This period of remote instruction offered an opportunity for teachers to implement project-based learning. Tony Siddall, a program officer for Next Generation Learning Challenges, says in many cases traditional approaches to teaching and learning were not adequate for remote instruction, adding that for "kids to even show up for remote learning, the activities have to be a lot more engaging than what often happens in the classroom."
Many teachers in the US suffer from extremely high levels of stress, due to the coronavirus, remote instruction and the focus on racial injustice, among other factors, according to Sheila Ohlsson Walker, senior scientist at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. In this commentary, Walker shares several solutions, including supporting emotional, mental and physical well-being of teachers as well as social-emotional competency training.
School supply lists may look different this fall, according to teachers who say they will need more sanitizing supplies and that students no longer will be able to share materials, such as pencils. Elizabeth Schneider, a fifth-grade special education teacher, said she is stocking up on cleaning supplies and encourages parents to do the same.
A Texas family has self-published a bilingual children's book about wearing masks and to address the worries of students. Dan Heiman and Martha Samaniego Calderon printed "Behind My Mask (Detras de mi Cubrebocas)," to help students -- including their two children who are featured in the book -- explore their emotions and identity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A group of Washington state fifth-graders have been documenting their lives during the coronavirus pandemic for a history project. Teacher Gabrielle Glim says the students became their own primary sources for this historic time of school and work closures, and have shared their experiences through art, poetry, photos, a graphic novel, charts and journals.
California's community colleges are struggling to address a growing food insecurity among students, with 46 having campus food pantries and some offering gift cards to students experiencing homelessness. The state had put $11.4 million in the budget to establish campus food pantries but that money was cut after the coronavirus struck.
A career and technical education college in Pennsylvania, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, is constructing a new diesel technology school. The program is expected to enroll as many as 200 students when it opens next year.
Teachers should start off the school year by having middle- and high-school students fill out a survey of their interests to help steer them to books that will spark their interest in reading, suggests English teacher Chris D'Ippolito. He also recommends establishing a routine, with increasing time set aside for reading as the year progresses, and having students set quarterly reading goals.
Variations between men and women and their college majors can be traced back to early high-school years, with women less likely to go into STEM fields, according to a study from Cornell University. "University-based programs to support students in STEM are worthwhile, but they can't really be expected to reverse all the social and cultural influences on the plans that young men and young women form well before college," Kim Weeden, an author of the study, said.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions stated this week that reopening schools is high on its priority list, but National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci and others expressed concern about recent increases in coronavirus infections, pointing to the spike in new cases seen in some states. Other issues affecting reopening decisions include funding concerns and students' well-being.
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