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3 Things We Learned from the Last Year

August 24, 2021

As we start the new school year, it’s a good time to pause and think about what we’ve learned from the past. In this blog post, we’ll look at what we can do in the new school year based on what we have learned in the past year. Then, I’ll take you through three action items to go along with these reflections.

Today’s blog post includes some of the excellent resources from the folks at Capstone. If you have stopped by the blog before, you might have seen a few of the posts highlighting Capstone Connect’s fantastic resources. The blog posts from the past year have spotlighted using Seesaw with their reading materials and activities to promote school safety. If you’re new to Capstone Connect, check out this “Going Back to School Webinar” ready for you to watch on YouTube.

Capstone Connect is full of resources for elementary readers and includes content perfect for cross-curricular activities. As we dive into this list of three things we learned from the last year, I’ll spotlight some resources from Capstone that help you take action this school year!

What We’ve Learned This Year

Collaboration is Crucial

This year we’ve seen how important it is to collaborate with colleagues. Of course, collaboration isn’t new; teams of teachers have always come together to plan, reflect, and bounce ideas off one another. But, over the past year, you might have found new or unexpected ways to collaborate with colleagues. For example, you might have set up a Zoom meeting to share favorite resources during a virtual planning period. 

You might have found partners to plan with during the past year that were different from years past. This new collaboration could include connections with a media specialist, librarian, or digital learning specialist at your school. Or you might have connected with educators on social media who were also passionate about a topic, like teaching about environmental education or social-emotional learning.

Action item: Locate a favorite article or ebook in Capstone Connect and share it with an educator at your school who might also want to explore that resource.

A Combination of Text is Key

One thing you might have found this year is that you don’t have to choose one type of text to share with students. Instead, a combination of print and digital text is essential for building reading skills. Both types of reading materials help students engage with the text in different ways. And both types of reading materials require a particular set of skills related to navigating text and making meaning of what’s on the page (or screen).

This past year, you might have found some students gravitate towards a digital text when choosing reading materials. Or you might have found it was easier to get digital texts in the hands of students who were learning at a distance. As we enter the new school year and more students are heading back to physical classrooms, it’s a great time to reflect on your balance of texts and give students a variety to explore.

Action item: Ask students to share what topics they are most interested in reading about and use the keyword search option in Capstone Connect to locate eBook titles and PebbleGo articles.

Interactive ebook dashboard

Learning Happens Everywhere

After spending time in various settings this past year, we have all been reminded that learning isn’t confined to the classroom. For example, in distance learning settings, students might click on a link, dive into a book on their own, and share their takeaways during a video meeting with their classmates. Students might sit side-by-side with a classmate in a physical classroom setting as they dive into a text and jot down questions from their reading.

Learning happens everywhere, and students can dive into reading experiences in different locations. Digital resources make it easy to get high-quality reading materials in the hands of students no matter where they are learning from. You might decide to incorporate extension activities into student reading experiences this school year. 

Action item: Check out the instructional materials included in Capstone Connect for ideas on extending text with discussion questions that can be used inside or outside the classroom. 

Discover how Capstone Connect can help as you enter a new school year! Head over to this landing page to learn more about all they offer students, teachers, and schools.

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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4 Responses to “3 Things We Learned from the Last Year”

  1. Lizzy Martinez

    I really enjoyed the point you made about how crucial collaboration is. Too often we get stuck in our own heads and forget that we can ask for help! In my opinion collaboration always leads to the best ideas.

  2. Ashley Feist

    Great points!! Of the many things this ‘COVID-19 Era’ has taught me about education, one big point is that learning does not just happen in a classroom! Learning happens through observing the bugs throughout a stroll, walking through the aisles of food at the grocery store, and even at home!

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