#54 – Leveraging What We Have Learned This Past School Year to Reimagine Education Moving Forward

Unpacking Education August 25, 2021 28 min

As we start to return to full-time, in-person teaching, we wanted to take a moment to process the experiences of COVID on us and our students. We have begun to hear conversations centered around the question, “What are your takeaways from pandemic teaching and learning?” This inquiry assumes that everyone has had the opportunity to reflect on their experiences, which may not be the case during the flurry of activity that accompanies the end of the school year.

In this episode, we are joined by a special guest, Danielle Reyes, who will share her reflections on the past year and her recommendations on the best practices from remote teaching that she will incorporate in her face-to-face classroom. We will also model a reflection protocol that you can use with your students and staff to unpack their input.

Danielle Reyes, an AVID alum, is approaching her eighth year as an 8th grade language arts, social studies, and AVID Elective teacher. Danielle has her Master’s in Digital Teaching and Learning and is a Google Certified Trainer. In 2015, Danielle won the AVID Teacher Advocacy Award and was one of five teachers awarded $10,000 from an anonymous donor. She used her award to purchase a set of Chromebooks so that the AVID Elective students at her school could be 1:1. In 2018, Danielle was awarded Teacher of the Year.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.

C. JoyBell C., author of The Sun Is Snowing: Poetry and Prose

Protocols for Processing Our Experiences

In this episode, Danielle and the team are modeling the P-Q-P (Praise, Question, Polish) protocol highlighted in the article, 5 Reflection Protocols to Cement Learning and Iterate Innovations, from the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS). This protocol allows us to spotlight what has gone well, which can get overlooked during retrospectives. In addition, even if something has gone well, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be further improved. The questions posed during this episode are meant to help us dig deeper and think about polishing future iterations of our teaching best practices. We explore three areas in particular: engagement, assessment, and relationships in our classrooms.

Our essential question today: What aspects of remote teaching will you continue to incorporate in your face-to-face teaching best practices? Danielle and the team share their recommendations, along with the following strategies to engage students and staff in the coming academic year.

  • Relationships Before Rigor: Use polling tools and student surveys as daily and weekly check-ins with students. These tools and surveys can ask students what they want to learn and how they want to learn, as well as how you are doing as their teacher, which will provide powerful feedback to inform your practice.
  • Equity of Voice: Videoconferencing limits voice to one student at a time. Use Padlet (Tips) to capture all voices in the room in an equitable manner. Engage students with a Thought–Jot activity. Then, have the whole class brainstorm together on the padlet. This engages all students, recognizing that they each bring different skill sets to their learning process and supporting them in their areas of strength.
  • Consistent Use of One Platform: Work with teachers and school staff to align the work on one platform so that communication to families, school-wide or class announcements, and student resources are located on a single platform—a one-stop shop for students, families, and staff.
  • Give One and Get Many: Visit this padlet and share a copy with your teaching team to explore the learning opportunities that have surfaced during the course of this past year for teachers and school staff.
  • Note to Self: Here’s a processing activity for teachers and students:
    • Connect: What can you connect this learning to?
    • Extend: Where do you want to grow?
    • Challenge: What is challenging your thinking? What is making this hard?