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  • Pam Koutrakos

Navigating ALL The Resources

I trust we all love Ferris Bueller and remember the “life moves pretty fast” advice? Well, there’s no doubt that right now, life is moving pretty fast… and stopping makes a lot of sense. Not because we don't want to miss a moment of this experience, but instead because when life feels like it’s speeding up, slowing down can relieve some of the anxiety and panic we are feeling. This brings me to the helpful resources being circulated in our communities. I’ll admit that my recent obsession with online resources has resembled the news images of people grabbing toilet paper. —And so, when I realized that, I stopped (breath) and reminded myself (self-talk) to slow down and simplify. We don't need every resource and some are definitely better than others. All of the resources being shared will still be there tomorrow and next week. There is no rush; it looks like we have a lot of time at home ahead of us.

Here are five reminders of why Less IS more. :

  • We all want to help, but if we bombard families with too many resources all at once, we may overwhelm everyone…which is the opposite of our intent.

  • It may be best to start things off with the continuation of the platforms and sites students are most accustomed to and use consistently in the classroom. If students know Go Noodle, Brain Pop, or Google Classroom, nurture that familiarity. This will provide comfort and ease the transition to home learning.

  • It takes time to vet the resources being shared. We want to make sure the experience is high-quality and developmentally-appropriate. By taking the time to try them out ourselves (a little at a time), we will have more time and space to connect with students and families in other important ways.

  • It is so tempting to send a list of links, but we know resources are not teaching… they are tools that help us teach and help students to learn. When we find a resource we want to share, we may want to create context- and infuse the tool into a more interactive and personalized process-rich learning experience.

  • Not everyone has digital access at home. Thankfully, many districts and companies are working on this, but until then (and even after), we may want to offer a variety of ways to keep things going- some of which may be completely tech-free.

All that said, the below links are connected to documents that are continuously evolving and growing so feel free to check back.

First up are elementary-friendly resources that support learning across the content areas. These are not meant to be assignments, but instead, represent ideas to enhance learning at home: Link to resources for different subject areas

Next, we have some literacy-specific resources. These suggestions honor different aspects of literacy learning. Some (not all) of these resources could be used as part of home learning experiences: Link to literacy-specific resources

Some parting food for thought: When my kids were young and we went on long car trips, my husband packed the car with snacks, drinks, books, toys, art materials, etc. He had a great talent! But, once we were buckled up, he started offering up the goodies, even before we even hit the highway. I had to remind him to slow down those offerings and save the “good stuff” for when we really needed it… when the kids were bickering, when we couldn’t hear, ”Are we there yet?” one more time, or when everyone had already napped, sung along, and played all the license plate games we knew. After you take some time to look back at the resources you have collected or sift through some of what is included in the documents linked above, think about your plan of action… remembering to save some of the options for when we all need something new! Right now, we have more “new” than we need. Thanks for all you continue to do!

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