I still remember the moment I learned that my children’s school would be closed for two weeks due to COVID-19. I should have seen it coming; schools were closing all around the country. But, still it was a shock.
I honestly didn’t know what to think. My head was spinning as I shifted between so many roles and identities: parent, teacher, and instructional coach. I thought about my own kids; I thought about teachers who were probably just as lost as I was; and I thought about instructional coaches who were left wondering about their role in this new “normal.”
Finally, lost and overwhelmed, I looked toward my team. Everyone should have a team. And, if you don’t feel like you have a team, we’ll be your team.
We all felt overwhelmed, and we knew we weren’t alone. And, if it’s one thing our team does during a crisis, we circle the wagons. Immediately, we knew we had to connect, communicate, and collaborate on something that would help. What we came up with is a new website, called Whiteboard 13.
What is Whiteboard 13?
Whiteboard 13 is a place where we, the Region 13 Instructional Coaching Team, can assist in the monumental task of accessible, equitable and engaging remote and home learning opportunities.
When we thought about our roles: parents, teachers, and coaches, we, ourselves, really wanted learning, resources, and support in all three of these areas. This is why you will find Whiteboard 13 divided into these three sections, depending on which role you are needing to feed and care for right now.
What a ride this has been!? We know it’s hard, and you have your own challenges. So, we have created choice boards that are easy, engaging, and aligned, as well as a slideshow of Parent Tips, Sample Schedules, and many more resources. We’ve got you covered. Check out this section; we hope it helps you manage it all.
Wow. So much to think about. We know you miss your students. We know you are being asked to shift course, to help build a plane while we’re flying it. But, if there is one thing I am sure of, it’s that teachers are resilient and flexible. We know many teachers have so many questions: Do all of my students have internet access? How do I replicate my classroom culture online? What is expected of me? How can I give my students something more meaningful, with depth, and not just “busy work”?
We’ve got you. We’ve partnered with Julie Stern and her team of awesome educators to create lunch trays. A lunch tray is an online learning template that structures, sequences, and organizes essential elements of online instruction. Think of it as: “Freedom within Structure.”
We realized quickly that there is not enough time in the day for teachers to make this shift to online learning on their own. So, our team huddled and hustled to create lunch trays for each grade level. Our hope is that beyond being able to flip these lunch trays into online learning for students, that they can also serve as models for teachers to create their own lunch trays.
Where to start? Well, obviously we have all been thrust into the coaching role of Resource Provider. We all know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can apply to coaching as well, and right now, during this crisis, we are starting at the bottom, making sure those whom we support feel safe and have what they need. While we hope that Coaches find the resources on the Teachers’ page helpful, too; this particular Coaches page is geared toward building capacity behind-the-scenes.
Well, as we know (because we are all sharing a piece of this universal story), the school closures that were supposed to end on April 3rd, got moved to April 13, which is now May 4th. We’re in it for the long haul. So, please keep checking Whiteboard 13 each week as we update it with more resources and tools. And, we hope this website doesn’t just get you through the coming weeks, but also inspires and reminds you that we can do this. Together we’re best.
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Angela Buckingham is an education specialist working with instructional coaches and PLCs here at the Education Service Center Region 13