At Bits & Pieces we understand that our current time of quarantine presents a number of unique challenges for teaching and learning. We now find ourselves in a modality that relies almost entirely on teaching remotely, and for teachers and students alike, you need time, training and support to build your capacity to engage your students in this new normal.
There are many great resources here at Bits & Pieces to help you navigate this place we find ourselves and to help you create powerful learning opportunities for your students.
This page was designed to help you work through the heavy lift of learning new ways to communicate, teach and support your students, all while learning new tools and ways of doing things that were second nature in your classroom, and the result of years of experience and practice. We hope this page will give you a place to start and to revisit as you learn and grow your new remote teaching practice.
This page will be growing right along with you as we add resources, supports and share things we are learning along with you all.
While we are working hard to get you the support, training and guidance you need, we also know (and see) that the biggest and most important work is being done by you and your colleagues, who are pouring everything you have into making sure that your students continue to learn and thrive.
– Your Ed Tech Team
Teaching Resources and Tools
Choosing the right tools and understanding how to use those tools is at the core of teaching in any environment.
Here at The BNP we have a lot of great resources to support you learning about the digital tools available to you from Issaquah School District. Please check out our Guide to the BNP which has lots of great information about the tools we offer.
Read on below to learn about those tools and get ideas how to use them to support remote learning. Then follow the links for more resources on how to use those tools to support powerful teaching and learning experiences for your students.
Remote Learning Strengths: Asynchronous Learning || Create Feedback Cycles || Video Conferencing || Digital Collaboration || Connects with Other Tools
Teams is a learning platform that works inside of Office 365 to help you connect and work with staff and students around documents and files. Within in each team, members can create channels that come with a text based conversation space, a place to load and share files for collaboration. It also has an assignment tool that lets teachers engage students through the distribution and collection of assignments from students. It also provides tools for giving meaningful feedback to students right in the app. Another great piece of the platform is the ability for teachers to meet with students through video conferencing built right into the platform.
Remote Learning Strengths: Asynchronous Learning || Student Engagement|| Parent Communication || Digital Community || Connects with Other Tools
Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that allows students and teachers to easily document learning. Many teachers in our district are already using it with students and families. Issaquah School District pays for Seesaw for Schools, which gives elementary teachers and administrators more tools and coordination than the free version.
We have a lot of other tools that will help you create a rich and engaging learning environment for your students. Please click on the patches below to find more resources about these tools.
Digital Resource Page
Teachers and staff have access to a wide-variety of digital resources to support student learning. These resources vary in purpose, price, quality, and complexity while assisting staff in meeting the needs for differentiation, additional practice, formative assessment, creative expression, communication, and productivity. Staff use of Educational Technology is governed by the Responsible Use Guidelines outlined in District procedure 2022P.
It is important for teachers to be informed of and consider these factors and guidelines when choosing tools and engaging students in digital learning. Check out our Digital Resources Page to help guide you through those choices and inform your choices about teaching remotely.
Introducing Tools to Students and Families
Students and families are struggling as they attempt to facilitate new learning at home. Like you, they may be managing a new work and learn from home environment, loss of income and security, spotty internet connection, limited access to recreational activities, and disappointments.
Where schooling is concerned, all students and families benefit from consistency and ease of access to engage in their learning. Consider identifying one or two tools that will be uniformly used by other teachers in your school.
To alleviate some of the stress be thoughtful when introducing new tools. Go slow, provide guidance on how students should login, start with easy to achieve expectations and grow expectations as students become comfortable with the new communication and learning platform.
The district website has several resources to help students and families access and troubleshoot online accounts. When introducing new tools, review the information on the district website and consider pointing families to these pages. We will continue to add to these pages over the coming weeks.
Contacting Families and Students At Home
Communication with students and families during remote learning is essential. While email and web tools such as Seesaw and Teams can support much of the communication, sometimes a phone call is still needed.
Teachers and staff should be careful calling families and protect their privacy be keeping their personal phone numbers concealed.
Google Voice is a free service that protects your privacy and allows you to make phone calls and text without revealing your phone number. It also keeps a log of all the calls and messages you’ve made in Google Voice.
You will need to create a personal Gmail account and you should not link your personal phone to the account.
You can learn more here.
At the heart of teaching is human connection and live interaction. Live streaming and video conferencing tools can help bridge the gap created by a remote learning environment.
Issaquah School District has the tools you need to support this vital part of creating an engaging and rich learning environment for your students.
Teachers can use Microsoft Teams for video conferencing with students. These interactions take place inside of our domain and afford us more secure and private places to gather to learn.
Though ISD provides and supports Teams for live streaming /video conferencing; if you choose to use Zoom please follow the safety advice in this link to set up your Zoom experience.