April 20, 2020: Our new now is starting to normalize. We've figured out most of the kinks of teaching remotely. But how are you doing? I've received emails from a couple of teachers that say they don't even know where to begin, even after the four weeks we've been at home. First step, get in touch with your students. Take letters to students' houses, email, call, etc. If you can't get a hold of your students, you can't help them. So our first priority must be contact. Once you've made contact, assess the situation. Do your students have internet? Do they have a chromebook? Are they eating? Once you know what the situation looks like, make a plan! Feeling overwhelmed is normal; staying overwhelmed isn't going to help anyone. Need help? Contact your teacher specialist! (Teacher Specialist: Shasta Burton)
April 13th, 2020: Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope each of us took the time to relax and process our current situation. Some things that have really helped me feel happier are getting dressed each day, setting a schedule, and making time to be outside. I set up a schedule on my google calendar to send me reminders. These reminders help motivate me to get moving, switch rooms, go outside, make time for my family, and more. A lot of teachers have mentioned they are ALWAYS working. Set a schedule with boundaries! Transparency is important, but does not mean you have to be available all of the time. Perhaps you spend most of your day helping students and answering emails. Set a limit. Maybe that means you won't be reading emails after contract time. Remove your work email notifications from your personal phone to help you relax each evening, so you can be refreshed each morning. Let parents know what your schedule looks like (for transparency) and then stick to it! You need your time. Your mental health deserves the break. Be kind to yourself, and let us know how we can support you! (Shasta Burton-Teacher Specialist)
March 18, 2020: “Every day may not be good... but there's something good in every day.” Today started out pretty scary. A 5.7 Earthquake shook us alert. I am reminded of courage and kindness as family and friends all scramble to check-in with each other. Do you have someone checking in on you? We are here to help! Shasta Burton (ALS Teacher Specialist)
March 19, 2020: With earthquakes, viruses, schools closures and social distance, everyone is exposed to the stress of things unknown. It is challenging to have routines disrupted. Stress and unexpected life developments can affect people emotionally. Writing about thoughts and feelings is a great way to help cope with the emotional stress of such events. It can help better regulate emotions and perhaps even help many break free from the stress. Although teachers and parents are very overwhelmed and uncertain, it is important for adults to reassure students of the good things. We can remind them that while we want to be happy, it is normal to feel scared, to be sad and to miss friends. To help students process their feelings, it is a good idea to have students write what they are feeling and experiencing. Like all students, English learners need to process. A few supports to help English learners with writing are word banks with pictures, graphic organizers, drawings, etc. For other writing ideas, please see the following link. https://m.busyteacher.org/11878-help-learners-through-writing-13-strategies.html Please reach out to our ALS team for ideas on writing and for other supports. We want to help ensure that English learners and all students continue to progress academically, but even more we want to make sure they feel safe and secure during this unique time. Krista Mecham: Teacher Specialist
March 20, 2020:
“Not everything will go the way you want...When this happens, you can pause, take a few deep breaths, and practice listening with your heart.”--Gabi Garcia
Educators and those in the educational field put their hearts into helping students become life-long learners. Administrators, teachers, students, support staff and parents have made online learning a success this week. It is time to take a deep breath and say, “It’s Friday! I’m alive. Life is good.”
Provided below is a list of suggestions for how you and your students can rejuvenate at home this weekend:
- Watch a fun movie with your family
- Read a good book aloud to each other
- Download Duolingo and begin to learn a new language
- Complete a puzzle
- Journal or blog
- Listen to music
- Play board games
- Cook/bake something fun
- Indoor scavenger hunt
- Reflect and celebrate your survival of a tough week
- Rest and relax
Spend a few minutes breathing and listening with your heart. Take some time for yourself before you prepare for another week! Do something that makes you smile and recharge your batteries!
Sheri Sample: Teacher Specialist
March 23, 2020: Moving lessons online so quickly has been challenging. It can be difficult for teachers and students because of missing face-to-face daily contact. How can teachers keep connected with students during this time of online learning?
Here are tips from educators who have created healthy and effective learning environments that allow students to thrive in this new virtual setting.
- Stay healthy and charged: Encourage students to take breaks between lessons to stretch, hydrate, or just unplug.
- Stay focused: Encourage students to find a quiet place where they can focus on the lesson with minimal distractions.
- Stay connected: School is important from a social perspective. Not seeing their friends face-to-face every day can be hard for students. Help them adjust to this new reality by encouraging them to schedule a lunch session with classmates to stay connected through technology or an online discussion.
- Motivate your class: Students can create projects (Powerpoints, quiz questions, etc.) or do some action research on a topic.
- Provide frequent feedback: Students will be motivated to work hard if you provide frequent feedback to help them celebrate successes and work on weak areas.
- Bring lessons to life: Have students use a camera to solve a math problem or demonstrate their art skills.
- Connect with students individually: It can be difficult to gauge how students are faring without seeing them in person, so connecting individually is very important. You can support students by creating a safe space for students to ask their questions or get the extra help they need. ----Adapted from weareteachers.com
Sheri Sample- Teacher Specialist
March 24, 2020: As we try to focus on the positive during these trying times, this meme speaks volumes...
Hopefully this message finds you well. The ALS department is here to help in anyway we can, as we try to do what is best for students.Another resource that we want to share is BrainPop.com. If you have not used this site, or perhaps have forgotten about it for a while, you may want to take a moment to refamiliarize yourself with what it has to offer. There are short educational videos for students to view and activities, games, and assignments that can be completed afterwards. There are numerous subject areas and a variety of ways to help students understand the material. There is also an English Learner component that students can use: https://ell.brainpop.com/.Please use this resource to your advantage and let us know how else we can support you at this time. Thank you. Tammy Fulmer- Teacher Specialist
March 25, 2020: Earthquake anxiety is still high among many of us. The stress of working at home, reaching our students, taking care of our families, the list goes on. Be sure to take a minute for you each day. It is important to ground yourself. Sing, play an instrument, meditate, go for a walk, find a way to remember who you are in all the chaos. Call your teacher specialist if you need help! Shasta Burton- Teacher Specialist
March 30, 2020: The sudden demand to teach online is stressful! With the beginning of a new quarter, it's a fresh start! My favorite quarter was always 4th quarter because students mostly give up testing the boundaries by now. With behavior issues out of the way, we could really get down to learning and have fun doing it. It's okay to mourn that loss. Keep finding ways to maintain healthy relationships with your students. We don't expect students to be able to maintain the same pace they would in school. Sometimes, less IS more. Go easy on yourself and your students. You are having to set boundaries again, and that can be exhausting for everyone. Reach out if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. We are here to support you! Shasta Burton- Teacher Specialist