Continuous Learning Framework 2020

 

Purpose

The Continuous Learning Task Force’s primary goal was to develop guidance for Kansas educators to meet the immediate need of supporting learning outside of our normal practices. The team intentionally adopted the word “Continuous” as a means to bring clarity and focus to the experience of our teachers, students and families as we finish the 2019-­2020 school year. Avoiding terms like “distance learning” or “virtual learning” helps our school leaders to think globally and progressively about how to best meet the learning needs of all learners. One common refrain throughout this team’s short time working together has been a message of inclusiveness and equity. The guidance and resource documents from the team will reflect these priorities.


Establishing a System for Continuous Learning

Establish a local philosophy and approach for Continuous Learning.

Sample: Although the campus is temporarily closed, “school” continues as we engage students with experiences that continue the planned learning program and help them to stay connected with teachers and classmates. These learning experiences offer authentic opportunities to focus on key concepts, knowledge, and skills. They emphasize interaction and creativity and involve a balance of on-screen and off-screen tasks that help connect to previous learning and the current curriculum.


General Recommendations for Consistency:

  1. Identify essential outcomes/needs/competencies in content areas at a district level.
  2. Cross­curricular planning to assist in the students’ ability to manage work and new responsibilities at home.
  3. Create projects/choice boards that give students and families flexibility to complete the work and tap interest/motivation.
  4. Common platforms (suggested or already in use) across a district to alleviate any confusion for parents/ students whether students are completing work online or traditionally.
  5. All districts, buildings, and grade levels need to include non­technology based options.
  6. Single­-delivery method consistency in expectations, timelines, and communication from the district to teachers, parents, and students.
  7. Consider ways to focus on relationships and connections, not just content.


Recommended Time Guidelines for Student Learning Based on Age:

EARLY CHILDHOOD


PRE-K

Daily Learning Time: 30 minutes of direct instruction

Daily Learning time can include:

  • 5­-minute increments
  • hands­-on activities between instruction
    • imaginative play
    • creative arts
    • music and movement
    • outdoor exploration
    • exercise
    • fine/gross motor activities


Sample Schedule

  • 5 minutes: Daily Routines/Traditions (review daily schedule, engage in connection activities, review the calendar/date, etc. -­ teachers can provide ideas that overlap with familiar school routines)
  • 5 minutes: Story Time (video from teacher or read to by caregiver)
  • 5 minutes: Brain Break (music and movement ­ ideas provided by teacher)
  • 5 minutes: Introduce new content (video from teacher or instructed by caregiver)
  • 10 minutes: Hands-­on activity related to content or story (activities provided by teacher)


Extra Suggestions for Extending Learning

  • 30-­60 minutes of outdoor play
  • 10­-20 minutes of reading with family (books of their choice)
  • 90+ minutes of imaginative play


ELEMENTARY


K-1

Daily Learning Time: 5­-10 minute time spans, a total of 45 minutes

Daily learning time can include:

  • Reading
  • Online work
  • Handouts or other learning activities
  • P.E., art, music, etc.
  • Social­-Emotional Learning


2-3

Daily Learning Time: 10-15 minute time spans, a total of 60 minutes

Daily learning time can include:

  • Reading
  • Online work
  • Handouts or other learning activities
  • P.E., art, music, etc.
  • Social-Emotional Learning


4-5

Daily Learning Time: 20 minute time spans, a total of 90 minutes

Daily learning time can include:

  • Reading
  • Online work
  • Handouts or other learning activities
  • P.E., art, music, etc.
  • Social-Emotional Learning


SECONDARY


MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

Daily Learning Time: 3 total hours a day for all classes

  • Recommend time:
    • 30 minutes for each class ­ middle school
    • 30 minutes for each class ­ high school
    • After 15 minutes, strongly recommend students get up to move.


