What can we do to help slow down the slide? What can educators do in the fall to help fix the Covid-19 slide? I suggest, Blended Learning as "A Fix To Covid-19 Slide" Continue reading to learn more about how to "Slow and Fix the Learning Slide"
What can we do NOW to slow the slide?
According to the NWEA Report, Math tends to have a more substantial decrease in retention of information during the summer months. As the students progress to the higher grade levels, the math skills decrease. Reading is still essential, and educators should also focus on reading skills now and in the fall. In some of the data reports, the prediction for information loss will be almost a full academic years worth of growth. We need to device a plan on how to slow the slide and to customize a new educational program for the fall.
Training the Teachers
With schools closing early for the 2019/20 school, now is the time to take a deeper dive into the "New Normal" for education. Blended Learning will become part of the education process for the fall of 2020.According to the USAToday.com Report, students will either start the school year with at-home learning, participate in some type of A/B schedule, or have flexible learning schedules.
Explore some of our Virtual Workshops for Schools as well as for Individual Educators looking to learn more about Blended Learning and EdTech Tools.
Slow the Learning Loss Slide
Over the years, I have suggested adaptive digital content tools that will help reteach concepts to the students during a blended learning classroom. For those students that have internet access, using one of these FREE online programs could help to slow learning slide down.
Math Online Adaptive Programs
Freckle.com is an adaptive math program for Kindergarten through 8th grade. The students will sign up for the class with the provided code from the teacher. Next, the students will need to take an online adaptive test for all five math concepts. After the students finish the level set quizzes, they will start to move through each math concept at their current math level. Note that each math problem can be read out loud to the students. If the student misses a question, a video will pop up, showing how to solve the problem. Data reports show the educator the current math level, what areas that still need more work, as well as the number of minutes each student worked through Freckle.com.
Prodigygame.com is an adaptive math program. The program adjusts the learning level of the student based on the pre-assessment test. The students learn about new concepts, a practice previously learned content, and compete against other math students in the arena. Students love this program. Teachers love the data reports from Prodigy. The reports are easy to read, and the teacher can supplement the missing information with additional mini-lessons. is a math adaptive program. The program is set to adjust the learning level of the student based on the pre-assessment test. The students learn about new concepts, practice previous learned content, and play compete against other math students in the arena. Students love this program. Teachers love the data reports from Prodigy. The reports are easy to read and the teacher can supplement the missing information with additional mini-lessons.
Khan Academy allows the students to test out of math concepts. For example, if a student can master the math concept during the pre-assessment, the program will skill the lesson tutorials, which in return will allow the students to move through math concepts faster or slower depending on their depth of knowledge. The data reports will showcase the mastered ideas, the struggling concepts, as well as the skills that the students have practice. Watch this series of videos by Kahn that demonstrate how to read the individual reports.
Mathigon.com is one of my new favorite high school math programs. The program is not adaptive, but it brings math to life with interactive activities for each chapter. The data reports provide an outlook of what the students have completed, where they might be struggling, and lesson planning suggestions for the teachers. Remember, we are not replacing the teacher; we are providing learning opportunities to help slow the slide of education until next fall.
Fixing the Slide in the Fall
There are a lot of suggestions out there for how to fix the Learning Loss Slide in the Fall. One idea would be to have the teacher loop with the students to the next grade level. This might sound like a good plan, but believe it or not, it will add more stress to the teacher. The teacher will have to learn the following grade-level content and reteach the concepts from the previous year. That is a lot of extra prep for the teachers. I have come up with Three Ways to Fix the Slide of the Learning Loss through the deployment of Blended Learning.
1. Block Schedule
Over the years, I have worked with blended learning schools that have adjusted the regular schedule to accommodate for longer lengths of learning periods called Block Scheduling.
Template One: A and B Days and Regular Schedule on Friday
Template Two: Wednesday and Thursday Block Days
(Read more about the different types of Block Scheduling)
A Block Class could be broken up into two parts. Part One, would cover new content in order to stay up with the current pacing guide for education. Part Two of the block would allow for differentiation of content or reteaching of concepts that were part of the Covid-19 Learning Loss.
2. Extra Support
Adding in support teachers or incorporating two educators into each blended learning class could help with the Covid-19 Learning Loss. Teacher A provides small group instruction to the students based on the current pacing guide suggested by the school district. Teacher B provides small group reteaching based on the missing concepts. Both teachers would be in the same classroom. The students would travel to both mini-lessons, independent practice, digital content, and future-ready skills throughout the class period. By having two educators in the classroom, the students will be able to relearn the missing concepts and get back on pace within a school year.
3. Fluid Learning
Another way to accommodate for the Covid-19 Learning Loss might include Fluid Learning. Think of setting up the school day in two parts. The first part of the day would be a Personalized Learning approach where the students would fluidly move from lesson to lesson based on their academic growth. Stay with me here. The students would enter the school and go to their homeroom. During the homeroom time, the students will review their new schedule for the first part of the day. The student would visit the teacher(s) that are teaching the critical concept for Math and Reading based on their learning plan. After the first 90 minutes of the day, the students would return to the homeroom and continue with the regular blended learning day.
The Covid-19 Learning Slide
There is no doubt that there will be a learning slide from Covid-19. To prevent too much loss, starting now with the implementation of adaptive learning programs, and preparing for learning in a blended learning fashion, we can fix the learning slide.
Learn More About Blended Learning
It is hard to believe that Ohio, Texas, California, Indiana and so many other States have closed school for the remainder of the school year. Wow, this is seems impossible. However, with the use of online resources, educators are still able to deliver content to the students.
