As more districts are heading back to in-person learning, educators are being tasked with meeting the needs of students who have had a wide range of instructional and learning experiences over the past year. This might seem like even more of an uphill battle than what teachers have already gone through. Yet, there are several approaches that schools and districts can turn to help support this transition. Many of these approaches are key components of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), with which educators are already familiar. Below, we highlight the important distinction between learning and instructional loss as well as outline a few tips for effectively addressing the different skills and needs of students when they return to schools and classrooms.
As we move into the final stretch of one of the most challenging school years in our history, teachers and students might be noticing a decline in stamina. No matter the learning context (remote, in-person, or hybrid) keeping students engaged in learning at this point in the year is a common challenge. Although numerous teaching obstacles remain, there are several small but significant things that schools and teachers can do to boost and maintain student engagement. Below we take a deeper dive into what student engagement really is and why it is so important. Then we discuss some practical approaches for keeping students interested and involved in lessons, activities, and discussions.
The impact of remote instruction on students has been discussed a great deal during the past ten months, while our nation’s teachers grapple with the complexities of implementing distance learning. As teachers and students engage daily in e-learning, with some schools pivoting back and forth between a hybrid model of remote and in-person schooling, the topic of what it actually means for students to be at “grade level” has been trending. Prior to COVID-19, students were considered to be on “grade level” if they had mastered the skills and concepts at their expected level of difficulty as measured by formal assessments and district/state standards.
Over the past 10 months, with the pandemic outbreak, education systems have shifted to virtual and quasi virtual learning. The usage of remote learning intervention, tools, programs and strategies have increased drastically across subjects for all grade levels.
Over the next few months we will be rounding up our top used supports in 2020.
First up we have our most popular remote learning programs, interventions, and strategies that have been used during the 2020 year.
Among many of the COVID-19 and remote learning struggles for educators, understanding students’ assessment data has been one of the most common challenges. Interpreting student scores from universal screeners and benchmarks, and using the data to inform instruction and support, is an essential component of any MTSS framework. Without this information, educators must rely solely on their own observations of students to determine who is keeping up and who is falling behind. And of course, this becomes even more of a struggle when teachers aren’t able to observe and work with their students in person. These types of issues will likely stick around for a while, but as long as we continue to have students learning remotely it is essential to figure out ways to work with the data and information that is available. Below are common concerns that educators have with assessment data from their remote learners and suggestions for how to address them.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our country’s education system is facing one of the most significant opportunities for learning loss that we have encountered in nearly a century. As educators work to address this reality, they are also tasked with managing a variety of learning contexts from fully remote/virtual classrooms to in-person learning and hybrid models. Many administrators are looking for ways to reduce teachers’ workload to mitigate the stress and burnout that has come along with teaching during a pandemic. Some districts have made the decision to “pause” differentiated instruction or “lighten up” on the best practices of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Unfortunately, this decision will likely have a detrimental effect on student outcomes and create even more work for educators down the road.
Invest in your district/school’s Multi Tiered System of Supports now to help students get back on track after COVID-19 forced schools to transition to distance learning, resulting in significant loss of instructional time and quality.
For the past few weeks the Branching Minds team has been working to identify research-based supports that could help educators achieve successful remote learning, whether that be through learning packets, or digital instruction. We started off with a post on high leverage research-based programs and one on strategies that support reading and mathematics, and then another post focused on supporting students’ social emotional health. This post is geared towards supporting social studies, science and the arts. Please let us know if there are any other topics you would like the Branching Minds team to help you curate resources around—we are here to help!
During this period of change and uncertainty, supporting students’ social-emotional learning and development, in addition to their academic learning, is critical. This is especially true for students who already struggle socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Below are five evidence-based resources that can be used either by caregivers in the home or teachers remotely to promote key social-emotional competencies, such as self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, and behavior management.
The Branching Minds team has curated a set of 5 evidence-based strategies to support students learning at home while schools are closed. These strategies can be used across many grades and topics, and are easily supported by families so we can all work a bit “smarter not harder.” We have described the strategies below for teachers to incorporate into at-home assignments/packets, or for families looking for additional ways to support their children. The strategies are the following: