units of study can be a fruitful design consideration when consolidating.

  • It may be that a geology course in a high school begins with a look at the formation of the earth as a planet for the first unit and in the second examines oceans and the third unit looks at land. It seems that these three could be combined to shorten the time and be reframed to look at the early story of planet earth: beginnings and elements.
  • On the elementary level, a fourth grade ELA curriculum might have a sequence that moves from a unit on historical fiction focused on a chapter book perhaps Number the Stars by Lois Lowry , to a unit on persuasive writing on an issue. It seems plausible to combine those two and consider having students take a stand on a critical issue raised in Lowry’s classic work.

Could you create a new unit or module to replace this altogether? 

Generating new curriculum units responsive to the learners and to the zeitgeist is an option that seems particularly relevant.  Certainly, new units could be interdisciplinarily derived from a reconsideration of your existing layout for the school year.  A deliberate lens from multiple subject areas on common topics, problems, issues, and themes could provide a fresh perspective for learners. We strongly recommend the development of phenomena-based learning supporting inquiry into emergent problems and issues in a students life.  These might be framed on a personal, local, or global level but what is key is there is an immediacy to the situation. (NOTE: Interdisciplinary units emerge from the natural connections we see “between disciplines”, that is between the subjects.  Phenomena-based is not anchored in our traditional school day but transcends the notion.   We are not suggesting one is “better than the other”, rather we hope to provide a menu of options as units are generated).

A key organizing focus could be phenomena-based given the emergent issues regarding the pandemic. Whether an individual unit or a series of units, learners could examine the impact personally, locally, or globally. Certainly developmental considerations need to be primary here. Here are some examples:

  • On all levels, learners can document and share their experience to document their personal experiences as part of a living history that is being told from diverse perspectives using upgraded authentic assessment formats. The unit could be COVID19: My Story, Your Story, Our Stories
  • Secondary students can dive into an examination of the pandemic and/or consider specific angles. For example, as contemporary historians they might develop an annotated timeline since the first reports in November 2019 from China to the present. As journalists they could “cover” certain angles on the pandemic in a series of articles: the point of view of essential workers, impact on a range of families in the community or, the challenge to local government and decision making. Clearly, an area of fascination for all of us is the scientific research and scramble to develop treatments and a vaccine and certainly for our learners that could be covered in an empirical style.
  • Elementary students might engage and develop service-based learning projects to thank local health care and essential service providers. Whether in the form of written communication or in a short video message, gratitude is appreciated and it is important to display. What is more, it may be possible to actually provide concrete support to members of the local community as the adaptation and easing into functional society occurs.

Looking Ahead

Decisions on curriculum matters have never been easy.   Educators know that there are certain units of study and learning experiences that are particularly satisfying to teach and are hard to let go of. There can be sharp differences of opinion on what matters most for learners between members of a grade-level team or department. Conversely, there are great opportunities for collaboration and responsiveness to the needs, especially now, as we work through these decisions. As school faculties lay out a reimagined path in partnership with their learners and families, the opportunity is to leverage specific expertise in service to common and aspirational learning goals.

10 Decisions Finland Makes In Schools That Can Directly Inform Our Post Pandemic Response

BY HEIDI HAYES JACOBS AND ALLISON ZMUDA
Cross posted from Learning Sets

When  Finland was recently crowned happiest country again in 2020, we reached out to our Finnish colleague to check in and see how he and his country were faring. Two and a half years ago , we had an opportunity to co-design and take a tour of Finnish schools with  Educational Leadership Consultant Mikko Salonen.  We recently corresponded with him and he wrote:

At the moment, we are making plans of opening the society after the pandemic, and how to repair the damages on learning and how to mend the learning deficit. We have gone through a very hard period of remote teaching and learning in basic education, high schools and universities.  Also we have a big concern about how to help those who are suffering with mental problems, loneliness and other problems caused by the pandemic. 

The political decision makers are working on these issues in close cooperation with the professionals (education, health, etc).  I believe that we will be able to tackle this challenge by doing multi-professional cooperation, but it will not be easy and there is no quick way out. We are very proud of our country and the achievements we have reached as a society. Our society functions well, is safe, clean and sustainable, and we can trust both each other and those who have responsible positions in the society. 

As Mikko suggests, Finland’s story continues to be one of reckoning, resilience, and future-forward thinking. To be clear,  Finland hit the reset button beginning in  the 1970’s when their education system and economy was struggling.   Their education saga has been nothing short of  extraordinary (aka the Finland Phenomona). As we continue to be responsive to what our right now learners need and how we can become more agile in our curricular and structural choices, we reflected on lessons that could help fuel fresh possibilities for any school around the world.

  1. Teachers work in teams with the same group of students over several years providing not only community but increased opportunity to know each child and apply consistent support for growth.   Research on long-term grouping points to the benefits of sustained continuity with a group of teachers in contrast to the loss that occurs when student continuity is broken each school year with a new teacher and a new group of students.
  2. Teaching teams have a sizeable degree of autonomy on managing daily and weekly schedules which allows for highly responsive instructional approaches to student learning.  Flex-time is key in order to take a deeper dive with learners who need support and to explore questions and possibilities with learners.
  3. Phenomenon-based learning is an integrated part of the curriculum.  The national guidelines ask that each learner have at least one substantial learning experience based on emergent and relevant real-world applications.  These are definitely interdisciplinary in design and fully engage learners in the process of relevant inquiry.
  4. Teachers and teaching are highly valued in the country.   Teaching is one of the hardest professions to enter given requisite high standards.    Statistically out of 8000 applicants for teacher education certification programs offered at the university level, only 10% are accepted  (according to the Kantor Education Policy Group ).  Highly educated and highly capable teachers collaborate throughout their professional careers are central to the success of the Finnish education system.
  5. Universal pre-K is essential to school readiness.  With a system that supports families with one year of maternity/paternity leave and universal pre-K in a rich environment supporting social and academic development.   Formal school begins at age 7 buttressed by this national commitment to support families providing equitable learning experiences.   Children are ready for school.
  6. Every teacher is entrusted to support every learner.   Whether it is working with new immigrants or students with special needs, each teacher has both the training and expectations to work with every child. There is an emphasis on working with students through both early prevention and detection to identify needs and attend to them. In addition, mental and emotional health and wellbeing is tended to through curricular programs as well as part of the tiered levels of support.
  7. The intentional use of formative assessments to grow the learning and the learner. There are limited pressures to finish work at the end of the class period. Encouraging learning — drafting an idea, making mistakes, and growing from feedback — is the dominant a way of thinking and working. This becomes the basis of the feedback cycle with teachers and students as they regularly conference to examine progression and determine next steps.
  8. Relaxed environment to grow autonomous learning.  When students are at ease and feel supported they step up and take increased responsibility for their own learning.  Finnish students are expected to be accountable for their own actions,  demonstrate their learning, and share how they feel about their learning.    The physical learning spaces provide outlets and opportunities for interaction such as ping pong tables, comfortable seating.   Students and teachers enjoying spending time together as they are working. This relaxed environment is also anchored by student self-directed tasks (e.g., cleaning the tables in the cafeteria, focusing on assignments).
  9. The leader’s role is to grow the capacity of the staff through strategic and compassionate approaches. Instead of taking a more aggressive approach through formal evaluations, building leaders acknowledge teacher emotions but work to change or grow their pedagogy.   Cultivating the relationship of teams is grounded on the concept of the circle of trust and is central to the leader purpose.   Teachers are committed to using their freedom wisely as they interpret National Curriculum and design learning experiences.   Leaders observe and consider how professional pedagogy and emotional support can be enriched through coteaching, flexible scheduling, or focus on a building-wide narrative (e.g., flipped learning, cultural competence).
  10. Clear national goals that commit to preparing every learner for the world we live in right now. The goals of the national curriculum are: growth as a human being and membership in society; knowledge of requisite skills; promotion of knowledge and ability, equality and lifelong learning. Every child is important to the society.