Daily learning time can include:

  • Reading and reflection
  • Writing
  • Recorded lectures
  • Handouts or packet work
  • Discussion boards
  • Online resources
  • Content­based activities


SPECIALS


VISUAL ARTS, MUSIC, PE, HEALTH, LANGUAGES, ETC

The time allotted for special/electives will vary greatly by school district and level. Suggested time frames for specials should be considered part of the total continuous learning load for all classes. Consideration should be given for the fraction of the school day/year this class might normally represent. Encouraging daily student physical activity will be critical, while also providing opportunities for meaningful activities in other electives/specials. Students are accustomed to daily, structured movement (such as Physical Education) as well as unstructured movement (such as recess).

 

Student Support

General Recommendations for all populations

  1. Establish office hours: Teacher availability/ check­ins
  2. Use common platforms (suggested or already in use) across a district to alleviate any confusion for parents and students.
  3. Determine whether students are completing work online or traditionally.
  4. Keep variables in mind when you plan your lessons considering students may have:
    1. Multiple classes
    2. Other responsibilities
    3. Personal or family illness
    4. Limited access to devices and internet


Questions to consider for every grade band and content area

  1. How might the makeup of each family impact the way they engage with continuous learning (race and culture, family structure, location ­ urban/rural, financial resources, social­emotional support, etc.)?
    2. How can we provide culturally and linguistically relevant resources for each particular student and family?
    3. How can we see this family and their student’s learning through a trauma­informed lens?
    4. In what ways can we allow families to individualize continuous learning?


Specific Grade Bands and Content Areas

EARLY CHILDHOOD


  • Connect with each of your students every week - via video chat, Zoom, or phone calls
  • Establish “office hours” for communication with families - this will be a consistent time you are available to answer questions and provide guidance. Family communication is critical to your students’ success
  • Provide resources/directions for caretaker for all activities. (It may be older siblings helping with instruction)
  • Make kits with hands-on materials to have families pick up/be delivered (weekly or biweekly)
  • Help families create predictable routines for learning - share recommendations for minutes of each activity that families can easily accomplish 
  • Establish a timeline to complete work with caregivers (Examples: weekly check-ins with each family, open-ended discussion with the child, have parents take pictures of work and submit through app/email, weekly or daily “challenges” to showcase learning, etc.)
  • Emphasize the importance of daily reading with your children 

Work with families to create a predictable routine each day for learning and play, in whatever time frame works best for each family.

Early Childhood: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Help parents understand what this looks like in the classroom, and how that translates to the home setting.
  • Provide guidance in how to follow their child’s lead, and what success with continuous learning looks like.
  • Provide prompt questions/video sources for families to use during play and reading that encourage critical thinking. (Examples: “Tell me about what you are drawing.” “What made you think of that?” “How could you…”)
  • Share what you do in your classroom that could work at home (use resources your students are familiar with)


ELEMENTARY


  • Focus on student progress and learning, not assignment completion and due dates
  • Communicate with students first with the tools teachers are already utilizing and familiar with at this time. If this is not already being done, there will be resources available for teachers to choose from at this time
  • Check on student’s progress and learning rather than due dates
  • Create learning opportunities that resemble classroom content using familiar wording
  • Create cross-curricular work when possible to maximize efficiency.
    • Read a science or history article, use ELA-based questions for comprehension, discussion, and/or writing


Alternatives to Tech:

  • Grab and Go Packets: Print materials, games, school supplies, books, manipulatives


Elementary: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Use the resources already being utilized in the district and supplement with additional tools:
    • Choice boards
    • Book Study
    • Journaling
    • Create non-digital projects
    • Address various learning styles (movement, art, music)


SECONDARY


ELA

  • Select high interest and engaging materials
  • Utilize suggested materials on resources document
  • Adjust resources according to different grade levels as needed
  • Provide weekly packets or printouts (of same stories/materials) for students w/o access to technology that mirrors online work
  • Coordinate distribution of packets or online work
  • Collaborate with cross-curricular content areas to maximize efficiency:
    • Read a science or history article, use ELA-based questions for comprehension, discussion, and/or writing
  • Reflect through writing/journals:
    • How are students processing this situation?
    • How are students doing (mental health)?
    • How are students’ roles changing at home or work?
    • What are students learning about this pandemic - what questions do they have?
  • Establish check-out/ check-in routine at building/ local libraries (# of students/ availability of this resource is dependent upon CDC/KDHE recommendations and school district)
  • Create or share screen video tutorials about how to use resources for students


