Conversation groups allow students to explore vulnerability about their experiences and build trust in one another.

“This school year, many educators face the challenge of building relationships with new students virtually. How can they foster a sense of community without the camaraderie and spontaneity of in-person, classroom interactions? One approach is to make more time for personally meaningful, nonacademic, youth-driven conversations. In my teaching practice, this has taken the form of This Teenage Life, a dialogue and podcasting program cocreated with young people where students talk about issues relevant to their lives, record them, and create a podcast. These conversations can serve as catalysts for storytelling projects and can be used to build trust and a sense of community. Facilitate successful conversation groups by building trust, allowing discussions to grow organically, encouraging participation, and practicing reflection. ” Read article

Using Social Justice to Promote Student Voice: Preteen students can gain confidence in their ability to navigate complex topics by using intersectionality to investigate social issues.

“One of the main issues middle school students share with me is their feeling of isolation and neglect when parents or guardians have in-depth, critical conversations about social issues and don’t include them. They also struggle with not knowing exactly where they stand on issues and not having the language to articulate their thoughts on these matters. Often, young people don’t have spaces in which they can really dig into what they’re thinking, process what they’re hearing, and ask questions to better understand what’s going on.” Read article

Seven deadly sins to avoid on the path to anti-racism

“Canada has a long history of racism: colonization, slavery, the residential school system, the Chinese head tax, the SS Komagata Maru, the Japanese internment and the demolition of Africville. Although Canada became the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy in 1971, Black, Indigenous, and people of colour have continued to face racism from our past to our present. As a nation, we have realized that we cannot live up to our promise of an equitable society if we continue to uphold overt and covert forms of racism. Race scholar Ibram X. Kendi says we are either racist or actively anti-racist, and there is no in-between. The work we are talking about is not just a necessary change, but one that is long overdue. However, even the best of intentions, strategies and plans can fail if they are not cognizant of the pitfalls ahead of them.” Read Article

Practical Advice on Addressing Racial Justice in K-12 Schools: A Q&A with Gloria Ladson-Billings

“This summer’s racial justice protests were historic in scope and many involvedwere organized by young people. The protests and the incident that sparked them (the brutal, filmed killing of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police) shifted public opinion dramatically and brought issues of race to the forefront of public discourse. In addition, evidence has continued to accumulate about racial disparities in COVID-19 contraction, hospitalization and death rates. Regardless of whether schools resume in person or online this fall, issues of race and racial justice will almost certainly be of interest to many students. How, then, should teachers effectively and appropriately address such concerns, especially as they pertain the systemic and historic nature of racial discrimination and stratification in our country? This summer’s protests, after all, were not a sudden and unprecedented occurrence but rather the latest chapter in a long history of discrimination and resistance.” Read article

Taking attendance for online schooling a team effort: an example from Maricopa Unified School District

“All MUSD students must submit a weekly log to the school “for evidence of learning time.” Each student must also either be present for the daily synchronous lessons or submit work for the day on an online platform. “The attendance procedures are working,” said Jennifer Robinson, Ed.D., principal of Maricopa Elementary School. “Taking attendance throughout the day helps us collect real-time data and gives us opportunities to reach out and connect with parents.” Read article

How White Educators Can Approach Antiracist Work:Striving to understand the origins of the concept of race and the effects of implicit biases are good initial steps.

“Although we may not feel adequately trained to become antiracist educators, for me, remaining silent isn’t an option. I believe that, as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi says, we are all “either racist or antiracist; there’s no such thing as ‘not racist.’” Moreover, as painful as it may be to admit, I believe that each and every one of us has deeply held racial biases as a result of growing up in a society that privileges Whiteness. Beth Pandolpho, Edutopia. ” Read article

By establishing routines that address the challenges of online learning, teachers can help students in grades 3 to 8 feel a sense of belonging.

“Creating a strong classroom culture is priority number one during the first weeks of school. This year should not be any different—in fact, creating connections and a sense of belonging has never been more important. And yet, as coronavirus numbers soar, many schools are opting to return at least partly to remote learning in the fall. So, how can we create a positive classroom culture when we can’t even see our students face-to-face?It’s going to take a mixture of adapting the old tried-and-true beginning-of-the-year traditions to digital media and creating whole new practices and activities.Edutopia” Read article

Use Live Class Time to Center Relationships: By delivering content to students working at home, teachers can save live classes for what’s most important—the personal interactions that solidify learning.

“Think back to your own experiences as an elementary, middle, or high school student. What made going to school meaningful?For both of us, that answer is simple: It was the human connections we made. Yes, we liked learning new things—but, more often than not, our enjoyment came from the support we received from caring teachers and the satisfaction of discovering new ideas with friends.” Read article

Online classes make some kids anxious, but building relationships with them can go a long way toward helping them feel secure.

  • Connect with reluctant remote learners STEP by STEP:

Measuring Daily Attendance and Participation During COVID-19 – An Invaluable Tool for Reducing Educational Inequity

“Until new research examining absenteeism in blended or distance learning settings can be conducted, we advise continuing to monitor which and how many students miss 10% or more of “learning opportunities.” A learning opportunity is an instructional or learning activity that takes place in person or during synchronous or asynchronous distance learning. Attendance should be taken for each learning opportunity and absence rates calculated by dividing the total number of missed learning opportunities by the total number of learning opportunities offered. ” Attendance Works

For example, in one week of school, a student has the opportunity to participate in twenty learning opportunities: ten synchronous distance learning sessions, six in-person sessions, and the submission of four asynchronous assignments. Missing three of these would mean missing fifteen percent. This is similar to tracking secondary school period attendance in many districts. Read Article