Newsletter: March 2020

Newsletter: March 2020

Jaclyn Siano

Welcome to Inspired Instruction’s monthly newsletter. We share the most relevant articles, blogs, videos, and classroom resources related to all aspects of education.

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For Administrators

At Inspired Instruction, we are here to support teachers and administrators during this unprecedented time. Check out this month’s blog,”Best Practices for Virtual Learning,” which highlights our top five list of considerations while teaching from home. Also included are helpful activities and lessons teachers can apply to their virtual classrooms.

We realize that it is hard as an administrator to know exactly how to support your students and teachers during this time of at-home learning. We found this great resource, Supporting Educators and Learning in the Era of Covid-19, published by the State of Missouri, that highlights critical things to consider, areas on which to focus and what to let go of now that we are no longer in the physical classroom. 

Even though educators are working from home, we know that the professional learning doesn’t stop.  We loved this article about how we should view students through a culturally responsive lens.  Knowing our students’ backgrounds and histories is critical not only to our interactions but our pedagogy.  

Check out this insightful discussion by the President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics called “How Do We Help Teachers Teach Math to Black Kids? My Response.” Cultural responsiveness is a mindset, and that begins with providing teachers with training and resources. Check out how we are supporting schools as they make a commitment to this critical issue.

What’s the most effective way for teachers to continue their professional learning?  We know that job-embedded learning is widely considered the most beneficial, because teachers’ specific needs are met.  With the current context of at-home learning, coaching can be a critical component of support for teachers, even in a virtual format.  Edutopia shares some insights for administrators to consider on the use of coaching and “Collaborative Learning For Educators.”  

Want to learn more about virtual coaching? Contact Jaclyn Siano to learn how we are customizing the online platform for schools’ unique needs.

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For Teachers

Even the best teacher preparation programs and years of teaching experience couldn’t have prepared us for the current shift in how education is being delivered.  But intuitively, teachers know what’s really important in this moment.  Edutopia’s article, “Focusing on Student Well-Being in Times of Crisis,” helps put the phrase “Maslow before Bloom” into clear focus, by providing specific steps that teachers can take to give students what they need, now more than ever.    

When we visit schools, we are constantly hearing about the issue of student motivation.  This phenomena is no different now as students are learning from home.  So how can educators help?  Check out this video series created by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski that focuses on “What Teachers Can Do to Boost Student Motivation.”  They highlight the four areas that researchers identify as the keys to motivated students, and you’ll learn how autonomy, relatedness, relevance and competence will create the classroom where everyone can feel successful.  

We created a self-study guide for you to use as you watch the videos to document what you learned and how you will implement these strategies.  Don’t forget to track results too (hint: use this as an artifact for your teacher evaluation)! 

Have students who are reading below grade level? Stop what you are doing now and read this comprehensive report from American Public MediaAt a Loss for Words: How a Flawed Idea is Teaching Millions of Kids to be Poor Readers is an in-depth look at the cognitive science behind reading.  Since so many of our teacher training programs taught us to use the three cueing systems as a primary method of instruction, there has been an overuse of materials and methods that limit kids’ practice decoding.  It goes on to suggest that we are actually teaching kids the strategies that poor readers rely on.  Whether you use Reader’s Workshop or a Balanced Literacy approach, phonics and word work should not be an afterthought.  Check out the resources and workshops we offer to support teachers as they do the critical work of teaching students to read.   

Reading and writing across the curriculum is a critical strategy to prepare students to be successful both in and beyond school.  So, whether you are an elementary teacher or content area teacher, a great way to engage students in informational text is by using primary sources, especially photographs.  Check out the New York Times’ resources for teaching women’s history using primary sources.  Pair these ideas with our primary source learning organizer which is perfect for a collaborative activity using photographs.  

School Spotlight

Hani Awadallah School in Paterson has partnered with one of our ELA coaches to improve student writing.  They have been focusing on breaking down the writing process into the small component parts that kids need to be successful.  Teachers and students have been identifying what a prompt is asking, writing the thesis (or restating the question), and finding relevant evidence to support their claims.  Check out some of the strategies and resources our consultants shared during these coaching sessions.

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Interested in these resources?  Just email Michele Regan for a copy and directions on how to use them.

Tips and Tricks

Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve found to be effective in regards to improving student writing? Email them to Jaclyn Siano and you may be featured in one of our future editions.

Making the Most Out of Google Apps Webinar

Did you miss our Making the Most Out of Google Apps webinar on March 25th? Don’t stress!  You can access the recording here.

What’s Next?

We’d love to discuss how we might help you with your most pressing priorities.  Need a place to start?  Contact us for a free Needs Assessment to determine the strengths and opportunities of your curriculum, assessment and instructional practices. Email Jaclyn Siano to schedule yours today!

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