By Kevin Scott
I’m a teacher. Simply writing that statement feels refreshing and comfortable, yet it’s an identity to which I only recently returned. I taught 7th graders in the early 2000s. My first year of teaching U.S. history included trying to explain the election of 2000 and Bush v. Gore. My second year began with 9/11, and my third included the D.C. Sniper, which forced every kid in the D.C. metro area to stay indoors for the entire fall. No sports, no P.E., no riding bikes—just fear. I stayed in the classroom until 2007 when I took my experiences to a national education organization to use what I knew in a new environment. If I’m being honest, I was burned out and had two young sons who wanted to know why their dad wasn’t at their preschool’s “Donuts with Dad” or the end of year graduation lunch with the rest of the parents in their class.
Continue reading “A Return to Teaching in a Pandemic Year”
By David Nurenberg
A student turns in a paper two weeks late—do you accept it? A student fails a major test—do you let her re-take it? Do you deduct points? Are there a certain number of “chances,” but then no more?
Do our answers to any of these questions change amidst a pandemic?
Continue reading “Rethinking deadline-based-learning in the pandemic”
By Mary Burns, Education Development Center
With large-scale school shutdowns, the ensuing lack of academic and social supports for students, and the move to remote learning, COVID-19 has been an educational catastrophe for many students. Yet, as in many crises, the education community has responded with resilience and imagination about how we can emerge from the pandemic with a more equitable and high-quality education system. Remote learning in particular has provided opportunities for rethinking instructional design, focusing on student wellbeing, addressing inequity, and embracing and experimenting with educational technology in ways that can be applied to the post-COVID classroom. These “silver linings,” upon which we can and should build, are discussed below.
Continue reading “COVID has cast a dark cloud on education, but there are some silver linings”
By Christine Boatman
As a social studies teacher, I am always curious about how future historians will view current events. Lately, I’ve found myself particularly interested in how the COVID-19 pandemic will be analyzed by generations to come—and, seeking a precedent that might provide some clues, I’ve found myself drawn to how history remembers the Spanish flu of 1918. This semester, I’ll be using this comparison to help my students contextualize current events by investigating a historical event. Furthermore, the three activities I’ve put together for this purpose will help my students develop their critical thinking skills. We will be investigating stories of individuals impacted by the Spanish flu, exploring primary sources related to the Spanish flu, and, finally, my students will write an account from the perspective of an individual living in 1918, based on these primary sources. (Please note: it is important to take into account the ages and individual experiences of your students when planning these activities, and to be sensitive to any adverse reactions.)
Continue reading “The Spanish Flu versus COVID-19: Critical Thinking Activities for Social Studies”
By David Nurenberg
As a teacher preparing to begin an unprecedented new school year in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been consumed with reading, and writing, tips and best practices for online and remote education. Preparing for this new world alone is an enormous task for teachers already grappling with all the other stresses of this time. But as September draws near, I am feeling even more nervous, and even less prepared, about how to conduct in-person education in this new climate.
The federal and state governments are requiring schools to develop plans for both full and partial/“hybrid” returns to school. That means teachers’ plans for setting up our classroom must account for disinfection and hazardous material handling. We must somehow figure out how to conduct class activities without ever bringing students closer than 6 feet from one another, how to conference with students or intervene in discipline situations from that distance. We have to figure out how to cover required content and meet student learning goals when classes might be meeting only half or one-third as frequently. We must include, and teach, entirely online and remote versions of every lesson for absent students, find ways to catch up students who miss large amounts of school, and figure out how to emotionally support anxious students – and ourselves.
Continue reading “There should be no “best practices” for in-person teaching during COVID-19 – because it shouldn’t be happening”