The shifts and decisions that Finland began to make over 50 years ago were compelled by a national commitment to the care and wellbeing of their students by aspiring to an equitable teaching and learning system for all. Finnish leaders continue to seek inspiration around the globe for fresh ideas to consider ways of thoughtful innovation while trusting slow growth to build expertise as they engage with complex problems, challenges, and ideas that are central to a creative economy.

Right now we are facing both the challenge and the opportunity to reset. Rather than simply admiring the Finnish system and their response to the pandemic, might we inform our decisions with insights from their extensive experience?   Our learners need us to step up and take purposeful action in contrast to going back to school.   They need us to move forward.

Cool Summer School: An Appalachian District Leads The Way

BY HEIDI HAYES JACOBS AND ALLISON ZMUDA
Cross posted from Learning Sets

Headlines announce and policies pronounce that 2021 will be the mother of all summer schools.  With schools and districts scrambling to make up for learning loss due to the pandemic, dollars are being thrown at summer schools to lift up students in order to prepare for the start of the upcoming academic year. Summer enrichment and remediation programs will get at least $1.2 billion.  “As schools approach the end of a full year of pandemic learning, however, summer school is being reimagined and broadened into what is likely to be the most expansive — and expensive — summer programming in modern history.” (Washington Post -Joe Heim, Valerie Strauss, Laura Meckler)

Yet, summer school often has a reputation for sluggish engagement with limited impact at raising the performance of struggling students. It is often viewed by students themselves as punitive. “I didn’t make it during the school year so now they are going to take my summer from me.”  Given the overwhelming numbers of students who have slipped precipitously during the school year it is understandable to want to use this particular  summer for in person teaching and learning experiences.   Is it possible?  We think that a school district in eastern Tennessee is showing creativity, rigor, and smarts in their approach.

Super Cool Summer School 

Carter County School District has a PK-12 student population of 5100 students located in the Appalachian region. Under the visionary leadership of Superintendent Dr.Tracy McAbee, a leadership team designed a 4-week experience “seeking to engage and to motivate learners this summer by making summer school cool and relevant.” The district is taking full advantage of their location to provide both an academic program with the remarkable resources of the outdoors that their location provides.

With imagination and a commitment to an integrated curriculum , Supervisor of Curriculum, Dr. LaDonna Boone, notes, “Our students K-8 will be fully engaged in exciting, language-rich programs each day that culminate with a full day Friday field experience.  We love living right  in our beautiful Applalachian mountains and we intend to make full use of them as a motivator for our students.”

The summer school is a purposeful link to showcase the integration of the sciences with language arts.  The program will run from 8 AM to 2 PM Monday through Thursday with a rich array of activities for learners in support of building up their skill levels and their confidence.   Friday, students will board buses for the nearby mountains for their guided nature experiences that will be planned in conjunction with the curriculum during the week. Working with a lead science teacher, Tyler Chambers,  Dr. Boone hopes not only to get students hiking and interacting with nature  as young scientists but to bring back their observations as the basis for their language and math program during the other four days of the week.

There is more at work here, the district leadership is looking to develop interest and engagement in the sciences for the students in Carter County moving forward for the long term.   “We have a very strong athletic program and our students are motivated.  We want to engender the same in the sciences and see that our summer school in 2021 can be a launch for renewing those efforts.”

Lessons from Carter County 

With the fatigue and demands of the pandemic on teachers, students, and families this past year, the last thing we need is a frustrating re-entery into on-site learning that smacks of listlessness.  Students are going to want to enjoy their summers as are their teachers. As the recent Summer Learning Report from the Spencer Foundation notes two recommended guiding principles for developing summer programs should be to provide creative, inquiry-based forms of learning and to build from students’ interests and to take a whole child approach to their development.  Here are a few lessons from Carter County District as well as some additional ideas we have been picking up from other districts faced with this challenge:

  1. Interview and listen to your learners as soon as possible  before the start of summer school to obtain their ideas and interests so that your teaching staff has time to include in their planning.
  2. Look for community learning opportunities to integrate naturally with your academic program.
  3. Emphasize language rich experiences not only through academic vocabulary but sentence starters to help students share orally and discuss their experiences.
  4. Field trips built into the routine of the week will likely prove most successful.
  5. Encourage media making for students to document their experience.

Carter literally is looking in their own backyard for inspiration and engagement. Not all of our schools are located near beautiful mountains, forests, marshlands, or beaches. Yet, the possibilities for direct integration into our communities can serve as a spark to create summer experiences that can ignite interest, a touch of summer camp, and purposeful learning.

Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of Students and Teachers and Shaping Both Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series
Cross posted from LearningPersonalized

The summer of 2020 is not a vacation for many educators who continue to work tirelessly to engage with their community on how to open school for the upcoming year. Each school and district continues to receive guidance from state, ministry, and national governments which may change suddenly given the unpredictability of the pandemic. In addition, the reality of implementing governmental guidelines may conflict with staff who may have their own children and live in neighboring districts where policies could conflict.

Because of the complexity and uncertainty of how to approach the upcoming school year, agility is becoming the mantra in school response plans as decisions are being considered for a range of return scenarios:

On-site with social distancing precautions.

  • Clearly the initial phase of reentry to school will entail social distancing and sanitizing precautions that will change as the medical community makes headway in the treatment and prevention of the virus.

Home learning via online platforms.

  • The phrase Home Learning certainly is predicated on the use of on-line learning but needs to be distinguished from the fact that on-line learning can occur at a school site or any location.

Hybrid models which combine features of both on-site and online.

  • State education departments will be initiating policies that may provide for parents to have a choice as to whether their students are allowed to stay home or to go to the school setting. There are obvious implications for staff who have their own children in neighboring districts.

There is an array of variables that each school and district must sort through to respond purposefully and effectively. In making your moves to re-enter school this fall, we reference two laws of physics: 1) the whole is sum of the parts, and 2) form follows function. By this we mean, the four programmatic structures that have everything to do with that is possible in the learning programs created for our students. In Bold Moves for Schools: How We Create Remarkable Learning Environments (ASCD), Heidi and her co-author, Marie Alcock, detail four critical structures and their interplay as paramount in creating that quite literally shape how our curriculum and learning experiences are planned.

  • Schedule. How we use time to structure learning plans.
  • Spaces. How we organize and use spaces to engage with learners.
  • Learner Grouping. How we intentionally group learners to grow their interests, skill sets, and discourse.
  • Personnel Configuration. How we intentionally organize personnel to be responsive to what the schedules, spaces, and learner grouping demands.

The Structural Nest

We have a genuine opportunity to reconsider format decisions in preparation for re-entry to school this fall presents challenges and possibilities regarding the structural ‘nest.’ There is an astonishing natural beauty to a bird’s nest in its form and function. The nest’s structure is responsive to climate, purpose, and available resources in order to be a place where nurturing the young is possible.

Our post generates options for each structure to correspond to the three response plans in consideration by schools and districts based on what we have seen pre-pandemic and in this transition phase. We strongly advise that the format structures are not selected in isolation by schedule, space, grouping of learners, and personnel configurations, but rather orchestrated to work together for cohesion.

