A new year brings endless opportunities for reassessing and refocusing our energies towards positive thinking and growth mindset. According to a July 2020 Remote Learning Experiences Study, 70% of Teachers reported that they needed continued resources to support remote learning, and 62% of Teachers reported that they needed additional instructional planning time.
The Professional Development Resource Center is here to support your 2021 learning needs and PD goals, and to provide you with resources to enable best practices for instruction and learning in a remote or hybrid learning environment.
Take some time to reflect on last year’s experience.
What parts of remote or digital teaching did you enjoy?
What new and innovative teaching styles did you find successful?
Where do you want to grow in 2021?
Where do you want your staff to grow?
Becoming a Digital Expert
As we start the new year there are a few free technology tools to consider adding to your tool belt.
First up, is Google Keep which allows you to create notes and to-do lists for yourself or to collaborate with a colleague. This a tool you can use yourself or introduce to students to help them stay organized.
Next up, is Mentimeter which allows you to create collaborative word clouds for your students. A word cloud is a great way to kick off a virtual lesson where students can submit words to share feelings, ideas, or takeaways.
Finally, a third tool to try out is Spark Video, a free tool for movie-making. You might make a video to share with students or introduce it to them as a tool they can use to create their own movies to share their learning.
-Monica Burns is a monthly contributor to our Digital Citizenship series and provides leadership professional development and coaching for The Long Island PDRC
Thursdays @ 4PM
Design a Multimedia Project
Maximize your student engagement with innovative learning modalities! Join our Thursday sessions to grow your digital toolkit while crafting multimedia projects for your classroom. You are invited to join individual sessions or join for the Soup to Nuts Multimedia Series!
Many students have expressed feeling overwhelmed, distracted, moody, insecure, or even lonely during virtual learning, but that doesn’t have to be the case for students and teachers alike. Let’s shift our energies to focus on our social-emotional well-being.
Click on the emoji to express how you are feeling today:
Mindful Exercises to Start Practicing Today!
Try 5 mins a day of mindful breathing: Relax your body and your mind as you focus on deep breathing.
Make a list of 3 things you are grateful for, striving for or have accomplished.
Challenge yourself to learn sometime new – whether a new hobby, book or podcast.
Connect with others: the age of social distancing should not equal to loneliness. Let’s hop on a video call, text a friend or even go old-fashioned with paper and pen. Pen pal, anyone!
Put down your Phone: Life doesn’t need to be virtual all the time. Carve out time for you and you alone, without any technological distractions.
Leadership Conversations: Prioritizing Habits
As we look to the new year, we face a fresh beginning with boundless potential. We make promises to ourselves about what we will do differently and how we will be better – both personally and professionally – as we make New Year’s Resolutions and promises to ourselves.
To make resolutions that stick, we need to be able to identify what’s important – in other words, what your priorities are – and we need to find a way to successfully incorporate new habits or ways of behaving into our routines.
Whether we are resolving to make changes in our personal or professional life, consider what James Clear teaches us in Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results.
Following are five suggestions for you to carry into your life, and that you could easily share with teachers, staff and students:
Start with an Incredibly Small Habit: Identify a habit so small and easy, you can’t not do it.
Personal Example: If you want to commit to meditating 20 minutes / day, start with just one minute a day.
Professional Example: If you want to observe 3 teachers / day for 20 minutes each, try visiting 3 teachers for just 5 minutes each.
Increase your habit in very small ways: The author describes the compounding power of 1% – add just 1% / day until you get where you want to within a few months. What happens is your will power and motivation will increase as you gradually extend your time and work it into your routing, which will help make the habit stick.
Break Big Habits Down: By chunking your habits – say, meditating for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening – you make the habit more attainable and easy to absorb in your life. If you know you need to spend an hour a day dedicated to communicating with families via email, rather than checking and responding all day throughout the day or for a dedicated hour in the morning, try breaking it into two 30-minute chunks.
When you slip, get back on track quick: We’ve all experienced this – with exercise, diets, or other habits we’ve tried to start. We slip, and then consciously or not we let the habit fade away. The author reminds us, “Never miss twice.” It is too easy to break a new habit, so keep this phrase handy to keep yourself on track.
Be Patient and Stick to a Pace You Could Sustain: Sustainability is crucial, and progress comes with patience and the consistent practice. But go slow, and probably slower than you think. Add time to your meditation and classroom observations slowly, and be willing to decrease time if where you are headed feels unsustainable. There is no use in developing a habit that is overly burdensome or unrealistic, so be patient with yourself and the habit until it becomes as routine as brushing your teeth.
If 2020 taught us anything it’s that life is unpredictable. Let’s let 2021 be the year not where we can predict and control everything, but where we discover or rediscover our own personal power to make real and meaningful changes in our lives. Happy New Year, everyone!
Mitch Center is a monthly contributor to our Leadership Corner Conversation and provides leadership professional development and coaching for The Long Island PDRC. Check out the Leadership Circle Series on Wednesday mornings by registering at: www.catapultlearning.com/nyspdrc/
This newsletter is presented by Catapult Learning in partnership with the New York State Department of Education.