(If you'd like to skip straight to the resources rather than reading my thoughtful commentary... it's okay. I get it. Scroll until you see movie stills from Spaceballs. If you don't know Spaceballs, well, it's like a normal day in my undergrad class where my jokes and movie references fall flat. Carry on, and scroll until you see a bunch of links.
A few weeks ago, I sat at this same computer and wrote a commentary to my undergraduate teacher education students, in which I cheekily berated my partner for upsetting my 14 and 10 year old about the Corona virus, then settling down with beer jokes and watching Back to the Future while I was left to calm the children, going over realistic fears, reasonable (I thought) expectations, handwashing procedures (that they were always supposed to do, ahem), and taking them to the CDC website (not as informative in my opinion, by the way, I much prefer the WHO website, nowadays, but I didn't have much of an opinion "back then"). That was only a month ago. Not even a month! Last night, several counties in California received a shelter in place directive.
But we're here now.
We've all seen them. The social distancing graphs. The importance of flattening the curve. Or my favorite, cattening the curve.
And, the total assessment nerd that I am, I even got to use the "flatten the curve" lesson in my Assessment and Gifted Education classes, tying it to to lessons about assessment and podcasts like this awesome RadioLab about the Miseducation of Larry P.
Yes, my students love me, why do you ask? Okay, maybe love is strong.
But, what it's been quite a journey. From have a great spring break to "don't come back". Our students are confused, anxious, overwhelmed, concerned. And that's on top of what they were already dealing with as college students. I know, college students are "technically" adults. But really, they're still developing, in so many ways. Paul Brown can take you through the highlights (below) with a visual representation using the subway system as an analogy.
The graphic below is the Social Cognitive Career Theory- it's a one-shot picture, just to get an idea of what a hot mess of emotions the typical college kiddo is! Ellis & Chen used this model with diverse populations, including a study of the perceptions of college students categorized as undocumented immigrants.
Why is all of this important? It gets back a central belief in education. I call it the Maslow before Bloom principle, but Carla Shalaby in Troublemakers, simply calls it "Be Love", which I like as well. Take care of basic needs, comfort, security, stability, safety, connection... Mental and physical health matter. Universities around the country, and many K-12 schools as well, have been called upon to transition to online classes (though at my university, we were luckily provided an extra week of spring break- I think to help the faculty transition and to give the students a week to decompress, and I greatly appreciate it. I know of one K-12 district that was given ONE staff development day to prep!) We have to recognize as we plan our courses and instruction online, that while our universities are leading the charge that "high quality instruction will continue as always" our first priority needs to be the safety and security of our students. Oh, and by the way, many of us have OUR kids at home with us too!
I've been on social media a lot lately. Social media and social distancing are very different. It's allowed! I know, I should be grading. I should be writing. I should... And I am, I promise.
This twitter post gave me some insight into my lack of ability to focus:
And I've been so heart-full to see posts from:
-author Bettina Love, about picking up groceries for neighbors.
-our local elementary school filling 5 cars of food to feed children while the schools are closed for two -weeks.
-activist/organization Clear the Air asking "how can we support you?"
-teachers/specialists posting their areas of specialty online with "copy and repost" so everyone knows who to contact if they need help with their little ones' work at home.
Mr. Rogers, oh Mr. Rogers, there for us in the time of crisis. I see you. And I see the helpers.
And then I saw a post from my first (and only) student teacher from (cough) a few years ago (cough cough) maybe 15? It started with the copy/repost of the standard teacher message. But then it continued:
However, if things get worse, you will be stressed and so will your kids. Arguing with them to sit down and do the packets that have been assigned isn’t good for anyone. Don’t stress about them, do some when you can or don’t.....just spend time together. Cuddle up together and read, do a puzzle, build a fort, cook something, paint, look at pictures or just talk to them.
Though it is a scary time, it could very well be a time they remember as the best time of their life having you around a little more than usual! ❤️
Mary T., how I love you. You rock.
And so instead of copying and reposting the standard message, I copied and reposted hers.
It's kinda like I tweeted the other day:
My course messaging to my students is mental/physical health and family first. We’ll take care of the academics... And that was before COVID 19! Now I’m all “take only what you need to survive” from my syllabus. Only what’s essential makes it.
Movie Stills — Spaceballs ©1987 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
So, back to the original point of this post (there was one, I promise!)
The helpers near and far have been posting resources. I have not verified these personally, I am only gathering what I have seen shared on "The Twitter" and "The Facebook". These are national resources as far as I know, and they are reported to be free, however I have not checked them all, and I don't know whether they are limited to K-12 or include IHE. I've emailed these out to people and shared with group. As people email me back with additional Resources, I will add to this list. I am not the originator of most of these resources. As I've added, I've started to put them in some semblance of an order/categorization, but other than that, they're just in the order of how I've seen them. If you find anything on the list that isn't accurate, please let me know and I'll add a note.