Secondary ELA: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Provide independent reading resources 
  • Library scheduled checkout times (# of students/ availability of this resource is dependent upon CDC/KDHE recommendations and school district)
  • Links to free online books on district websites or district ELA website or classroom communication platforms
  • Encourage reading and writing through project-based learning for when applicable
  • Provide guidelines/expectations/parameters for students
  • Facilitate written and visual discussion boards/ Flipgrid


SECONDARY - MATH AND SCIENCE

  • Provide internet access
  • Construct “continuous learning kits” that could be either picked up, dropped off, or made available through parent email for those without devices, reliable internet or printer access Note: make a plan for how kits will be returned considering the possible transmission of the viral particles
  • Focus on no more than 1 or 2 essential learning targets a week
  • Provide lessons that include: daily instruction/practice, screen tutorials (daily/weekly), YouTube videos, and/or podcasts
  • Post personalized videos for the hook, connection and content of current learning (Max 5-7 mins)
  • Suggest simple hands-on tasks with materials found in or around most homes
  • Setup live on-line sessions (regular meeting times or office hours)
  • Promote and support cross-curricular and cross-grade level tasks or activities


Math and Science: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Provide multiple ways to demonstrate learning (checklists/choice boards)
  • Create a central location/time for student questions, concerns, etc. (teacher office hours)
  • Provide teacher check-ins (by specific former class period of day or advisory)
  • Encourage STE(A)M Project- Based or Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Encourage student self advocacy


SECONDARY - SOCIAL STUDIES

  • Recommend journaling of the student experience during this time (see resource page)
  • Recast the idea of sacrificing personal freedoms for the common good
    • This will connect students to past national challenges.
    • Tie in the current situation with historical moments.
  • Provide a forum for students to communicate as a class/in groups
  • Offer a delivery that is manageable by students.
    • Students have lots of subjects and lots on their plate.
    • Create a schedule so that students do not have to choose which class to “attend” online
  • When possible or if possible, utilize cell phones in activities.
    • Keep it simple with little streaming, data may be limited.
  • Communication is important. Find a communication avenue you are comfortable with so that students may ask questions, connect with their class, and get more individual help
    • Communication platform examples: Remind, GroupMe, ZOOM, Skype, Google Meeting, Google Hangouts, etc.


Secondary - Social Studies: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Maintain flexibility for completion of assignments
  • Use teacher check-ins to monitor progress
  • Focus on core competencies and skills
  • Support students with structures to ensure success and well-being
  • Work creatively and cross-curricularly, when possible, to develop meaningful learning experiences


SPECIALS


  • Prioritize what needs to be done (essential items) to receive credit or provide enrichment vs. what is usually taught in class


Options for schools without digital learning for families:

  • Create “project packs” for students in need of supplies (paper, pencils, consumable manipulatives or supplies).
  • Distribute fitness calendar/art prompts to give a broad “menu” of options using little to no home equipment.
  • Create a document with familiar songs for students to sing at home
  • Create a list of projects/skills that can be completed to meet required competencies


For schools with digital/online access:

  • Keep any electronic platforms the same/similar to what is currently in place at school
  • Provide links to projects online (practice tracks for music, video demonstrations, project resources shared through a content management platform)
  • Follow copyright expectations
  • Establish digital office hours
  • Send personal messages from teacher(s)
  • Use technology such as Flipgrid to record short practices and provide feedback


Specials: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Consider focusing on providing opportunities to encourage art behaviors/”studio habits of mind” as outcomes, rather than specific art content (observe, envision, express, develop skill, engage and persist, reflect)
  • Focus on mastering competencies (outcomes) versus reproducing each experience/worksheet/test/ quiz given in the typical classroom
  • Provide options for completing work online or traditionally


