Practical suggestions for running an online circle in times of physical distancing

“Online Circles are most effective when they reproduce the function of the talking piece: only one person speaks at a time and there are no interruptions to that speaker. This can be achieved by establishing an order of speaking at the beginning of the Circle that includes every participant in the group. This order is then strictly followed for the duration of the Circle. It is helpful to have
a co-facilitator or assistant to the facilitator who keeps track of the order and can remind participants when their turn arises. If they wish, each participant can have a talking piece that they hold when they speak, and they can share the story of their talking piece the first time they use it. As in physical Circles, it is always okay to pass without speaking or to hold a few moments of silence before passing.” Read full article from Kay Pranis

7 ways to maintain relationships during a school closure

  • Try to say hello frequently if you can
  • how to maintain morning meetings
  • reimagine temperature checks
  • try snail mail pen pals, phone pals or virtual turn and talk
  • create virtual tables
  • consider including parents
  • get kids to name – and process-their emotions Read full article

With the COVID-19 pandemic, focus on student well being by putting compassion ahead of content

“As schools across the country remain closed, students with trauma, difficult home situations, and anxiety need support now more than ever. The abrupt change can trigger stress and fear in students that can leave mental scars.  A framework of safety is critical for students’ brains and can be the first phase of healing for those experiencing trauma. Help students feel safe through the three Cs: communication, consistency, and control. ” Read full article

6 Lessons Learned from Washington state schools about remote learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • “Make sure everyone can log on.
  • Keep parents informed
  • Tap into existing expertise
  • Pursue excellence not perfection
  • Ask students what they think
  • Take e-learning seriously in the long term ” Read full article from Education Week

How to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with restorative responses

“Part of what makes a restorative practice restorative is that it prioritizes an
inclusive process which encourages engagement from all people. As
restorative practitioners, we know that this can be extremely empowering
for all involved. Furthermore, opportunities to share one’s experience and
feel heard is a fundamental starting point in response to this crisis due to
the heightened level of stress that is taxing our nervous systems and
feeding communal anxieties. Feeling heard, feeling a sense of belonging,
feeling connected – these are powerful antidotes to stress and illness! As
restorative practitioners, we have seen that creating this kind of connection
helps us move out of survival mode and into a rest-and-digest mode which
gives us fuller access to creative thinking. It also gives us greater capacity
for building trust and working in collaboration in order to mitigate further
negative impacts and prevent/repair harms to the furthest extent possible. Ames Stenson” Read full article

Social Emotional Learning support for students continues through school closures: stories

“Now that students are spending more time online, educators can guide them in understanding that human connections can be lost or amplified. One person’s opinion voiced online can feel like they have the weight of the entire world behind them. Maurice Elias, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, refers to this phenomena as the “myth of the imagined audience.” But by developing SEL skills, students can learn to restrain from sending potentially harmful messages online, and message receivers can learn to take the message for what it really is: one person’s thought.” Read full article

Restorative practices build connections at a time of pandemic and social distancing

“While the coronavirus is a medical issue, a large part of what we are experiencing is a social crisis. Therefore, the relevance of consciously being relational becomes even more important. As many restorative practitioners understand, restorative thinking and practice isn’t just reserved for the workplace. We take restorative practices wherever we go. Now that so many of us are confined closely with our nuclear families, we can really focus on how to interact with our loved ones using a restorative lens, as we navigate this crisis together.” Read article

Caring adult or frontline hero, here are some good ideas for sustaining professionals in traumatic times

From Kevin Cameron “

To All the Frontline Staff: The Heroes Among Us
Everything contained in this document is about every professional (frontline, support staff, others) and is applicable to staff to staff dynamics as well. There are multiple levels to organizational structure and natural informal leadership roles that form because of seniority and personality. As such, there are untold opportunities for all to make a concerted difference in the performance of our new task to circumvent the greater effects of this pandemic. Therefore, open professionals will be aware of:

a) First principle of crisis response: model calmness.
b) Understand the circularity between micro and macro dynamics.
c) Our bodies have become weaponized.
d) Treat the big things big and the little things little.
e) Make good use of unused human resources.
f) Over-functioners/Under-functioners and Natural leaders.
g) Apologize.
h) Self-Care Strategies in Appendix 1

Read full article

With school closures and many online classes, schools need to focus on connection and contact with students not just attendance

“…whatever we do, we need to make sure teachers are checking in with students virtually — either by computer or by phone,” …. “I think students will even more need to be able to have contact with an adult to support their learning, to ask questions and to feel like it is worth continuing to learn.”Linda Jacobson Read full article

When schools close, the safety and well being of students is affected, particularly those who are homeless

“For children and youth experiencing homelessness, early childhood settings and school may be the only source of food, education, health and mental health services, caring adults, and a safe place to be during the day. When schools and early learning programs close, the health, safety, and well-being of homeless
children and youth are jeopardized. Moreover, children and youth experiencing homelessness are extremely mobile, and stay in situations that make it impossible for them to self-isolate, or to recover should they fall ill. They often lack access to wifi or technology necessary for online learning, or a stable place in
which to learn. ” Read full bulletin