Possible Options for Structural Nest

Click here to Review and Download 4-Page Possible Options.

The intention of the chart above is to lay out a menu of options to inspire fresh thinking and encourage you to generate additional options with your school community.

How might you leverage some of those ideas in continuing to develop your own reopening plans? We advocate the drafting of multiple prototypes that reflect these sets of connected choices. As you imagine the possibilities of one option, continue to envision other interconnections that are now on the table. To assist, we suggest a design tool to assist such as the one we have created below:

Link to Continuum Above: http://transform.curriculum21.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Program_Structures_RD.jpg

As a design tool, we suggest that teams review and research a full range of options to coordinate schedules, the use of virtual and physical space, possibilities for learner grouping, and different ways staff can be figured. The various combinations then can be developed as prototypes whether on-site, hybrid, or fully home learning based. Certainly, there could be multiple prototypes for any one of the three fundamental approaches that might emerge. With the array of prototypes sketched out, the pros and cons and each can be weighted by a leadership team or task force. What is more, it is quite possible that there may be a start of school in one return scenarios and find that due to changes in either the spread of the virus or hopefully its elimination due to a vaccine, that a school will have to very quickly adapt to another prototype. Preparation and as stated, agility, are key to an effective response.

Conclusion

This blogpost is our last in the four-part series dedicated to developing strategies and approaches to assist schools as we grapple with COVID19’s startling challenges. We have attempted to provide a connected throughline between decisions regarding establishing future forward learning goals, planning curriculum, designing learning experiences, reconsidering assessment, developing learner agency, and structuring formats conducive to implementation. Coupled with the throughline, we took a deeper dive into recommending specific actions to add to the menu of options school communities consider as they shape contingency plans for the return to school.

In writing these blog posts, we do see that there are some seismic shifts that are already having a profound impact on learning-life in and outside of school.

  • Communication directly between teachers, parents, and learners has become paramount.
  • The actual formats and methods for developing activities and learning experiences have become streamlined.
  • Teachers have become skillful at utilizing online learning tools.
  • Curriculum as we have known has now consolidated.
  • Meaningful, ongoing feedback for students based on formative demonstrations of learning needs to replace the old assessment checklist.
  • The structures of school formats are becoming more agile and adaptive.

Moving forward as of this writing, it is impossible to know how long the current crisis will last. Given the resilience and commitment of learners, parents, and educators to see it through, there is great potential for the post-pandemic education landscape. Silver lining is an uneasy phrase to use in application to a crisis as devastating as a pandemic, but we lead with realistic optimism to design a future-forward school that offers safe and brave places for students to imagine, question, analyze, create, and share.

Our Four-Part Series

Part 1: How Will We Return to School? Curriculum Choices in the Face of COVID19
Part 2: Deciding What to Cut, What to Keep, and What to Create in the Design of Learning Experiences for 2020-21 School Year. Providing a tool to assist local educators in making these important choices.
Part 3: What COVD19 Has Illuminated about the Power of Self-Evaluation to Make Assessment Meaningful
Part 4: (WHAT YOU JUST READ) Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of students and teachers and Shaping both physical and virtual learning spaces.

What COVID19 Has Illuminated about the Power of Self-Evaluation to Make Assessment Meaningful

Part Three in a Four-Part Series

Assessment needs to change as we know it. COVID19 has illuminated the necessity for this change so that our students become increasingly more self-directed and self-evaluating. A significant shift is required so that we squarely focus on giving students a seat at the evaluation table and include them in task design and development of scoring tools that will provide meaningful feedback to improve performance.

A response to remote learning created an understandable scramble for “keeping learners busy” and revealed cracks in assessment policies.

We are in danger of slipping back into what is easy to assess.

When there are too many quizzes and tests, students come to perceive assessments as a process that others, outside themselves, inflict upon them from teachers, parents, test makers and later supervisors, bosses, and administrators. Learners feel insecure trusting their own judgment about the quality of their work when others who carry more influence and power tell us what to think about ourselves.

In our previous blogpost we outlined four critical questions to be applied to curriculum decision making as we transition to school: What to cut out? What to cut back? What to consolidate? What to create? Those same questions are applicable to a discussion of assessment choices. We advocate for upgrading feedback on a range of demonstrations that are performance based, where teachers and students partner on the quality of the criteria, interact with timely feedback, commit to revision, and regular reflection on process and result.

We propose the following five commitments to frame a refreshed approach to assessments that flips from an emphasis on grading to an emphasis on meaningful feedback. After this quick sketch, we will elaborate on each to strengthen your assessment practices in service of growing more self-evaluating students.

  1. Design meaningful demonstrations of learning where students are valued partners in the design process. Students are included in shaping the design of what is being asked (content), how they are managing (process), who it is being shared with (audience), and/or evaluating the quality of the result.
  2. Invest time in co-creating rubrics as a learning tool. Learners become personally invested in a rubric when they partner with their teacher in its creation, otherwise, it’s somebody’s else’s criteria. What is more, they are on the road to quality when they grasp what quality will look like in a product or performance.
  3. Put feedback on the front burner. Feedback helps to improve the work and affirms students’ investment in the learning when anchored to the criteria as well attentive to the student’s thinking. Feedback interactions should ensure credibility, are trustworthy, and offered in the best interest of student learning.
  4. Establish a collection practice where students have ownership over the narrative of their learning. These collections are curated self-selected samples that serve as artifacts of the growth of a person’s produced work over time that details not only what they have learned but how they have learned. In short, lessons learned about my learning.
  5. Invite parents to observe learning rather than focusing on grades. In a distance learning environment, parents have new possibilities for observing how their children are experiencing learning. Recognizing the delicate balance between interfering and rescuing their children from the struggle, parents can benefit from prompts to help their children grow their capacity in self-efficacy as learners.

Exploring each Tenet to Grow Partnerships with Learners and their Families

1. Design meaningful demonstrations of learning where students are valued partners in the design process.

We propose that assessments would become more meaningful if we open up a seat at the design table to develop with learners. Bena and Allison clarify this idea with a metaphor of a tuning board (e.g., typically found in car stereos, recording studios, light boards in theater) to illustrate how to manage the partnership between teacher and students to expand opportunities about the content, process, and impact.

  • Teacher Generated: teacher designs the task for students. Students may have an opportunity to select from a small variety of topics or formats but there may be limited possibilities for students to give voice to concerns about readiness, interest, or pace of development.
  • Co-Created: Increasingly moving toward student agency, the teacher provides parameters to clarify what the demonstration must measure and works with students to design a more personalized perspective by considering the “what” (content), “how” (process), and/or “what form” (product/performance type). For example, the teacher can determine the topic, due date(s), and form, but the students are expected to pursue a line of inquiry that they find compelling in service of that topic. Another example is that the teacher can identify the form (an infographic) and the students examine a range of examples to collectively identify quality criteria to guide their work.
  • Learner Generated: student designs demonstration aligned with parameters that the teacher provides what the demonstration must measure. This is where learners progressively move to greater agency and self-direction. The teacher serves as a valuable sound board for feedback, a coach for review and guidance on next steps.

2. Invest time in co-creating rubrics as a learning tool to guide the process.

The Latin meaning of rubric comes from rubrica meaning to highlight in red. Rubrica refers to the bright red calligraphy evident in liturgical text used by monks to call attention to, that is to highlight specific passages. There is value in considering the root meaning given that rubrics are not intended just for a grade, but rather to highlight and call attention to quality in order to shed light on the choices the learner will make as they craft products and render performances.