Personal note for parents:
I know, I said I was done blogging. Sorry about that. Here's the deal. You're not a homeschooler (except maybe if you are, ha!) That's not your role right now. You're holding things together, chances are, while also working form home. Give yourself and your kiddos a break. You don't need. tocraft expert lessons. These resources are primarily for teachers whose job it is to transition to online learning. Yes, you can use them, for sure, have a ball! But don't sweat it. Enjoy your kiddos. Read a book, play with legos, and take care of their hearts. The top list of resources is a "hands off" for parents list- kind of a "I need a break before I tear out my hair, sit and watch/do this thing". We've all been there. As parents, as teachers (I love drop everything and read time. Sometimes twice a day). I'm not saying you can't work on lessons if that's your goal- you do you :) Follow that arrow where ever it leads. But please, don't feel like you need to. Chances are (best guess on my part), if schools close it will be for online instruction, not fully shuttered. Teachers will be planning instruction, you'll just need to support and facilitate at home. If you are trying to play lessons, you might want to plan small- for every 30 minutes of lesson, plan at least 15 minutes of play/choice/free time. Or for an hour of lesson (older kids), 30 minutes of play/choice.
Things for Kids to Do (Parents, you get a break)
Start Your Day with a Story! Rachael Harrington, Professional Storyteller, Livestreaming stories at 9:15am https://www.facebook.com/rachael.harrington.9 or on her website: https://www.rachaelharrington.com/
Homeschool Hideout: 150 Educational Shows on Netflix
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, 1pm ET LIVE, on the Kennedy Center site (note: there was a waitlist the first day but it was pretty quick)
Harry the Dirty Dog, written by Gene Zion, read by Betty White. Because Why Not? (many more videos on youtube!)
Texas Association for the Gifted: G/T Resources for School Closures
Online Resources & Ideas For Families Unexpectedly Homeschooling from Tilt Parenting
You can catch Soledad O'Brien's new documentary HUNGRY TO LEARN on campus food insecurity, live-streamed to your home on Saturday March 28 at 2:30 (paid event, 16.733 with service fee)!
Join Playbill March 20 (article) for a Movie Night With Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella Starring Lesley Ann Warren
Teacher How-to: a six-week online course beginning March 22 on antiracist and liberatory pedagogy (sliding payscale with scholarship opportunities) Liberate and Chill
Indigenous educators volunteer to teach short K-8 lessons online amid school closures (article)
A List Of Live Virtual Concerts To Watch During The Coronavirus Shutdown NPR Music is compiling a list of live audio and video streams from around the world, categorized by date and genre.
Gifted Pathways Blog:Low Prep (and Teacher Approved) Activities You can Do with Your Children
Guided Inquiry: Virtual Inquiry into Corona Virus
Virtual Reality Organic Chemistry Experiences, Dept of Chemistry, North Carolina State University
Data Nuggets, Free activities designed by scientists and teachers
Outschool is a *paid* resource that you can join (membership is free) and sign up for classes. Example: Harry Potter Themed Chemistry
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) science activities to do at home (article with short descriptions and links)
Breezy Special Ed Distance/Home Learning Packets and Strategies for Special Education
Extended Closure Sites for Students (High School) from Mrs. G's Class Instagram
Free eBook Download: Thinking Skills Activities from Prufrock Press
Free Resource Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times, from UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Autism Team (Amazing!!)
Kiss of Death: Online Teaching Resources (teaching COVID-19)
Varsity Tutors: This organization saw this blog and reached out to me to let me know about what they offered: Virtual School Day: Over 100 free live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are "Intro to Spanish for Kids", “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. As well as Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps will be a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive classes will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors' platform. We already have 200 camps scheduled for the summer.
Britannica Digital Learning: Free, emergency support and Virtual-Learning Classroom Resources
Dr. Mikkaka's Blog, Resources for Children at Home
Teacher your Monster to Read (computer version is free)
Actively Learn, free for the remainder of the year
NASA Makes their Entire Media Library Publicly Accessible and Copyright Free
IF school is cancelled and a student does not have internet, Spectrum is offering free service to those students. Please have them call 1-844-488-8398. (Note: I've been warned that this comes with provisos, and limitations: read the fine print!)
Comcast offering free hot spots (article)
Curated Educational Resources during COVID-19 on Gifted Pathways Blog
From Newsela: we are making Newsela’s entire product suite available to all teachers, free of charge, through the end of the school year. Visit our COVID-19 resource center, click “Get instant access”
From Brian Housand: "Just in Time" Newsletter with 20 Free Content Resources and SEM-Tech Templates
Social Studies Weekly is temporarily open to all
Loom.com is free for education as a COVID-19 response
Kentucky Associate for the Gifted (KAGE) Virtual Gifted Resources
MyEd Expert: Engaging Resources for Remote Learning
Reading and Learning can Happen Anywhere- Kate Messner's site: Read, Wonder and Learn
Trauma Informed Resilient Schools (This training is regularly $199, but it is currently being offered for FREE with code: TRAUMAINFORMED due to this time of uncertainty.)
CEC is opening its doors to the special education community in need of resources. Nonmembers of CEC can receive a free basic membership from now through May 31 by using the promotional code "CECED60". This will give you access to all of our journal articles, member discounts on publications and events, and our online membership community where you can ask questions and receive support from special educators, administrators and support personnel. Join Now!
Teaching Through Coronavirus: What Educators Need Right Now from Teaching Tolerance
Smithsonian Distance Learning Lab Resources
COVID-19: Higher Education Response Center
Navigating Uncertain Times: How Schools Can Cope With Coronavirus
Renzulli Learning is providing free usage that will allow teachers to make enrichment activities available to students at home during this terrible crisis the has closed most schools here in the U.S. and abroad. For information about how to access the program please visit this link.
Open Access from JSTOR (article)
At Home with Kwame Alexander: Free Writing, Reading, and Learning Resources for Students (and Their Teachers)!