Middle-school teachers Demi Lager and Emily Culp share in this commentary how they transitioned their sixth-grade English and science classes this year to the Modern Classrooms model, which combines self-paced instruction, mastery-based grading and blended learning. What they found was that students thrived under the model and intrinsic peer pressure was a motivator, they write.
Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis organized a food drive for families in areas affected by store damage and looting in the wake of the death last week of George Floyd while in police custody. Principal Amy Nelson said the amount collected spilled over from the parking lot into a neighboring park, and leftover food went to anyone in need as well as a local food bank.
Cutting costs now will lessen the likely budget blow for schools this fall, a report from Education Resource Strategies suggests. Some districts are cutting costs by trimming substitute teachers and transportation, while spending more in areas such as providing food and technology to students.
The nonprofit Khan Academy Kids has seen an explosion in use during the school shutdowns, but that comes at a financial cost, says founder Sal Khan. The widely used free learning platform is not in immediate danger but Khan says corporate sponsors could help fund costs including data storage, educational programming and software development.
Some school districts are only worrying about tracking laptops loaned to students in eighth and 12th grades, telling other students to keep theirs through the end of the 2020-21 school year, given unknowns related to the pandemic. One California district purchased tracking software to keep tabs on devices and minimize loss.
Middle-school students at Carroll Creek Montessori School in Maryland were tasked with creating art from nature, including earthworks that encompass flowers, sunlight, creeks and yards. The project ties into lessons on land art and earthwork artists found on the platform Schoology.
News and developments around the coronavirus pandemic can be incorporated into the curriculum as a way to help students see real-world applications of social studies, math and science lessons, history and government teacher Benjamin Barbour writes. He suggests to first identify existing learning objectives and then connect relevant examples from the current crisis.
Superintendent Mike Folks this year implemented a redesign in several of his Kansas district's schools, eschewing top-down dictates for teacher-based autonomy in course offerings, instructional programs and schedules. Personalized learning and family engagement have been enhanced, and technology efforts put the schools ahead of the curve during coronavirus closures.
Few teacher preparation programs in the US teach how to conduct remote instruction, but the rapid transition to remote instruction has some institutions considering whether that could and should change. Leanna Archambault, an associate professor at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, says it is no longer an option, but rather "imperative" that teacher education programs prepare educators for remote instruction.
Students at Hanscom Middle School will be the first to view the Museum of Science's new virtual planetarium program in lieu of their annual field trip to the museum in Boston. The program is part of the museum's online programming, which includes live events and activities using Google Meets.
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