When students work to generate a rubric with their teacher, their examination of models, discussion to clarify descriptors, and development of the language, this process increases the connection to the tool and builds clarity on what is being asked. Co-created with teachers, students study a range of professionally developed models that they admire to unpack the reasons why they work well with intended audiences. Invite students to set themselves up for producing quality by posing to our learners IN ADVANCE the question … What makes a quality persuasive essay? What makes a quality caption under a photo? What makes a quality podcast? Then, providing opportunities to examine a diverse set of models within a genre and describing, as the audience, what makes these models work. Where do they see patterns across the various examples? This leads to rubrics that are designed to span across multiple opportunities throughout the year rather than rubrics that are designed for a specific project. Students become self-evaluative.

There will be both form and function criteria when we develop quality rubrics. Form criteria will be technical in nature and function to the content and aesthetics. For example, if students are to create an original podcast on issues of importance to them, the teacher would ask members of the class to bring is a personal favorite of a professionally made podcast to unpack for quality criteria. The teacher can share one as well. As various samples of the podcasts are played, students identify and sort technical categories: editing, sound clarity, sound effects, pace, or match of length of program to message. They would do the same for the function of the piece, that is the content and purpose. These categories could include:

  • match between purpose and audience
  • level of interest generated, the emotional connection to the listener
  • factual accuracy of information that might be in the podcast
  • aesthetics of the intro and outro motifs
  • impact of the entire piece on the listener.

This process applies to our more classical forms for communication. Whether a teacher of high school English or third grade ELA is asking students to write an autobiography, it is highly likely that they will read existing examples of quality to study their quality. The autobiography rubric, too, will have both technical criteria such as mechanics, syntax, paragraph formation; and, content criteria such as engaging content, word choice, and style. In a very real sense collaborative rubric design can be a profound teaching tool that, indeed, highlights what matters most in quality demonstration of learning.

3. Put Feedback On the Front Burner

Feedback is learning. The way students reflect on, engage with, and take action on feedback is determined by a belief that the rubric describes what the student considers to be high quality work. Too often, the feedback is more about task completion or a grade than it is about learning. The real learning takes place when students become self-evaluating throughout the process of developing work. They ask themselves questions such as: Is my work clear? Will it engage the audience? How might I add some aesthetic design features? They develop the courage to not just wait for feedback but to actively solicit it.

Feedback is a courageous act. Developing the voice to seek feedback throughout their work grows student confidence. Perhaps they are feeling uncertain about the power of the ideas they are considering. Perhaps the student is not certain that an audience would understand the message. There needs to be a reciprocal relationship: the person who gives feedback must be sensitive to the learner and offer feedback that is direct, honest and actionable; the person who receives feedback must trust that the feedback, although sometimes difficult to receive, is being given in the best interest of improving the work itself.

The person giving feedback must be a trusted and credible source. They should be sensitive to where the student is in the journey toward completion. It needs to be constructively stated, attentive to the skills and capabilities of the learner, and small enough to provide a stepping stone for the next chunk of work.

When learners request feedback they need to consider:

  • Who are the best people to give me feedback?
  • Who has credibility and someone I trust?
  • What questions do I have about whether this work is “good enough”?

4. Establish a collection practice where students have ownership over the narrative of their learning.

There is the tantalizing possibility for a deeper level of analysis and learner empowerment where the student deliberately and consistently observes, comments, and communicates patterns of their work over time. What distinguishes the experience for students is the opportunity to go beyond the chronological history of producing work — telling a personal story of where the author of this work has been, where they are at this time, and where they are going. We see them in professional fields of practice such as in design or photography. Certainly we have seen them flourish in many school settings. The pieces are evaluated by a student and their teachers along their learning pathway with the clear goals of demonstrating growth and improving the skills of the learner.

We offer two approaches to help imagine and give shape to this collection practice. First is a regular collection practice over the scope of at least a course or grade level organized in four phases:

  • Collection: work samples being collected;
  • Selection: work samples students choose to represent their story;
  • Reflection: from the author’s perspective, why these work samples were chosen as examples; and
  • Direction: what the student sees as the next steps based on what they have learned from the cumulative demonstration of learning thus far.

As students get into the rhythm of this practice, they are taking increased ownership of: what learning goals they are paying attention to; when and how to collect artifacts; detailed explanation to support reflection that is both candid and growth-oriented; and conferring with teacher and other experts to share reflection and consider next steps.

The second approach focuses at a unit level where students are working on a substantive task or set of goals. Our dear friend and colleague Marie Alcock drafted this formative assessment tool for students to engage at the evaluation table with their teachers to inform student work.

Click here to see the full document based essay formative assessment tool as well as a math example and a blank version if you want to give it a go.

5. Invite Parents to Observe Learning Rather Than Focusing on Grades.

For many of us, the first school artifacts your child eagerly brought home were posted on the refrigerator door and we shared the joy of celebrating the child’s accomplishments. Somehow, as children grow up, we forget the pleasure of looking at the work itself and start to focus on a summary judgement of the work — that being the grade. During the Triage phase of COVID19 as parents are at home and observing their child as an online learner , it is opportune for them to examine the work itself and what it reveals.

Five minutes of focused attention speaks volumes to children. From the early moments when the child says “look what I have done” to the parents’ response “Tell me more about it”, students are learning about how to reflect on their work and use evidence in the work to justify the worthiness of the performance. Parents need to distinguish between skill building and applying skills in an authentic performance.

Children are very sensitive to the judgments from those they love. The mind shift for parents is to learn that the judgments should be more about the quality of the performance and less about the grade. Parents are key to providing incentives to learning that are beyond the grades they receive. For example, they can take the time to really look at the work and ask questions such as:

  • “Tell me more about what you were thinking when you were doing this work.”
  • “I see that you were working on using humor in this work. In what ways do you think it grabbed the audience?”
  • “When I saw XX this in your work, I wondered XX.”

Leadership Implications As We Move Forward

During the Spring of 2020, we put off testing and allowed for a more relaxed grading process. As a result, we found that students continued to learn when they were engaged. We also heard a clarion call from students for the need for more feedback from their teachers. It seems that students were interested in doing the work when they understood its purpose, got feedback on whether they were growing their skills and understanding of the work, and were given the autonomy to make some choices about how and when they would do the work. We reflected some of those insights in the five tenets. However, these tenets must be accompanied by a commitment from leadership in the school. This includes all leaders — teachers, students, coaches, administrators.

Leadership is not always positional. It is reflected by a set of behaviors and activities. While we wait for external policies to change, assessment is a key place where leaders can show respect for students in the process of learning. They need to be responsive to student’s need for affirmation as well as being stretched through constructive critique. The following are some suggested activities that will signal how leadership values the five tenets explored up above:

  1. Design meaningful demonstrations of learning where students are valued partners in the design process. 
  • Coach design works with an emphasis on identifying where students can be brought to the design table.
  • Talk with students about their plans for how they will demonstrate their learning.
  • Become an audience for trial runs on their demonstrations.
  1. Invest time in co-creating rubrics as a learning tool to guide the process. 
  • Check in with some students about how they are using the rubrics in their work.
  • Look at learning plans for time allocated for co-creation.
  • Use a faculty meeting for students to share their perspectives on the use of rubrics.
  1. Put feedback on the front burner.
  • Become another source for offering feedback.
  • Observe teacher/student conferences.
  • Use protocols in faculty meetings to provide time for teachers to give feedback to one another.
  1. Establish a collection practice where students have ownership over the narrative of their learning.
  • Invite students to tell you the story of their learning journey.
  • Ask powerful questions to students that help them reflect on what really matters to them.
  • Celebrate growth over time through exhibitions that include a variety of demonstrations excerpted from portfolios.
  1. Invite parents to observe learning rather than focusing on grades.
  • Invite parents to do guided walk throughs so that you can describe what is happening when students are self-evaluating.
  • Use the student led conference as an opportunity for describing the growth students are making rather than using grades as the indicator.
  • Focus on the big picture goals you have for students such as self-evaluating and engage in these goals as life-long essential skills.  Show examples  of how they demonstrate their capacity to persist, think flexibly, solve problems.