"The Covid19 pandemic has permanentally changed the way will education will be delivered forever." - Forbes
For the last thirteen years, I have traveled around the country, teaching educators how to deploy blended learning into the classroom through the Three Phases of Blended Learning. My workshops typically start with the "Why" of Blended Learning. Now, my presentations will begin with the "Why" and how we must move to some form of Blended Learning to make sure that all students are safe, healthy, and the ability to continue to learn regardless of the phyiscal location.
Why Blended Learning?
Mini-Lessons are an essential part of any Blended Learning plan. A mini-lesson is a small group instruction time where the teacher can break down the fundamental concepts of the lesson, reteach the ideas, and differentiate the concepts based on the level of the student. The mini-lesson also provides time for the teacher to get to know the students and to build an academic relationship. Relationship-building has been proven to help students work on their own while the teacher is working with another mini-lesson. In the new blending learning environment, it is essential to build those academic relationships with students so that the students stay motivated to complete the work, and the teacher has a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of every student in the classroom.
Think of digital content as the second teacher in the classroom. While the teacher is providing small group instruction, the digital content is reteaching, providing adaptive practice, or teaching the SAME concepts to the students. The students can move through the digital content at their own pace, which allows them to slow down, take notes, and understand the concepts more clearly. Examples of digital can include the following resources.
Teacher generated videos
Actively Learn (if teaching videos are added to the articles)
Blended Learning provides student ownership of learning. When the teacher offers a checklist of learning items to complete and mirrors the expectations on a Learning Management System, then the students can work through the content at his own pace, place, and path. Pace means the students can work as fast or slow as needed to master the concepts. Place provides the opportunity of learning to happen online, offline, or in small groups. The path allows the students to pick which learning task to complete first, second, third, and so on until all of the learning studios are complete.
Blended Learning allows for small group instruction through the mini-lesson. The mini-lessons start to become differentiated with the use of data collected by formative assessments and from the digital content. With the data, the teacher can assign learning studios, projects, and independent practice based on the skill level of the individual students.
Why Blended Learning? Student Engagement. Throughout all of the blended learning environments, students have higher levels of engagement because they can work at their own pace, place, and path, which means that the students don't have to wait for everyone to turn to page 45 to begin learning about a concept. With the inclusion of hands-on learning activities, the students can demonstrate their understanding of a skill by creating, collaborating, communicating, and using critical thinking skills.
In a blended learning environment, the students have a choice in the different activities either through choice boards, random choice wheels or by process of elimination. Blended Learning checklist can offer the students the ability to pick how they would like to showcase their understanding of a skill or what activity to complete that best fits their learning style.
Why Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is not going to replace the teacher. Blended learning allows the teacher to meet with small groups of students to reteach or teach a concept. Students that are not working with the teacher can learn at their own pace, place, and path. Blended Learning allows for learning to continue even if a students is not in the same physical location as the teacher. And most important, blended learning can help to keep everyone safe and healthy during any pandemic.
Learn More About Blended Learning
Before Ohio shut down the schools on March 16th, I was able to spend quality time with my two adorable twin nieces, Maysen and Alexis Jahnke. Maysen and Alexis are Freshman at Chardon High School, and like many students, they love everything about school. They were on the flag team, debate team, track, lacrosse, and much more. School is not only a place to learn but also a place to socialize, interact, and be around people their age.
When they found out that school was going to be closed, they went through a rollercoaster of emotions. At first, Maysen and Alexis were excited and treated the first week off of school like one big giant snow day. Late-night FaceTime with friends, TicTok video creations, some homework, but mostly enjoying sleeping in. The second week came around, and they were seriously missing all of their friends, teachers, sports, and a routine. Week three is coming to an end, and the girls are now adjusting to the new normal of completing schoolwork at home, dealing with their brother, Thomas, all day, and their mom and dad requesting quiet hours so they can conduct work Zoom meetings.
The New Normal
The new normal and staying connected with students is extremely important. Humans are social beings. We live in communities, gather together, share common passions, and thrive in learning from each other. As educators, we need to make sure that we are still connecting in some way with our students. I have generated a list of five ways to connect with students during the time of quarantine. I challenge you to try one this week to see if you can connect with your students or staff members.
Five Ways To Connect With Students
Zoom.us is a fantastic tool to conduct virtual social gathers while being in quarantine. Zoom is a free online program and is easy to use with student, parents, and family members. Watch the quick video on how to get started with Zoom.
Set up a FREE Flipgrid.com account and send out simple but fun prompts to the students via Google Classroom or email. The students will love making the videos as well as seeing their classmates videos. Creating and sharing videos is an asynchronous event so the students can complete and watch when their schedule allows.
3. Google Slides
Think about using Google Slides as a show and tell activity. Use the Google Slide template or make your own template. Share out the link to the students. Make sure the setting are set up so that way everyone can edit. Note: you may want to set up the slides with numbers and ask the students to use their school magic number for their slides. Watch the video below as well as click on they image to get your free copy of the Google Get To Know Me from Quarantine.
Create a private classroom backchannel for the student to talk, share, post, and comment to each other with www.yoteachapp.com. Watch the quick video on how to set up your backchannel as well as how to share out yoteachapp.com to the students.
5. Send a Post Card
For those students that might not have internet connection, think about sending a letter or a postcard to the students. Write a quick little message about how things are going with you at home with the kids, pets, and family. Then ask how they are doing and that you would love to hear back from them. If you would like, send a pre stamped envelope with your address along with your letter so that way the kids can write you back. Try it! See if you can get all of your students to respond to you through the US Mail.
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning coach that designed the Three Phases of Blended Learning