9 free professional learning webinars to binge-watch this winter break

Let’s be real: Zoom fatigue is really a thing, and everyone’s brains are tired. If you’re a teacher, your brain is likely especially tired because you’ve spent the year adapting with and for your kids. The cognitive load has been enormous.

If binge-watching is part of your self-care routine—but your mind is still on your students and how to best support them—we’ve got you covered. Here are nine webinars that are easy to connect with and deliver key new ideas and perspectives. The first six are about an hour each, and they feature compelling speakers and relevant topics, from how to respond to interrupted learning to how to use MAP® Growth™ reports to identify students with unfinished learning. The last three are series on YouTube by our professional learning team. Multiple experts explore unique avenues of virtual learning, and each series focuses on a critical theme and includes specific, actionable strategies and practices you can put to use right away.

Watch these webinars in any order, on your own schedule—or watch them all at once. We won’t judge.

1. “Articulating a plan for addressing interrupted learning”

Hear from our own Brooke Mabry (more from her later) about the impact of interrupted learning and how teachers can begin to respond to their students’ needs in the context of the pandemic. Brooke explores the big questions of how teachers can think about things like standards and curriculum in virtual classrooms, as well as the practical realities of things like creating learning plans. She also shares how it’s all part of the formative assessment cycle and how formative insights can help teachers determine what’s right for their students.

2. “Leading instruction and assessment from a distance”

In this webinar, some of the biggest experts in the field of formative assessment—Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, John Hattie, and Chase Nordengren—discuss how school leaders can support teachers and effectively use assessment to continue to work toward school improvement goals. Even if you’re not a school leader yourself, watch for the values and ideas. See how some school leaders are finding new ways to help teachers make distance learning effective and using assessments to inform virtual instruction.

3. “Best of Fusion: Giving 100% to the bottom 25%”

In-person professional conferences aren’t really happening at the moment, so here’s the next best thing: a presentation from our Best of Fusion conference webinar collection. “Giving 100% to the bottom 25%” is from an NWEA partner school district in White County, Georgia, and explores how they use their MAP Growth results to identify students with unfinished learning and implement early, effective interventions to address individual student needs. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how you might use data to promote equity in your district, you’re not going to want to miss this one.

4. “Best of Fusion: RIT 101”

Speaking of favorites from Fusion, here’s a refreshed classic: “RIT 101.” Dr. Nate Jensen discusses the scale behind MAP Growth and why it’s essential for accurately and precisely assessing student growth. “RIT 101” is the perfect starting place if you’re new (or new-ish) to MAP Growth because it clearly lays out how the test works and quickly connects that with how teachers can trust and use students’ results to better understand each of their unique growth opportunities. In person, “RIT 101” is one of those conference sessions that fills up right away, making it hard to find a seat—so why not catch it from the comfort of your own home?

5. “Fluency and equity: Helping all kids access grade-level text”

Reading is fundamental to learning; it’s also one of the areas where equity challenges can have big impacts on students. In this webinar, Dr. Tim Rasinski, Dr. Lynne Kulich, and Dr. Cindy Jiban talk about the importance of opportunity in the context of literacy and share practical scaffolding techniques for helping kids access text that’s on grade level. It’s a fascinating walk-through of how things like word study, fluency instruction, and comprehension all factor into how students learn to read. It also includes a sample fluency development lesson, so you can see a day-by-day scenario of how teachers can use fluency to support literacy.

6. “Relationships between poverty and school performance”

When it comes to the relationships between poverty and school performance, there are a lot of myths and assumptions—and there’s a lot to be explored. Educators often have to work to overcome their students’ barriers to opportunity and face unique challenges as a result. To better understand the situation, we turned to NWEA researcher Dr. Andrew Hegedus. In this webinar, he discusses the most common theories and ideas about poverty and school performance and compares them with extensive research based on student MAP Growth data. We’re not going to spoil anything for you here, but his findings may surprise you!

7. “Empowering students as independent learners” (series)

This four-part series will show you how to use formative instructional practices and strategies—even in distance learning settings—to help students become agents of their own learning. Now that so many students are learning from home, it’s more important than ever to engage them and help them learn to self-direct and self-manage as learners. Brooke provides research-based ideas, resources, and models so you can make student empowerment in the classroom real, even when there is no classroom.

8. “Strengthening learning teams in the virtual world” (series)

In this series, Brooke talks with school principal Candi Fowler, teacher Bob Pooler, and others to explore how educators can support one another in virtual learning contexts, from establishing shared expectations to creating digital toolkits that are both practical and aligned with current research. This series is ideal for educators looking to strengthen their local communities of practice or simply consider new teaching practices designed around the virtual experience.

9. “Cultivating social-emotional learning” (series)

This two-parter is all about the importance of self-care for teachers. Monitoring our own well-being is difficult—and critical. Hear about powerful routines you can use to make self-care a habit. Discover why holding space for yourself is so important and how to make it happen.

Enjoy the binge-watching, and have a restful break!

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