Conclusion

If there is a silver lining in the current pandemic imposed separation from learners, we vividly see the necessity and power of their ability to be self-directed. What is more, learners’ direct involvement as partners with teachers in monitoring and evaluating their work is at the forefront.

Recognizing that fundamental program structures will be the nest for implementing the curriculum and demonstrations of learning, in Part 4 we will examine options for shaping conducive environments in our next blogpost whether online, onsite, or in a hybrid environment. Specifically we will explore choices for making orchestrated decisions regarding schedules, physical and virtual learning spaces, the grouping of learners, and personnel configurations.

Building the Future Now: Deciding What to Cut, What to Keep and What to Create

By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda

Part Two in a Four-Part Series 

Cross posted from Learning Personalized

As the school year is winding to a close and everyone is desperate for a break, looking toward the opening of school next year is already causing unease. Throughout the world, educators face a critical challenge: how to design aspirational and future forward (post-pandemic) learning experiences rather than a temporary fix (triage). In our first blogpost in this four part series, we proposed the importance of beginning with input from students, parents, and teachers about what they are experiencing, what lessons they are learning, and what they will need moving into the next school year. We also looked at factors to mull over what will matter most in the planning for the year rather than jumping onto the “let’s pick up where we left off” bandwagon.

How can we shape curriculum right now that will best serve our learners for the future?

This blogpost is centered on two key steps to assist decision makers, learners, and families as they make this determination: development of future forward learning goals and using those goals as a north star to examine and clarify curriculum choicesThis work can provide a balcony view to clarify broader learning goals that ideally guide day to day learning choices that teachers and students make—goals that take the long view on determining the strength, approaches, life-skills, and aptitudes needed to support our learners.

  • For teachers in the identification, creation, and/or redesign of compelling problems, questions, and challenges that can give insight into a refreshed curriculum storyline. Otherwise we are more likely to recycle what we have immediately in front of us, to cover old material, and to miss an opportunity.
  • For students as they are becoming more skillful, sophisticated, and strategic throughout their school years. This is especially helpful now when students may feel increased pressure/anxiety in anticipation of pace of learning to “catch up” for what was missed.
  • For the school community in reaching consensus on realistic priorities will be central to our efforts. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to go for the granular, memorize some facts, scramble to construct where “we left off.” It is critical to reach consensus as a school community on learning goals that will serve as a North Star to decision making.

STEP 1: DEVELOPMENT OF FUTURE FORWARD LEARNING GOALS

What These Meta-Level Learning Goals Are

Future Forward Learning Goals are overarching, and transdisciplinary. We developed key criteria for these learning goals as well as a few illustrative examples.

  • Reasonable number and scope to capture all aspects of a learner’s life. Goals should cover the range of skills, behaviors, and dispositions that we seek in the long run. We have found that limiting to 10 may be a helpful barometer (not a hard fast rule).
  • Apply to the range of topics and challenges that learners encounter in all corners of school life—curricular, social, and personal investigationsThese lend themselves to both transdisciplinary and subject-specific tasks that can honor existing curricular choices as well as open up the design table to more meaningfully include students.
  • Describe desired complexity and sophistication. These goals can then be broken down in grade level bands for instruction and coaching.
  • Provide clarity for  your target audience(s). We need to pay closer attention to how well we communicate about what we mean when we use broad generalizations.  Fuzzy language implies fuzzy thinking.  

The following examples that were drafted in partnership with Bena Kallick illustrate each of the key criteria listed above.

  • Seek to investigate challenging contemporary global and local issues by pursuing questions or a line of thinking.
  • Use design thinking and other processes to develop solutions, findings, prototypes, performances, and media.
  • Navigate through diverse sources and perspectives to make discerning and thoughtful judgments.
  • Generate, enrich, and craft communication through the strategic use of evidence and command of language.
  • Share stories, ideas, and points of view to engage others to think interdependently and potentially act collectively.
  • Think flexibly, take responsible risks, and listen with understanding and empathy as they  engage with the world.

Establish nomenclature. It may be that your school elects to give these Future Forward Learning Goals a “name” to stake out the ownership and engagement of your community. We encourage you to do so. Whether these are your Meta Level Goals, Essential Learning Goals or North Star Learning Goals, it is important that they belong to your community and will serve as guideposts to make wise decisions moving forward.

Examine Established Learning Goals as a possible starting point. Right now is  a rich opportunity to challenge our thinking about what we truly value through the process of crafting of Future Forward Learning Goals. It is not necessary to start from scratch.  For example, many school communities and have crafted descriptions of  what a Portrait of a Graduate  should demonstrate/look like. These descriptions are in the spirit of what McTighe and Wiggins call “transfer goals”—goals that will be important not only within the life of school but also in their lives well beyond school. We know that these goals reflect college and career readiness, part of the driving force for developing these goals. There are clear meta-level learning goals embedded in IB’s Approaches to Learning that serve naturally to guide decision making. There is also a rich source for essential goal setting in the introductory statements of purpose focused on life-long goals for learners in most standards whether through a national, state, or provincial organization. If  you already are using one of these models reaffirm and reimagine them to reflect the times.

Gather insight and information directly from all members of the school community. Focus on student agency—having their voices inform what they learn, where they learn, how they learn, and how they demonstrate learning—have been the heart of global conversation with personalized learning for close to ten years. During the current triage phase of our response to COVID19, parents viewed first hand the impact of remote learning had on their children. Lessons are being learned at home right now that are central to planning ahead. Now is the time to pay close attention to our learners and harvest recommendations. In our previous blogpost, we recommended Virtual School Community Summits to bring the community together. Whether the summit takes place in a virtual town hall format or whether it is organized in smaller “zoom room” discussion groups, the mix of parents, learners, and educators seems critical.   Certainly thoughtful surveys that encourage specific and actionable suggestions can prove fruitful. An invitation to articulate essential high priority learning goals can be integrated into discussions and into survey forms. We also recommend following a project called #JustAskUs  supported by the National Parents Union, Student Voice -Prichard Committee, High Tech High, AERO, Big Picture Learning that is developing tools and approaches to directly engage learners in contributing their voice and perspective in reimagining education now and into the post-pandemic period. The title is inspired by Heather Wolport-Gawron’s book, Just Ask Us: Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement, published by Corwin.  If you wish further information contact the project coordinator:  Masa Uzicanin 

Generate new Learning Goals. Based on our current experience in triage mode, the need for new or refreshed learning goals has gained clarity. While most schools valued the idea of  growing self-direction in students with the move to full-time remote learning, the urgency of growing this capacity has become more paramount. We moved to name a specific element of self-direction, self-management as a way to move from the broader, generalized statement which, in turn,  generated the following future forward learning goal.

Develop self-management skills by making choices for learning and monitoring thinking.

