7 fun digital learning tools to try in the classroom

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 5th most-read story focuses on under-the-radar digital learning tools.

During pandemic learning, educators have seen a plethora of digital learning tools and resources, and they’re figuring out what does and doesn’t work for their instructional methods.

There are some well-known and much-loved digital learning tools that are part of every educator’s must-try list, but why not throw some new resources into the mix?…Read More

How educators can make time for self-care

This time of year sees email in boxes filled with information about how to prepare for the next year, reminders that grades are due, and papers await grading. We are deluged with predictions about the future, what to worry about, and sometimes even what to be excited about. Those with calendar year goals are often rushing to complete projects or solidify a final sale. Family and other holiday obligations can often add an extra level of stress as well. One thing often missing is how to make sure you are balanced and ensure you are taking time for self-care.

According to a recent NBC article about the increasing educator shortage, between retirements among an already-aging population and the stress and burnout of the pandemic, the number of potential educators in the pipeline is not nearly enough to match needs.

An October 2021 NPR report showed that 80,000 aspiring nurses were turned away from nursing schools due to a lack of adequate nursing instructors. It is clear that educator burnout can directly lead to shortages in other critical areas such as health care.…Read More

The unbeaten path to hybrid learning

Virtual learning, and the forms in which virtual and in-person education meet, have sparked controversy in the educational community. 

Often we debate what consequences this type of education has. We wonder whether traditional learning methodologies–with their big appetite for control and constant evaluation–are even achievable when classes are hybrid. But by focusing on impacts only, we overlook the essential issue: What’s the real purpose of education?

We should be primarily concerned with how education helps students achieve their personal and professional goals, whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid–a methodology targeting students’ development will help teachers capitalize on every lesson triumphantly.…Read More

4 ways online tutoring helps our at-risk, low-income district achieve goals

Our urban Title I district serves a population of 78 percent at-risk students and 84 percent low-income families. We were already managing low proficiency rates on math and ELA state assessments prior to the pandemic, and the move to remote learning made it even more difficult for teachers to engage with students who couldn’t be on campus.

The shifting rigor of Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards pushed our students even further behind the curve. We knew we needed a program to accelerate learning outcomes and boost proficiency rates on MCAP/PARCC assessments while also providing academic support to students in need.

Finding the right solution…Read More

10 SEL activities for high school students

Between balancing core instruction, administering assessments, grading homework, and ensuring students are prepared for college and career, high school teachers have a lot on their plates. SEL activities can make your jobs easier!

When students have strong social and emotional skills, they are more motivated, engaged, and understand the value of their learning. SEL also helps reduce disruptive behavior and office referrals, which allows teachers to spend more time on their instruction. Additionally, SEL activities can improve high school students’ college and career readiness and help them set goals for life after high school.

It’s easy to integrate SEL activities in your core instruction! Here are 10 activities and lesson ideas for high school students–organized by subject area–to get you started.…Read More

3 activities that will turn classroom robots into SEL power tools

If I had one teaching tool at my disposal in a classroom besides pencils, papers, and books, it would be an educational robot. A robot is the single most engaging learning tool I’ve used with students. It appeals to children of all ages, genders, and backgrounds—and it goes beyond technology to include so many learning goals. In fact, when I was at the pre-K-8 Park School, I considered it one of the most important social-emotional learning tools I’ve used.

There are so many demands on teachers’ time, especially at the beginning of a new school year, that teaching with a robot may not be on their lists of must-do activities. But robotics can be easily incorporated into instruction. As a lead makerspace educator, I’ve found that the best way to help teachers integrate robots into their lessons is to identify the skills they’re looking to teach and demonstrate how they can accomplish it with classroom robots.

As students return to the classroom after a tumultuous and traumatic year, SEL is going to be especially important. Here are a few activities that have helped the teachers in my school connect STEAM and SEL.…Read More

Curriculum Associates Updates i-Ready® with New Lessons and Assessments to Further Support Dual-Language Classrooms and Spanish-Speaking Students

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., September 23, 2021—To further support Spanish-speaking students in dual-language or transitional-bilingual programs, Curriculum Associates recently added new lessons and assessments to its award-winning i-Ready program. All of these resources—including authentic Spanish Reading lessons for Grades K–2, new Spanish versions of Mathematics lessons for Grades K–6, and a new Assessment of Spanish Reading for Grades K–6—are all designed for students to see themselves in the learning materials as they work to meet ambitious goals this school year.…Read More

Air filters are playing a big part in safe school reopening plans

As schools kick off the 2021-22 school year, the air is thick with questions — and with COVID-19 hesitancy. Will students and faculty have to wear masks? Will they have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19? Will we see remote learning play a major role this year, as it did last year? How can we keep classrooms safe while the delta variant seems to be running rampant and vaccination rates lag behind national goals?

The unfortunate answer to all these questions is that there is no clear answer. Each state, and even each school district, is handling things differently in the U.S. In Florida for example, Governor DeSantis is threatening to withhold funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. Meanwhile, California has lifted its state-wide mask mandate for schools but highly encourages school districts to enforce their own policies.

An airborne virus doesn’t respect state borders, and the longer it’s allowed to circulate, the more likely the virus is to mutate into a new variant. Perhaps even one that ignores the protections of current vaccines. Which is why it’s important for schools to do everything in their power to protect students, faculty, and everyone else on their campuses.…Read More

New i-Ready® Updates Help Teachers Support All Students in Reaching Ambitious Goals

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., August 17, 2021—Curriculum Associates has updated its award-winning i-Ready program to help educators address unfinished learning and continue to deliver engaging instruction as students work to meet ambitious goals this upcoming school year. The updates are designed to provide educators with deeper insights into students’ learning, engage students in grade-level work, motivate students with new instruction, ensure students are on track for reading success, support Spanish-speaking students, and more.

“Over the last 10 years, i-Ready has supported the teaching and learning process in schools nationwide,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “Throughout this time, we have continually worked to enhance the program to meet the needs of teachers and students alike. Now, at this critical time as teachers are tasked with addressing unfinished learning caused by the pandemic, these latest updates will go a long way in helping students achieve grade-level expectations and make real gains.”

…Read More

3 ways students can be ready for college and a career

While the way students are achieving educational goals may look a little different due to the pandemic, it doesn’t eliminate its value or importance. In fact, with the way our day-to-day lives are evolving, it’s critical that students take time to evaluate how their next steps, personally and professionally, might impact the future. What’s been made clear over the past year is that how one looks for a college, how one prepares for a career and, ultimately, the importance of education all go hand in hand.

And while online education is an increasingly popular option for students, it doesn’t mean that all students are equipped with the knowledge of how to navigate this new-ish learning style and what resources to use in the process.

Here are three key insights for students to enable them to thrive, regardless of the learning environment.…Read More