School reopenings the focus of White House gathering | Teacher: Step into students' shoes when designing lessons | Using current events to connect with students
August 13, 2020
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School reopenings the focus of White House gathering
DeVos (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos held an event at the White House Wednesday focused on reopening schools to in-person instruction. A special-education teacher who has asthma stated she felt safe resuming in-class learning, given her district's safety practices, and an education researcher warned about the learning losses that can come from closed campuses.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (8/12) 
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Getting to September, Part II: The First Four Weeks
As students and teachers prepare to begin the 2020-2021 school year, questions linger. What will instruction look like this year? Will learning be fully online, in person or a mix of both? Tune in August 18th to hear a panel of educators discuss strategies for navigating the first few weeks successfully. Register Now
Focus on Practice
Teacher: Step into students' shoes when designing lessons
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
It is important to design lessons -- and instructions -- with the student experience in mind, especially as many schools will be using a remote environment for classes, according to Sarah Kesty, a special-education teacher. In this article, Kesty offers tips to ensure students' needs are at the forefront by test-running lessons ahead of time, evaluating written instructions and offering lessons in a consistent format.
Full Story: Edutopia (8/12) 
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Using current events to connect with students
A Google Doc started by San Francisco middle-school principal Joe Truss, "Connecting Across the Distance," contains ideas from teachers across the US on how to create and preserve relationships with students through culturally-connected projects. Around 150 educators contributed to the cloud document and in May, participated in a remote exhibition of their work.
Full Story: KQED-TV/FM (San Francisco) (8/11) 
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Schools Today
The shift to remote instruction in the spring led a Tennessee school district -- where 85% of students receive meal assistance -- to invest in a structured virtual learning program to ensure all students have access to the internet and tools to learn, writes Greg Smedley-Warren, a kindergarten teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools. In this article, Smedley-Warren shares lessons learned, including the importance of providing food for students and connecting with families.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (8/13) 
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Developing Leaders
Teachers in Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District developed new lessons this summer to prepare for remote instruction, including having students draw mind maps of their pandemic experience and getting kindergartners to share their family with the class using artwork or video. One teacher learned how to create lessons on Seesaw, which allows her to record instructions in her own voice.
Full Story: Santa Monica Daily Press (Calif.) (8/11) 
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Policy News
CDC guidance addresses bullying about face masks
(Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)
The CDC has released guidance for schools on the use of cloth face masks for students. Recommendations call for wearing cloth face masks, and schools are advised to establish plans to curb bullying and discrimination among students for wearing or not wearing masks.
Full Story: District Administration magazine online (8/12) 
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National Board Update
The 1 million pennies project: A K-12 classroom project
A whole community got wrapped up in a penny-based math project started by Jillian Folino, NBCT. In this blog post, Folino writes about how her new role took her in a direction that brought the community together to work on one project. Read more.
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Toolkit helps system leaders embed Board certification
National Board Certified Teachers have advocated for ways to bring accomplished teaching -- and by extension, improved student learning -- to scale using National Board Certification as a foundation for job-embedded, relevant and engaging professional learning. Now a toolkit helps make that work easier. Read on.
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