    • Take a bigger challenge and break it down into smaller, doable increments.
    • Set goals and monitor/revise them as needed to optimize clarity, viability, and motivation.
    • Experiment with time management structures to balance focus on task at hand with brain breaks, meeting deadlines, and staying motivated by my thinking.

Another example that is typically highlighted in many Graduate of a Profile statements is collaboration. To clarify this goal, we suggest bringing community voices to engage in conversation about when and under what conditions they feel they can connect and contribute most effectively.

Collaboration is a dynamic between the way people interact and the work they need to accomplish. Many schools often focus on the management of a task to achieve a common objective rather than the relationships that invite social construction. We moved to draft a future forward learning goal that values both.

Engage deliberately and cultivate relationships with all members of the school community to build on, better understand, and be influenced by one another’s ideas and perspectives.  

    • Adapt with increasing skill by communicating with others in a given network to develop more effective thinking by listening and questioning.
    • Recognize how positive relationships impact motivation, openness to new ideas, and connection to the work.
    • Adhere to norms and demonstrates respectful behaviors as one engages with others to help maintain a safe environment that invites all to participate.

STEP 2: DETERMINING WHAT TO CUT OUT, WHAT TO CUT BACK, WHAT TO CONSOLIDATE, AND WHAT TO CREATE

Armed with a thoughtful and powerful set of Future Forward Learning Goals, the following is a process for examining existing curriculum to determine what matters most for your learners. While this “weeding” may be painful for some, it is imperative that there is consensus so relieve pressure for coverage and provide more space to generate new ideas with students. We have provided the following graphic organizer to help clarify the process:

Future Forward Curriculum Planning Process 

First, examine and clarify your current curriculum narrative.

  1. Compile existing units of study from your curriculum. Ideally, this can be done in grade level bands (e.g., K-1, 6-8) to ensure the choices you want to make do not put undue pressure on other grade levels to capture essential content. Working in departments on the high school level is obviously important, but it is also equally important to review across a grade level to see what the challenges will be for learners attempting to juggle multiple demands.  
  2. Examine each one and tell a brief story (thumbnail synopsis) of that unit. Why does it exist? What is the essential learning students will be able to continue to develop and transfer when that unit is over? What are the most critical standards to be in the foreground?  
  3. Review the storyline through the scope of the year. Are there connections between the units? What does your curriculum value the most?  

Second, ask yourselves the following questions:

Could you cut out unit(s) of study to make room for deeper investigation and development of key concepts and skills?

  • In any composition there is an editorial review where the question of “cutting” material is central to the whole. What matters most given the time that we have for our specific learners with our specific conditions, we must govern how we decide. The unique situation we are facing, will dictate significantly different learning conditions is a sensible element in our deliberations. (Shortened academic calendar, staggered classroom schedules, alternative attendance on-site if it occurs in your location, increased on-line learning demand).
  • To be clear, when cutting units it will be critical to examine standards that were emphasized in a unit. Given that standards are cultivated over time, it is likely that the faculty teams can readily identify the most critical standards that have been in the “foreground” in the design of learning experiences. It is always a concern to us when we see a unit of study with 30 standards listed (this is not an exaggeration) since these proficiencies take time to develop. Bundling standards that naturally cluster together in student learning is a natural way to align assessments. A faculty team can look at bundled and individual standards to sort out which are the most essential to their specific learners and those that are not.

Could you cut back each unit of study significantly? It is highly likely that educators have already made key decisions to cut back during this current curricular planning Triage phase of COVID19 as of this writing. Given the abruptness of moving to a total online environment over the past weeks, lesson planning may have been arbitrary and left to each teacher. Curricular decisions may have been orchestrated with others in a school, grade level team, department or the process could have reflected both approaches.

Moving forward we suggest your planning teams review the “thumbnail” story of the curriculum through the year to determine places where they may elect to cut back and distinguish the most essential from the less critical material in their units.   The task is to distinguish the most essential elements in the curriculum and place them in the foreground.

  • Skills: Given the importance of cognitive and technical skills in the long term growth of learners, teachers will want to elevate critical skills integral in supporting students within a given discipline as well as sub skills tied to Future Forward Learning Goals.
  • Content cuts: Materials, information, facts, subtopics that are non-essential should be cut given the larger aims and goals of the unit. The tendency to “cover” content needs to be confronted in order to move forward.  Distinguishing content that directly supports and is central to the Future Forward Learning Goals and storyline might prove to be a great challenge but also a rewarding one. Of particular value will be to proactively have our learners show the connections between the key content and that storyline as the curriculum develops. In our previous blogpost, we referenced The Big History Project, which takes a big picture view of key concepts through history where learners construct a narrative based on those key conceptual ideas rather than simply diving into minutiae. The approach exemplifies how your team might step back and layout the conceptual framework that is accessible to learners in any course or learning program. To be clear, the review of these cuts will be ongoing once the new school year commences whether on-site or on-line or both.
  • Assessment cuts: Evidence of learning is bedrock to the design of learning experiences. Coupled with meaningful feedback, our learners can progress in their development. Considerations and decisions about what formative and summative assessments will be the most revealing and helpful demonstrations of learning should be determined as a faculty both across grade levels and vertically. Certainly the impact of state or provincial requirements for public educators and education organization policies (i.e. College Board, IB) is a major factor in decision making. Bottom line, if there are cuts in the curriculum then there will be corresponding cuts in the assessments.

Could you consolidate based on units of study and personal learning progress during the remote learning time?

  • Given the nature of your course or grade level subject area layout, if there are related and clear connections between units then combining them is possible. To consolidate means to combine elements to make a more effective coherent whole. On a practical review of the scope and sequence of a year’s units, we can step back and not only determine what we might cut and where we might cut back, but where we can merge units of study. Consolidation can certainly occur within an existing unit as a teacher reviews and revises elements and activities based on past experience. Certainly interdisciplinary units of study can be a fruitful design consideration when consolidating.
    • It may be that a geology course in a high school begins with a look at the formation of the earth as a planet for the first unit and in the second examines oceans and the third unit looks at land. It seems that these three could be combined to shorten the time and be reframed to look at the early story of planet earth: beginnings and elements.
    • On the elementary level, a fourth grade ELA curriculum might have a sequence that moves from a unit on historical fiction focused on a chapter book perhaps Number the Stars by Lois Lowry , to a unit on persuasive writing on an issue. It seems plausible to combine those two and consider having students take a stand on a critical issue raised in Lowry’s classic work.

Could you create a new unit or module to replace this altogether? 

  • Generating new curriculum units responsive to the learners and to the zeitgeist is an option that seems particularly relevant.  Certainly new units could be interdisciplinary derived from a reconsideration of your existing layout for the school year.  A deliberate lens from multiple subject areas on common topics, problems, issues, and themes could provide a fresh perspective for learners. We strongly recommend the development of phenomena-based learning supporting inquiry into emergent problems and issues in a students life.  These might be framed on a personal, local, or global level but what is key is there is an immediacy to the situation. (NOTE: Interdisciplinary units emerge from the natural connections we see “between disciplines”, that is between the subjects.  Phenomona-based is not anchored in our traditional school day but transcends the notion.   We are not suggesting one is “better than the other”, rather we hope to provide a menu of options as units are generated) .
    • A key organizing focus could be phenomena-based given the emergent issues regarding the pandemic. Whether an individual unit or a series of units, learners could examine the impact personally, locally, or globally. Certainly developmental considerations need to be primary here. Here are some examples:
      • On all levels, learners can document and share their experience both from the onset of the restrictions and the closing of on-site school to the present in their transition to school (whatever form that might take). The unit could be COVID19: My Story, Your Story, Our Stories
      • Secondary students can dive into an examination of the pandemic and/or consider specific angles. For example, as contemporary historians they might develop an annotated timeline since the first reports in November 2019 from China to the present. As journalists they could “cover” certain angles on the pandemic in a series of articles: the point of view of essential workers, impact on a range of families in the community or, the challenge to local government and decision making. Clearly, an area of fascination for all of us is the scientific research and scramble to develop treatments and a vaccine and certainly for our learners that could be covered in an empirical style.
      • Elementary students might engage and develop service based learning projects to thank local health care and essential service providers. Whether in the form of  written communication or in  a short video message, gratitude is appreciated and it is important to display. What is more, it may be possible to actually provide concrete support to members of the local community as the adaptation and easing into functional society occurs.

