Coronavirus Support: Teaching Resources for K-8 Online Learning
What a challenging and confusing time this is. All of us are juggling the demands of taking care of our families, our students, and ourselves. We’re worried about what’s happening hour-to-hour while trying to remain positive and optimistic when we’re with the young people within our care. Rather than create a traditional entry for this week, we decided to curate some of the amazing resources that schools, libraries, companies, and organizations have been making available during this time of crisis.
All of us need to remember to breathe in, breathe out, and realize that all we can do is the best that we can right now. This video of residents on a street in Sienna, Italy singing out their windows during the nationwide coronavirus quarantine may warm your spirits and quiet your nerves. Or, perhaps, Wendell Berry’s reading of his poem “The Peace of Wild Things.”
Moving learning online for elementary and middle school students is challenging, particularly when you don’t know what access students have to books, technology, and high-speed internet at home. What might this learning look like? This story from The New York Times, “Remote Learning Comes to America as Coronavirus Shuts Schools” may be a useful starting point. Clearly, every district faces different challenges when it comes to guiding their students through online learning. To that end, technology educators Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris have put together a “What You Can Do Today” message for principals and superintendents.
Below you will find a range of resources arranged by different, and sometimes overlapping, categories. As the resources change, and as new ones get added, we will strive to update this site.
To start, you’ll want to look at the “Mini-Clearinghouse on Coronavirus Created by Two School Librarians,” featured on the SLJ site this week. Here you’ll find lots of valuable resources about the virus and how to take precautions as well as a curated list of various online resources that can help you craft teaching ideas for your students. We think NPR’s “Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus” can be particularly useful for sharing accurate information with your students. Upper elementary through high school educators may find the “Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically” from The New York Times useful. The page, which will be updated regularly, offers links to regular features such as the daily “What’s Going On in this Picture?” and “What’s Going On in this Graph?” to coronavirus-specific teaching and learning resources.
Harvard University has guidelines for effective online teaching that may be helpful for those of you teaching at the middle level and up. It’s important to note the difference between an online course that is designed as such, and teaching remotely during an emergency. They aren’t the same thing! Whether you teach elementary, middle, high school, or undergraduate or graduate students, you can’t put together perfectly polished online learning experiences in such a short period of time. You’re teaching remotely and at the last minute. You can also find support and resources (including e-book access) for remote learning at Gale/Cengage’s Hub for COVID-19 Support.
PreK-12 educators may find this curated Google doc of open-access K-12 resources from the “Amazing Resources” Facebook community invaluable for your planning. This Travel and Leisure site links museums around the globe that offer Virtual Museum Tours. Some companies normally behind a paywall, such as BrainPOP, are now making their content free for the duration of closures due to coronavirus. For those of you who teach prospective or inservice teachers or school librarians, Daniel Stanford of DePaul University created a curated Google doc of tips and resources for teaching remotely from universities all over the country.
General Literacy Resources
A Month of Literacy Learning. Scholastic has put together an online “Remote Learning Resources Center.” To use it, first create a free account (they share the username and password info). Once in the site, select the gradespan. You will then find twenty days of literacy and content area learning experiences. Each day’s lesson consists of a book video, a magazine story, a supporting informational video, and a set of activities. As of this publication, five days of lessons are available, with fifteen more forthcoming.
English Language Learners. For those of you who teach students who speak a range of languages, the International Children’s Digital Library, created and curated by folks at the University of Maryland, could be an essential source of reading material in students’ first language. At this point in time, the Library apps for iPhone and iPad do not seem to be available. Those of you who are working with LatinX populations may find the Colorin Colorado site useful.
General Link to Books Lists and Blogs. On their website “Teaching with Trade Books,” Mary Ann and Erika have curated a list of resources in children’s, middle grade, and young adult literature that may be useful to you and the families with whom you work.
Remote Literacy Learning Suggestions from the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Team. A collection of considerations, suggestions, and links.
Online Library Sources for EBooks and AudioBooks
OverDrive. You will create an account and link it with your library card for your local public library. You will be able to access ebooks and audiobooks.
Hoopla. You will create an account and link it with your library card for your local public library. You will be able to access ebooks, audiobooks, and videos.
Axis360. You will create an account and link it with your library card for your local public library. You will be able to access ebooks and audiobooks.
Epic! Books. A digital library, free to educators. Epic! is currently offering free at home access with teacher set-up. No credit card information is currently required to access their materials from home.
Mackin eBooks. Free access for remote learning. Registration required.
Kate Messner. Author Kate Messner is curating a online collection of author video interviews, read-alouds and writing lessons. This is a not to be missed resource!
Reading Rockets This literacy learning site has a dedicated section for “Children’s Books and Authors” which includes video interviews, booklists, and many other resources.
Kids Ask Authors Podcast with Grace Lin – Have your students submit book reviews and questions to the Kids Ask Authors Podcast series. The series is in development, and so submitting questions and reviews now helps to build the first year of the series.
Authors Everywhere You Tube Channel – This new channel is adding videos, several of which are also posted on Kate Messner’s site.
Deschutes Public Library – A listing of authors and illustrator offering online book events. The list is growing!
The Big List of Children’s Book Writers Doing Online Read Aloud & Activities. This listing compiled by We Are Teachers is organized by grade levels.
TeachingBooks.Net – This is a subscription service, so you will need to check to see whether your school or public library provides you access. It is a curated collection of resources that include lesson plans, author/illustrator interviews, audio read alouds and videos. The site is currently offering a free two week trial.
Storyline Online – Watch celebrities read aloud popular picture books of various genres.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Join author-illustrator Mo Willems each weekday at 1 pm EST for daily lunchtime doodle lessons!
Kit Lit TV – Videos and podcasts featuring a range of diverse books being shared by authors and illustrators.
We Are Teachers – A “big list” of children’s authors providing online read-alouds and activities.
Caregiver Math Resources from Lesley University’s Center for Mathematics Achievement and Kentucky Center for Mathematics – This Google doc will take you to grade-by-grade curated resources for supporting elementary mathematics instruction.
About Erika Thulin Dawes
Erika is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy supervisor, she now teaches courses in children’s literature, early literacy, and literacy methods. Erika is the co-author of Learning to Write with Purpose, Teaching with Text Sets, and Teaching to Complexity.
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