Give Families More Superpowers!
Updated: Jan 8
Hi educator friends!
First of all, do you know how much we appreciate you? I am absolutely amazed by the work of teachers everywhere. The model of education seems to change every two weeks, and you continue to pivot and adapt. Thank you for continuing to share with one another. Thank you for continuing to care about the well being of your students. Thank you for never. Giving. Up. You make everything else possible by doing the impossible. It’s no secret that remote learning has come with new challenges for learners and their families. It can be difficult to clearly define milestones and boundaries in the school day. There are also new skills for our kids to master as they navigate this learning landscape. Since this is my first email from the Applied Coaching for Projects account, I’d love to briefly share a little about myself. (How ya doin’?) I live in Colorado, and I wear both the educator and parent hats. My daughter attends an amazing school, with teachers and leaders who do their very best for our children. Just like many others in the world, I’ve been trying to manage working from home, while also supporting my daughter in her remote learning. Some days go well, and some days are... really challenging. Recently, I’ve been trying out some new tools that we created, and they’ve been helpful. I think you’ll agree, and you may even want to share them with your students’ families. Read about three of them below! 1. Daily Learning Plan The tale of 5 separate Google Classrooms: My child’s school is leveraging Google Classroom. Her classroom teacher has a Google Classroom, as do each of her specials teachers. Each of her teachers are terrific about posting assignments, and responding to students in the stream. Her classroom teacher also provides students with reminders in a Google Slide presentation that she updates each week. Even with this educational technology, I still found that some reminders were slipping through the cracks. It was challenging for my daughter to keep track of learning opportunities and tasks across all the different platforms. Enter a new routine! I found a template on Canva that I adapted to create a daily learning planner. In our e-book, Connecting Together: Collaboration Strategies for Online and Physically Distanced Learning, we said, “Learners want to be successful, and accountability can bring with it fear and vulnerability. The way to make accountability less scary is to make it a habit.” (Lathrop, et al. 2020, 17) This planner is meant to create a habit of accountability, and it should be completed through a routine. Every morning, we thumb through her assignments in each class, compiling a list of “To Dos” that we add to the planner. Then, we discuss the order in which she wants to engage in learning. We break these into two sections: morning and afternoon. We have a few check ins throughout the day, and once at the end of the day. Sometimes, I use one of the questions from our poster with reflective prompts. I’m hoping that using this routine and planner will help her to develop project management skills: identifying and sequencing tasks, monitoring her own progress, and determining next steps. (By the way, if you’re looking for a similar template to use in the classroom, be sure to check out the Worktime Audit - Pages 24 and 25 of our e-book)
2. “How to Email Your Teachers” Graphic I’ve noticed that many of the emails that my daughter sends to her teachers are incomplete, and often use the abbreviations used in texting. (Is it okay to assign blame somewhere? No? Well, I still blame Roblox.) I would prefer she learns to address and communicate with others in a way that’s more professional, so I created the graphic below to help her. You’re welcome to use it too! Feel free to share or use it on your class website.
3. Reference page A couple of weeks ago, my colleague Alicia was facilitating a coaching session with some teachers. During the session, the teachers shared challenges they're experiencing. Among other things, they mentioned that their main office was swamped with family phone calls. Most of the time, the families didn’t know who they should contact for a specific concern, and resorted to calling the main office. Alicia decided to help the teachers create a one page document with information to support the families at the school. You can see their completed product below! Want to make your own? Open our template here!
Bonus: Canva Templates for Distance Learning It’s time to reveal our secret superpower. Every one of the images and documents we shared with you in this email was created in Canva. You might want to check them out as well. Be sure to visit their Distance Learning page the next time you need to design a student handout or poster. There might be some time-saving ideas on there! Let us know if you use any of these ideas or templates. We’d love to learn from you too! You can reply to this email, or mention any of us on social media. Until next time, take deep breaths, take time for yourselves, and take it easy on the pumpkin spice!