Leading Future Forward Curriculum Analysis, Revision, and Reimagining

This process needs to be implemented with all deliberate speed to develop a solid draft that functions as a rudder to help steer turbulent waters of where, when, and how learning happens in 2020-21. In teaming configurations whether grade level, grade level clusters (i.e.-K-2, 3-5, 9-10), department, or interdisciplinary teams,  teachers can meet to review their upcoming plans. Likely to be virtual in nature, these formal reviews will be focused on making  collective proposals on what to cut out, cut back, consolidate, and create informed by the Future Learning Goals. Using a collaborative decision making model, leadership in a school or district can coordinate these efforts, document them and share them. Transparency is critical.

Here are two possible starting points to begin the review process:

Have a curriculum that has been consistent for at least 2 years? You could start here.

  • If your school utilizes curriculum mapping on a software platform, your teams can make a deliberate and formal walkthrough of your units and scope and sequence to make determinations about what to cut out, cut back, consolidate, and create.
  • Examine curriculum vertically to identify primary areas of fluency that are vital when students engage in more ambiguous and complex problems. For example, in math: Performs multiplication with multi-digit whole numbers.
  • Teams may want to utilize standards to inform grade level decisions and coordinate vertical choices. What is in the foreground of our subjects given the need to prioritize without putting undue pressures on other grade levels.

Have a standards-based report card? You could start here.

Pay particular attention to growing skill development either within a subject or transdisciplinary. For example, here is a sample from a Grade 1 Writing Report Card. The same focus areas are repeated on the report card through Grade 6.

  • Writing is focused; purpose is clear.
  • Writing includes details and descriptive words.
  • Writing is organized.
  • Writing demonstrates basic sentence structure.
  • Writing uses grade-level conventions of standard English.

Consider how these focus areas support one to draft a Future Forward Learning Goal in formal communication. For example: Crafts a purposeful and polished text in a given genre for a target audience.

Then, grade level or vertical department teams can make informed choices as to what genres to pay attention to both timeless and familiar ones (e.g., poetry, fairy tales, informational statements) as well as contemporary ones (e.g., interviews, emails, virtual chats).

Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

Decisions on curriculum matters have never been easy.   Educators know that there are certain units of study and learning experiences that are particularly satisfying to teach and are hard to let go. There can be sharp differences of opinion on what matters most for learners between members of a grade level team or department. Conversely, there are great opportunities for collaboration and responsiveness to the needs, especially now, as we work through these decisions. Perhaps there is guidance in looking to the Latin root word for curriculum, which means a path to run in small steps. The familiarity with this path creates ruts that become deeper and make it more difficult to see with fresh eyes. As school faculties lay out a reimagined path in partnership with their learners and families, the opportunity it to leverage specific expertise in service to common and aspirational learning goals. Moving forward into the months ahead, future forward learning goals and a collaborative planning process will inform our choices on what to cut, what to keep, what to create in the curriculum.


Here are two streamlined organizers:
one for future-forward learning goals and one for review and reimagining process.


In our next blogpost, Part 3 in our series*,  we will consider the most meaningful demonstrations of learning to consider as students return to school in light of our future forward learning goals. How might we meet the challenge of determining their readiness to return both academically and emotionally? What types of feedback and grading makes sense as we review student formative and summative assessment? How will we develop self-navigating and self-monitoring skills that have already proven to be critical in remote learning?

*NOTE: We will explore the range of options and key considerations that school leaders, learners, and families might examine as they move forward in our four-part blog series on the Transition.

Part 1: How Will We Return to School? Curriculum Choices in the Face of COVID19

Part 2: Building the Future Now: Deciding What to Cut, What to Keep and What to Create

Part 3 (COMING SOON): Assessment and the Return to School: Engaging Student Voice, Self-monitoring, Meaningful Demonstrations, and Feedback 

Part 4 (COMING SOON):  Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of students and teachers and Shaping both physical and virtual learning spaces 

How Will We Return to School? Curriculum Choices in the Face of COVID19

By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda  

Cross-posted from Learning Personalized

First in a Four-Part Series on Transition*

In the midst of wide-ranging, remote learning efforts during this initial triage phase of the COVID19 crisis, there is a clarion call emerging: What do we do next? The impact of a summer vacation may seem to provide some relief but will likely prove problematic.

What we don’t know.

  • When the return to on-site school will commence.
  • Geographically where and how it will occur.
  • What procedures for social distancing will be in play.

What we do know.

  • That there will be differences in policy responses to school reopening in different regions and different countries as we are seeing now in Denmark. 
  • That there will likely be a resurgence of the coronavirus.
  • That the understandable urge to “pick up where we left off” is a fantasy.

Let us consider real and actionable choices for curriculum design for the return and how we might arrive at those decisions. We will frame our exploration on two fundamental questions:

QUESTION 1: What have our learners experienced?

We need to acknowledge and ascertain the impact of COVID19 on them emotionally, socially, and academically in preparation for making curriculum choices for the upcoming school year. Each school community is its own ecosystem characterised by: a unique student population,  a specific location, demographics, language capabilities, cultural characteristics, degrees of transiency, age range, and aspirations. With this in mind,  our efforts need to focus on the degree of trauma our individual students have experienced that may have prevented them from meaningfully engaging in learning. In Part 3 of our blogpost series, we will explore specific strategies and efforts being made to assess the impact on our learners.

On the academic front, our students have had disparate learning  experiences and wide ranging degrees of engagement. Some of these disparities will be due to a lack of access , conflicting distractions at home, the quality of the programs offered and the level of interest in the experiences planned. Our students will be feeling a range of emotions, some readily apparent and others hidden. Certainly the age of learners will determine our response. In truth, many of our teachers and school leaders will have their own children at home and will be grappling with these questions.

With a central focus on learners, we would do well to include all members of the school community in this preparatory probe: families, teachers, school leaders, caregivers.

ACTIONS to consider:

Documenting and sharing stories. Representing the range of the experience on the part of learners and families, these can be handled directly between classroom teachers and their learners on current online platforms. These stories can also be addressed through organizations and groups that directly seek out and feature diverse perspectives of students to better understand their current situations as well as hopes for when school returns what might be most helpful to consider.

  • Lessons learned—what I didn’t know about myself and others
  • Stories of grief and loss
  • What I miss most about school and want to keep
  • Parental observations of children based on developmental considerations.

Online  forums and story-telling gatherings. The sharing of stories to be thoughtfully heard by others in the community.  (Zoom rooms)

School Community Virtual Summits to Navigate 2020-21. We urge you to host school community virtual gatherings between now and before the start of school so that families can describe the reality of what was experienced in homes to better understand diverse perspectives and guide decision making. These gatherings can continue through the school year whether virtual or on site pending local conditions.

