Back-to-School From Home

The summer of 2020 felt sort of like “the summer that wasn’t”. We didn’t do any of our usual traveling or visiting family. The days sort of ran together much of the time, with the exception of watching the news TOO MUCH, taking lots of walks around our neighborhood, and the occasional delivery of groceries on the front porch. Just as the end of the 19-20 school year was mushy and abstract, this “summer” felt similarly mushy.

However, this summer, more than I can ever remember, professional development online was ABUNDANT. From Twitter to Facebook groups to webinars to online courses and conferences, educators leaned on each other from far and wide, both for moral support and to learn how to make some lemonade from all of these lemons. One of my favorite experiences was the week-long offering from teachers at Stanford Online High School, who shared candidly about all they have learned to effectively teach students remotely (the recordings are still available here). Desmos webinars, the Apple Distinguished Educator month-long Festival of Learning, the Kahoot EDU Summit, and the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference were just a few of the many offerings. The perpetual tug-of-war pull between watching the often hopeless news, to learning hopeful strategies for future students, all the while seeing teachers caught in the middle of so much of the mess was, at times, exhausting and paralyzing.

After a week-and-a-half of ZOOMING with colleagues for our district-level PD to prepare for the reopening of online school, it’s been great to reconnect. While we’re juggling a lot right now, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and tomorrow we get to meet a new crew of students! I’ve never felt so ready, and simultaneously *not* ready, for the start of a new school year. I’d imagine students feel similarly.

With so much literally out of our control, sometimes it can be therapeutic to control the things you can. For me, that translates to being productive and creating and organizing things… then sharing them with others! Here are some resources I had the pleasure to play a part in creating / curating over the summer, to help with this moment and the days ahead. I’m grateful that so many folks spent the summer creating and sharing amazing resources day and night! We make each other better.

Math 8 and Algebra 1 Desmos Activity Collections

Kahoots for Math 8

Kahoots for Algebra 1

As we seek to build relationships with our students while juggling online teaching, in-person teaching, or some combination of the two; our own families, our own physical health and our own mental health; politics, the news in general, pandemic statistics. public perception of our profession and EVERYTHING ELSE that 2020 continues to throw at us, I urge us all to take a breath. We must be intentional regarding our self care. We don’t have to be perfect.

Be well, stay well, and let’s do this!

Have a happy and healthy new school year, one day at a time…

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