CAREER AND TECH ED


Options for schools without digital learning options for families:

  • Prioritize what “needs” (essential items) to be done to receive credit or provide enrichment vs what is usually taught in class. (70% of competencies need to be met)
  • Create “project packs” to be picked up for students in need of supplies (paper, pencils, consumable manipulatives or supplies)
  • Projects, prompt lists or choice boards can be distributed to give a broad “menu” of options using little to no home equipment
  • Create a list of projects/skills/ online certifications that can be completed to meet required competencies or certifications
  • Utilize work based learning skills/projects that can count as credit. (follow school and health department guidelines
  • Provide opportunities to job shadow/work based activities(as allowed by health department guidelines)


For schools with digital/online access:

  • Prioritize what “needs” (essential items) to be done to receive credit or provide enrichment vs what is usually taught in class
  • Use similar electronic platforms to what is currently in place at school
  • Provide links to projects online (video demonstrations, project resources shared through a content management platform, etc.). Be sure to consider copyright restrictions
  • Record personal messages/demonstrations from home teacher(s)


Career and Tech Ed: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Focus on providing opportunities to encourage behaviors/workplace skills as outcomes, rather than specific content (observe, envision, express, develop skill, engage and persist, reflect)
  • Focus on mastering competencies (outcomes) versus reproducing each experience/worksheet/test/ quiz given in the classroom
  • Develop and work on IPS activities or other portfolios (AET), hone their workplace skills by developing on-line skills, virtual field trips, remote conversations with a mentor or job shadow
  • Provide CTE work-based and/or project-based learning projects that will cover competencies needed to complete class requirement (70% of competencies need to be met)
  • Provide options for completing work online and paper resources


STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES


  • Internet - some school districts are purchasing hotspots that families can check out,
    • Provide a list of free internet providers in the interim of school closings,
    • Park buses in neighborhoods to use as hotspots for internet access
    • Allow small groups of students to come to school to access, following KDHE guidelines
  • Make sure that ALL kids are accounted for in the family needs surveys (phone, email, mail, staff contact, etc.) - so we make sure we are accommodating all needs
  • Devices - if possible, attempt to provide at least one device in each student’s home, if able
    • Partner with a business that may be willing to donate devices
    • Ensure that each child’s device is adequate for what the child is going to be asked to do on the device. (For example, the child may have access to a device but that device could be so old that the app or platform the district or teacher decides to use cannot be downloaded onto the device)
  • Offer a variety of ways to engage continuous learning without devices or internet
    • All assignments should have both tech and non-tech options for completion, if not all students have access to necessary devices/internet
    • Provide supplies for non-tech options (paper, pencils, etc.)
  • Be responsive to family surveys and create a plan based on the needs of your populations (bringing kids to school, providing materials, etc.)
  • Ongoing, consistent communication with students and families and clear expectations or outline of how continuous learning will be completed
  • Provide mental health/counseling services both on campus and remotely (follow health department guidelines)
    • Include brief training about trauma and stress for teachers to be aware of how children and families might respond during their continuous learning
  • Establish routines at home for mental health check-in with self and certified staff


Student Support Services: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Check-ins with certified staff to ask students about their ideas/needs (daily)


SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL


  • Communicate to Students, Parents, Staff, Etc. do not see this school closure as an “extended break”
    • Adults need to acknowledge that the students in their lives will watch their reactions. This is an opportunity to teach them SEL competencies such as grit, teamwork, and problem solving
  • Provide parents with lists of outside mental health resources
  • Ask staff members to make a list of their “most vulnerable” students. Who are the kids that you were “keeping an eye on?” That list should be shared with the district’s mental health team
  • Identify resources schools were providing students and their families, and work to maintain that support. Schools should have a plan for referring students in need or in crisis.
  • Conduct regular check ins with students
    • This could be done through a Google Form, phone call, home visit, etc.
    • Just like in the school setting, if a teacher/staff member feels like a student needs counseling services, the school counselor, or mental health team member should be contacted, according to the plan.
    • Keep the ratio as small as possible. (1:25)
      • Elementary: Check in with their class of students.
      • Secondary: Check in with advisory/homeroom/ seminar
  • Encourage teachers to embed SEL competencies into their cross-curricular lessons
  • Focus on the 2-3 most important SEL competencies during this time.
  • Utilize any SEL curriculum that they previously used.
    • For example, if teachers were using Second Step, they should continue to “teach” those essential SEL concepts using the provided curriculum.
  • Establish possible “office hours” posted on social media where individuals can meet with counselors, social workers or school psychologists on an as-needed basis.
  • Mental health team members should continue to convene via virtual meetings to coordinate and provide continuity of care
  • Mental health team members will maintain records of referrals, contacts and services as per their professional standards to ensure continuity and coordination of services provided to students.

School counselors will receive guidance from their professional organization as well to help support the teachers and students


Social-Emotional: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Encourage students to identify /name how they are feeling. What do they need? Etc.
    • Respond appropriately (i.e. talk to parents or trusted family member(s), contact school, participate in a self-care activity, etc.)


SPECIAL EDUCATION


  • Most students will require a combination of direct instruction in both general and special education settings spread across their day, with time for hands-on activities between instruction and/or incorporated into direct instruction
  • Provide resources that offer consistency and structure in the new learning environment
  • Examine each child’s needs/abilities, give support both in school and at home
  • Provide specific materials for children as appropriate for making progress on Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals, ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to the same opportunities as their peers
  • Collaboration between General and Special Education regarding lesson planning and lesson execution
  • Special Education Teachers and Related Service Providers will continue to work on IEP and evaluation paperwork within required timelines. Special Education Administrators will work with individual teams if IEP meetings are going to be held via phone or in another format such as Zoom or Google Hangouts.
  • Document communication with parent/student as attempts to make progress (notes section of your learning management or IEP system, communication log, etc.)
  • Adjust students’ plans to meet needs in home or blended learning environments
  • Investigate and determine whether newly introduced apps/platforms are accessible to a child based on the child’s unique needs
  • Provide meaningful access to communication from school officials to students, parents, and the community about any aspect of COVID-19 or actions the schools are taking in response to COVID-19
  • Modify information for persons with disabilities (such as persons who are deaf, deaf-blind, or blind). Thus, the information and materials must be provided, as appropriate, in alternate formats to facilitate effective communication for individuals with disabilities

Any decisions regarding Special Education and Related Services for an individual child should be made by the child’s IEP Team, and should not be based on diagnoses, eligibility categories, or blanket policies.


Special Education: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Create highly motivating, interest-based activities
  • Work with parents to provide ideas to help with reinforcement of goals and benchmarks
  • Establish a routine for communication with families


ESOL


  • Provide essential communications in languages representative of student and family populations
    • Reach out to each head of family to discuss important facts and school structures for the remainder of the year including the continuous learning plan, how to get breakfast/lunch, and what community groups/contacts/supports are available for the families.
    • Designate a point person for each ESOL family to access over the phone interpreting and/or specific personnel within the district who can provide interpretation services.
  • Utilize suggested materials on resources document and materials teachers may already be familiar with
  • Adjust resources according to different grade levels and language levels as needed.
  • Provide options and multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge/skills.
  • Include technology and non-technology options.
  • Coordinate distribution of hard copies and/or online work.
  • Collaborate with General Education to maximize efficiency.
  • Offer “office hours” via phone and/or computer for scheduled check-ins with students.
  • Give suggested timelines that allow for students to work at their own pace.
  • Create or share screen video tutorials about how to use resources for students.
  • Share resources on how to use translation features in commonly used applications.


ESOL: Opportunities for Voice and Choice

  • Provide choices and multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge/skills:
    • Menus
    • Choice Boards
    • Matrices