Surveys that directly address questions, concerns and level of student engagement from all members of the school community. What is critical is that survey data not only impact curriculum choices made, but also school leadership present back new and revised learning plans with data from the school community.

Deliberate planning on relationship building in the first weeks of school. Start slowly and begin with two to three weeks of probing with learners about their experience, let them share, document, and begin some assessment of their readiness skills to engage.

Using an existing approach for SEL (e.g., Habits of MindRULERCASEL Competencies) to help with common language, direct instruction, and responsive feedback. The power and push for social emotional learning over the past several years can really help with sense-making and healing. While SEL lessons might previously have been relegated to an “advisory” program or front-loaded at the start of the year, cognitive learning is deeply intertwined with social emotional learning.

Focus on counseling and medically supported approaches to manage trauma. It is critical not to overwhelm an already overloaded, anxious faculty, yet they likely see that it is essential to be prepared. We would do well to draw reasonable and simple strategies for recognizing signs of trauma in our learners. School counselors and psychologists can provide professional development webinars to inform staff and share approaches to assist. In a recent global forum, a Minnesota educator shared with Heidi that his staff had elected to receive professional development training in treatment strategies from PTSD. The faculty has  found it helpful in their interactions with learners and helping manage their own personal situations. It is critical to note that teachers should not be viewed as therapists here, but rather that they have better tools for red-flagging emerging problems.

QUESTION 2:  What will matter most in the design of the curriculum next year for our students?

Clarifying what is expected from staff and students is paramount as anxiety levels about standardized testing, making up for 8-10 weeks of unit coverage, may push people over the edge. Relentlessly focusing on getting units online in the summer months and moving through curriculum at a rapid pace when the school year begins will likely alienate many learners, families, and professionals. Every effort must be made to find out to what extent students were actually engaged in emergency remote learning efforts during the current Triage period. Key determining factors:

Our younger learners may be in a literacy hiatus due to the lack of formal instruction during these formative years. It will be critically important to determine where our children stand in order to move forward with reading, writing, listening, speaking, and numeracy. Frankly, these same concerns hold for other age groups who may be literate but will likely have slipped precipitously in their growth. It is reasonable to assume that there will be an increased learning gap between the end of the current existing online school year. We are suggesting that the readiness of learners needs to be handled thoughtfully in the opening weeks — balancing diagnostic assessment with developing classroom culture filled with optimism, possibilities, and creative choices.

In some communities there will be a sizable number of learners who had limited participation as school transitioned to remote learning for the remainder of the school year. That may be further compounded by the Triage grading system where some school systems have decided that “no one fails” regardless of achievement over the first ⅔ of the year. This may make it more difficult to ascertain individual growth on key skills and concepts essential to build on for the upcoming school year.

When formal and predictable instructional routines stopped, learning still went on. As students gained more control over how they spend their time, there are skills, topics, and ideas that students may have pursued due to necessity, boredom, curiosity, and/or aspiration.

Some OPTIONS to consider:

Examine core curriculum for the year in the remaining weeks of school. Ideally, this would be done with PLCs (e.g., subject area teams, vertical teams in Elementary) where they come to agreement on What to cut? What to keep? What to create? This culling of core curriculum from the beginning of the school year helps create a more coherent curriculum narrative, prioritizing skills and processes with a thoughtful reframing of content over the memorization of granular details. We will share a decision making tool and strategies to assist in making these critical choices in Part 2 in our series.  (*See below).

Recalibrate curricular content goals to emphasize the BIG PICTURE of concepts rather than diving into the granular in all subject areas. An effective approach that has gained international attention is the Big History Project. The premise: rather than teaching minutiae about history, we lay out the big story, the connected sweep of history in a way that allows us to take a deeper dive in a context. This approach can certainly be applied to many of our curriculum areas. So, for example, science teachers in a middle school might lay out their year with a handful of important storyline points or concepts. In Biology—what are the five or six main takeaways that conceptually will engage our learners? What are a handful of key details that will support that investigation? Let us be clear, for those learners who can and will take a deeper dive, there is a wealth of details to explore in any subject. The possibility for pursuing more information can be built into any curriculum design especially when we have self-navigating learners.

Develop a set and series of transition units that focus on reflecting on what their experience has been and what has been the experience of others personally, locally, and globally. These would be phenomena-based and clearly interdisciplinary and certainly designed to match the developmental needs of learners. Taking a humanities lens could consider the stories and social impact through ELA, Social Studies, and the Arts would provide opportunities for self-expression and appreciation for the point of view of others. A STEM lens would point to the science, diagnostic,analytic, statistical, economics of COVID19 but continue to keep the personal, local and global angle. Based on the age of the learners, the curriculum could draw from archives of the event via news sources (Newsela). This could be in addition to a revised core curriculum adapted to the needs of the learner.

Recognize the freedom and responsibility that learners had to demonstrate during COVID19 in planning their time, monitoring thinking, seeking assistance. Their level of autonomy can be strengthened through naming the language of dispositions/HOM, direct instruction  (e.g., managing impulsivity, persisting, thinking flexibly), student self-reporting about ideas and actions they pursued, and providing feedback. For example, here is a survey developed by a school in New Jersey.

 

What actions and options are you developing in relation to these two questions? Comment below to share your thinking and help expand possibilities for school communities around the world.

QUESTION 1: What have our learners experienced? 

QUESTION 2:  What will matter most in the design of the curriculum next year for our students? 

 

*NOTE: We will explore the range of options and key considerations that school leaders, learners, and families might examine as they move forward in our four-part blog series on the Transition.

Part 1:  The Return is Approaching: Curriculum Choices in the Transition to School Re-opening raises questions, offers some guideposts, and expands the menu for the design of learning experiences. 

Part 2: Deciding What to Cut, What to Keep, and What to Create in the Design of Learning Experiences for 2020-21 School Year. Providing a tool to assist local educators in making these important choices.

Part 3:   Assessment and the Return to School: Engaging Student Voice, Self-monitoring, Meaningful Demonstrations, and Feedback 

Part 4:  Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of students and teachers and Shaping both physical and virtual learning spaces 

ASCD Connect 21 Camp- Here we come!

So…what is Connect 21 Camp? 

connect21-promo

It is NOT about  the technology.   It is NOT about  the hardware.   It IS ABOUT the expansion of each educator’s command of the new literacies coupled with the design of deliberate curriculum integration possibilities for your setting.

 

Our focus:   INTEGRATING Digital Learning Directly into Curriculum and Teaching

Our focus:  CREATING a genuinely personalized three day learning pathway full of creative excitement and practical take-backs.

The CONNECTIONS:

Bridge the gap between the hardware- the tablets, laptops, and smartboards AND teaching and learning!  

  • Connect with our children and young people who are clearly residents of the 21st century hungry for relevant and motivating projects and investigations!
  • Integrate the digital literacy and media savvy productions directly into your lesson plans!
  • Bring the world into your classroom and school through global partnerships and networks.
  • Develop a connected plan to engage your faculty in a long term plan to support a dynamic approach to the integration of the new literacies tailored to your setting.
  • Engage in a range of options from media production labs to digital workshops to film study to coaching sessions.

CHECK OUT the program and our experienced team in detail: http://www.connect.curriculum21.com

I have never been more enthused about a professional learning experience as ASCD’s upcoming Camp Connect 21 scheduled for August 6-8, 2015, at National Harbor, MD.

JOIN US and CONNECT.

 

Heidi