Build your virtual teaching toolkit with free professional learning during COVID-19 school closures

Build your virtual teaching toolkit with free professional learning during COVID-19 school closures - TLG-IMG-03312020At a recent webinar on coronavirus school closures, EdWeek shared an alarming statistic: some 41% of schools feel poorly equipped to transition to online learning. Are you one of them?

If so, join us for a free series of on-demand webinars on our YouTube channel designed to get you up to speed and help you gain the confidence you need to reach your students as they transition to learning from home. We’ll cover a variety of topics and are hoping to post new webinars by 12 pm PST every Tuesday and Thursday beginning March 31.

How to empower students as independent learners

Our first distance learning webinar series is titled Empowering students as independent learners. It will help you give your students the support they need to continue learning and growing while they’re at home.

[S]ome 41% of schools feel poorly equipped to transition to online learning.”

With each webinar, we’ll begin with a brief welcome, introduce the day’s topic, and dig into why it’s so important, especially in uncertain times and digital learn-from-home settings. We’ll present a strategy or process you can use with your students, then share some student-centered examples of how to apply what you learn to your newly virtual classroom.

Here’s a preview of what we covered in our first webinar.

Webinar 1: Trying on the Six Thinking Hats—Tuesday, March 31 

Learn all about the Six Thinking Hats, a process to engage students in different kinds of thinking and empower them to creatively make decisions and solve problems.

Learning target 

I can engage learners in different kinds of thinking and empower them to creatively make decisions and solve problems.

Success criteria 

  • I am able to identify the benefits of flexible thinking for learners.
  • I am able to describe the Six Thinking Hats strategy and determine how to use them in my teaching.
  • I am able to empower students to think flexibly through my lesson design and cognitive coaching.

The why: Exploring the importance of flexible thinking activities

  • We are creatures of habit and tend to form habits of thought. This can be challenging during uncertain times. Helping students become aware of their thinking style can help them understand that some habits of thought may need to change to help them be successful during school closures.
  • Thinking is an important academic and social skill that must be developed through regular practice. Flexible thinking can help students achieve success—regardless of circumstances and beyond an educational setting—because it makes it easier to cope with change and new information, solve complex problems, make decisions, and more.

The strategy: Introducing the Six Thinking Hats

  • This strategy helps people look at problems and decisions from different perspectives and practice lateral thinking.
  • Each hat is symbolic of a type of thinking. We’ll talk about what each one is and what type of thinking it represents.

Student-centered examples of application

We shared many examples of how students can practice the Six Thinking Hats. Here are just two:

  • Ask students to write a brief essay where they state the biggest obstacle they’re facing as they transition to learning from home. Ask them to look at this problem through the different perspectives of the Six Thinking Hats. The essay can close with a reflection on how the Six Thinking Hats could help them overcome the obstacle.
  • Challenge students to name the kinds of thinking they find themselves doing with a thinking journal. This will help them gain awareness of their patterns of thought. Students can journal for 10 minutes each day for a week, simply documenting what’s on their mind as they adapt to their school being closed. The following week, they can revisit each journal entry and label the kind of thinking they see, based on the Six Thinking Hats. On the third week of this exercise, students can look over the thinking habits they’ve tracked to identify their strengths, pinpoint opportunities for growth, and set goals for themselves. Journaling can center around the progress they’re making toward their goals for the remainder of the school year.

The how: Student empowerment through the Six Thinking Hats

  • Thinking about their thinking helps students become aware of their habits. Knowing how they think is the first step in challenging their habits and helping them strengthen their flexible thinking muscles.
  • The Six Thinking Hats help students by giving them a concrete strategy to take charge of how they approach new challenges, tasks, and decisions. It helps them develop a healthy mindset for overcoming obstacles and barriers.

Here are some brief overviews of what we’ll cover in the remaining webinars in this first series.

Webinar 2: Student goal setting and progress monitoring—Thursday, April 2 

In this session, you’ll be introduced to concrete processes to engage students in setting and monitoring their own goals.

Agenda

  • Welcome and set the stage: Discuss the learning target and success criteria
  • Explore the why: The importance of engaging students in goal setting and progress monitoring
  • Explain the goal setting and progress monitoring processes
  • Provide student-centered examples of application
  • Describe how the processes can empower students as independent learners, particularly in the context of digital learn-from-home settings

Webinar 3: Pause, Think, and Act—Tuesday, April 7 

Tweet: Build your virtual teaching toolkit with free professional learning during COVID-19 school closures  https://nwea.us/2UO6CEd #edchat #virtualteaching #onlinelearningExplore the Pause, Think, and Act strategy, designed to engage students in self-reflection on and self-direction of behavior to align with expectations and desired outcomes.

Agenda

  • Welcome and set the stage: Discuss the learning target and success criteria
  • Explore the why: The importance of engaging students in metacognitive activities
  • Explain the Pause, Think, and Act strategy
  • Provide student-centered examples of application
  • Describe how the Pause, Think, and Act strategy empowers students as independent learners, particularly in the context of digital learn-from-home settings

Webinar 4: Embracing a growth mindset—Thursday, April 9 

Dig into how to encourage students to believe in their own abilities so they can transition from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Agenda

  • Welcome and set the stage: Discuss the learning target and success criteria
  • Explore the why: The value of helping students develop a growth mindset
  • Explain the mindset reframing strategy
  • Provide student-centered examples of application
  • Describe how the mindset reframing strategy empowers students as independent learners, particularly in the context of digital learn-from-home settings

Stay tuned

Subscribe to our our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay in the loop on more upcoming webinars. We hope to see you there!

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