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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

At-Home Teaching

Argumentative Writing: At-Home Style ✍️

The 7th Grade ELA team at DMS had just launched their Argumentative Writing unit prior to the March 13 when they found themselves, as all of you, amongst sudden school closures. Here is what Shelley Crocker and Beth Fabiano describe as they moved the process online: 

“After kicking off the genre with a classroom debate, our students couldn’t wait to get started. Not willing to squander student enthusiasm, the existing unit was reworked to be continued at home, showcasing an assignment inspired by Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher called, “What Would it Take to Make You Care?” 7th graders were encouraged to pick a topic they were personally concerned about and create presentations to convince their peers to share their view. Topics ranged from global warming to equity and relied on ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade. To mimic the inherent competition in debate, volunteers put their arguments up for an anonymous competition where 7th graders voted on the most convincing argument. All from home, cases were made, minds were opened, and views were changed - argument success.”

Here is an example of what transpired: Example


Anna Livermore at Lietz Elementary has continued her focus on students spreading positivity. In Flipgrid, she created an assignment for students to surprise their principal. By combining a fun tech tool with a thread of compassion, Anna has kept the Lietz Lion community connected.

Story Time

Friday nights, Carlton teacher Kate LaBarbera connects with her students by sharing a night-time story. Using Loom, Kate records herself reading a story which students can then access before their bedtime. To create the perfect ambiance, light music is played in the background. To change it up, sometimes the video is her voice and the book, and sometimes Kate appears in the lower left-hand corner. These stories send students blissfully into their weekends.

Goodnight You! - Watch Video

A Daily Challenge through Morning Messages

Each morning, Theresa Hull’s 1st graders receive an optional challenge to complete through a short, pre-recorded morning message. The challenges ask students to submit a response through SeeSaw, and allow students choice in how they will complete the task. For instance, in one challenge, the students were asked to do something nice for their families, and in another, share a movie they recently saw. Students were given ideas to write, draw, take a picture or come up with their own idea to tell their teacher what they did for the challenge. As she explains in the video, this exercise allows her to connect with her students while expanding upon their writing and creativity. Teacher tip: Theresa shared how she records all of the videos in one day and posts them on seperate days.

Morning Message

Flat Donlon

Following a teacher blog, Katherine Donlon learned about the idea of Flat Donlon and recreated it for her own 1st grade class. First, she printed her bitmoji and then laminated them. Next, she mailed the bitmojis to her students, accompanied by a poem asking students to take her on adventures. After listening to the Flat Stanley book that inspired the Flat Donlons, students were instructed to take Flat Donlon on three adventures and then write about them. She asked students to focus on adding details to their writing. One of Katherine’s favorites was a Flat Donlon who found the coffee in the house as her students know she loves coffee.


The 4th-grade team at Alta Vista created social studies hyperdocs for their students. These hyperdocs allow students to travel at their own pace as they explore topics, apply their knowledge and even go on remote tours. Using this model, the teachers are aiming to increase student engagement. Check out the examples below:

California Statehood
Pony Express Hyperdoc
Transcontinental Railroad