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Teaching Tip: Preparing for the Unknown

How can we prepare for the many scenarios our schools will face this coming year? In order to succeed, we need to have contingency plans in place that will help us be flexible. Our kids deserve this.

Here are some tools I hope will help you!

The New Enhanced Literacy Footprints Digital Reader
Our beta version of the Literacy Footprints Digital Reader was an asset for many teachers during the first phase of remote learning. Now we are excited to announce the launch of our adapted and enhanced subscription Digital Reader. This platform will provide teachers with the resources needed to move back and forth between Literacy Footprints materials in the classroom to the very same books, digitally, in a remote setting. Whether you start off the fall teaching a combination of remote and in-school classes, or you teach only in the classroom or, conversely, only in a remote setting—the Digital Reader will keep you and your students reading familiar and excellent leveled books. Be sure to watch the recording of our most recent webinar: “Using the Literacy Footprints Digital Reader: Nuts and Bolts.”

Lesson Plans for Remote Instruction
We are hard at work adapting each Literacy Footprints lesson card into a lesson plan that can be delivered remotely. These lessons for remote learning will be integrated with the Digital Reader platform. While a Literacy Footprints lesson card might have the teacher prepare physical materials, such as sticky notes inserted onto pages of a book, we have worked to adapt the lessons so that the same activity can be done remotely using the Digital Reader. These lesson plans are being developed with a strong foundation to support your online teaching and will be added to the platform throughout the summer. Every title in the Digital Reader will have a lesson plan available by the end of August.

Video Lessons
Some of you may be teaching a hybrid model—with students in school certain days and remote other days. While you are teaching in school, you may have students at home working independently. We know packets of worksheets are not the ideal tools for learning, so we are developing more effective strategies to support you and your students. We are producing video lessons that your students can watch and learn from at home. We will have at least one video lesson for every level for each Digital Reader kit. These lessons can be used as assigned reading and watching for your remote students. We also hope that they will serve as models for you to make your own videos. Students are best served by seeing their own familiar teacher instructing them (we know your students would rather see YOU). Similar to the lesson plans, recording these instructional videos takes time, and we will be adding them throughout the summer.

We are continuing to offer free webinars to support teachers as they navigate the changing landscape of instruction. Even after a webinar has been hosted, you can tune in to watch the recorded version. On July 9, Karen Cangemi and I hosted Using the Literacy Footprints Digital Reader: Nuts and Bolts and shared some specific ideas for using the Digital Reader to support instruction in and out of the classroom. On August 6, Jan Richardson and I will host “Using Literacy Footprints: Hybrid Teaching,” and on September 10, Karen and I will be back for the webinar “Assessing Students’ Reading and Writing Remotely.” Register for any of these webinars here—you can also view these and previous webinars on this page.

Word Study Single Sets
We know the manipulatives that we use for word study are so very important for student success. In this challenging time, it may not be safe for students to share materials, and/or we may want students to have materials that they can take with them for remote learning. We have put together single student sets of word study materials packed in a sturdy take-home bag. Each Word Study Single Set includes its own letter tray, magnetic letters, small dry-erase board and marker, and a plastic write-on sleeve with grade-level specific chart cards so students can easily do their word study lessons at school or remotely. As you plan for the unknown of the upcoming school year, these word study sets may provide a solution for one piece of the puzzle.

Book Bundle Single Sets
Some children may not have access to a device or the internet to access digital books. Or you may want to supplement the digital experience with physical copies of the books. Since it is important for all students to have books, we are curating bundles of books that match each Literacy Footprints Classroom Kit, created to support students at their current level. Each bundle includes ten books at a single level, correlating with the grade-level kit. This way, teachers can send books home to be read. If necessary, a teacher will be able to listen to their student read over the phone—while following along on their own Digital Reader. These bundles will be available to order later this summer.

Assessing Students in School and Remotely
Accurate assessment will be critical this fall. The new Literacy Footprints Guided Reading Assessment Kit includes beautiful books, Levels A through N, for student assessment. This new kit includes access to our enhanced Online Student Data Tracker to provide the tools for teachers and administrators to input assessment data, get recommendations for Literacy Footprints lessons to begin instruction, and monitor student progress. The Guided Reading Assessment is available as a print kit, packaged in a convenient carrying box, and for a small upgrade, teachers can access the titles digitally as well!

Being prepared will make our teaching more effective. Continue to let us know how the Pioneer Valley Books team can help and what you might need. Your kind notes have gone a long way toward keeping all of us at Pioneer Valley Books motivated!

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