A change is in the works for middle schools in Ohio's Akron Public Schools that will include symbiotic partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Similar to a Tennessee school's relationship with the zoo that shares its campus, plans in the Akron district follow an overhaul of high schools using a Metro Nashville Public Schools model for college and career academies.
Students in grades four through eight suffered "substantial" math losses and those in early elementary grades experienced "modest" math losses due to coronavirus-related education disruptions, according to a study from Illuminate Education. To recover, students would need to learn at nearly double the annual rate for the number of months lost, say researchers, who compared national data from FastBridge assessments for fall with results from the same period in the prior three years.
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Some school administrators and educators say they are worried about the toll the coronavirus pandemic is having on students and their educational futures. With many schools closed to in-person learning and students experiencing a lack of extracurricular activities, educators say the public health and economic problems may produce what some are calling a "lost generation" of students.
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Ensuring comprehension of new information extends beyond applying content knowledge in school assignments, writes Michael McDowell, superintendent of the Ross School District in California. Using lessons to work on real-world problems and having students solve multiple related problems are some of the ways he suggests for having students demonstrate their knowledge.
Almost all US schools have high-speed broadband internet, but that does not translate into all students having adequate connectivity for remote learning, according to a recent report from Connected Nation. Fewer than half of all US school districts currently meet or exceed internet connection speeds of 1 Mbps, required to handle high-bandwidth applications such as streaming video and edtech programs.
Teachers face myriad challenges teaching during the coronavirus pandemic, including oscillating between in-person and virtual learning, hybrid instruction and ensuring students' nonacademic needs also are met during this unprecedented health crisis. Evin Shinn, a middle-school literacy coach in Seattle, says "teachers are not OK right now," and unions and advocates caution that burnout is imminent.
Combing out the fluff in our pandemic lesson plans
There are too many demands on instructional time in the COVID-19 era to waste very much of it teaching at the lowest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. ELA/ENL teacher Dina Strasser recommends taking a fine-tooth comb to those sometimes necessary TPT plans and removing the fluff. Read more.
Help students use design thinking to create reading goals
This fall reading teacher Katie Durkin's seventh-graders developed a voluntary reading plan using a design thinking process. After modeling her own reading goals, she had students generate and pursue "prototype" goals that helped them expand choice and voice in their reading practices. Read more.