Wednesday, January 13, 2021

MRVED Update - January 13, 2021

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings:

January 15, 2021 - Title III Teachers 
January 27, 2021 - Superintendents' Council
January 28, 2021 - Teacher Advisory Council
February 5, 2021 - Principals' Council

Science Standard Implementation Conversation with MDE

John Olson, from the Minnesota Department of Education will be providing outreach to our MRVED school districts on Monday, January 18th, starting at 1:00 PM. John will be going over a timeline for implementation of the new science standards and answer any and all questions you may have about implementation of the science standards.

If you would like to join the conversation, and your administrator has not already set something up or shared the link with you, please let Brandon ( know.


COVID Teaching - What is here to stay?

This pandemic has changed the way in which we "do" education. It often has me thinking; "What is here to stay? What are we going to dump when we are back fully in-person?" This article from Edutopia provides some great talking points.

Has the Pandemic Ushered in New Norms in Education?

Talking to Kids About Tragic Events

The events of last week at the Capitol can be tough to talk about with kids. Events like the attack on the Capitol are politically charged, emotional events. How much do we share with kids? How do we talk to them about the event without letting your political emotions show? This CNN article offers some great advice.

10 tips for talking to your kids about the attack on the Capitol


TED Talk

I came across this great TED talk from Caige Jambor on how social emotional learning benefits everyone. Take 10 minutes and watch today!


Tech Tip - Jamboard

Jamboard has been featured before, but it is worth repeating. Jamboard is an AWESOME whiteboard app from Google. You can set up multiple whiteboard for your classes to accomplish group work or do multi-step activities. Jamboard works great if you have kids in class or at home. If you haven't used Jamboard yet, check it out today!

10 Jamboard Templates from Ditch That Textbook (guest post by Kris Szajner)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

MRVED Update December 2, 2020

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

December 4, 2020 - Title III Teachers
December 9, 2020 - MRVED Board Meeting
December 10, 2020 - Teachers' Advisory Council Meeting
December 11, 2020 - Principals' Council Meeting
December 16, 2020 - Superintendents' Council Meeting


The Minnesota River Valley Career and Technical Education Collaborative (MRVCTEC) is a group of five school districts—Lakeview, MACCRAY, Montevideo, Renville County West and Yellow Medicine East.

These schools work cooperatively with their partners—Minnesota West Community and Technical College, the SWWC Service Co-op, the Minnesota River Valley Educational District, the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

This collaborative provides opportunities for students to gain skills, knowledge, and experience in technical careers. Career and technical education provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners.

Explore various career and technical education career paths found right here in the Minnesota River Valley by going to the MRVCTEC Website.

Music Teacher Writes COVID Song

Sometimes we just need to laugh. Check out how this music teacher uses music to get through the pandemic.

When was the last time you laughed as hard as the news anchor? Even in dark times, laughter is great medicine!

State News

Social Studies Standards 1st Draft

The 1st draft of the new Minnesota Social Studies standards have been released. If you have a few minutes, please look over the document and provide feedback to the standards committee. The committee will take that feedback, make revisions and release a 2nd draft in February.

First Draft of the Minnesota Social Studies Standards

Feedback Form Link

You can also attend one of the virtual town halls to learn about the process of creating the standards as well as provide input.


Outdoor Classroom

If the weather cooperates, what better way to social distance than getting your classroom outdoors. Teach Outdoors Minnesota has a ton of resources to help get your classroom outside. The lessons range from Pre-K to High School. Some lessons are quick and easy, while others may take a couple class periods. Either way, the activities will get you up and outside and learning in an experiential way.

Virtual Christmas Classroom Ideas

If you have students that are working at a distance or maybe you find your whole class in virtual learning prior to the winter break. Here are a couple lists of fun virtual activities you can do with your class to celebrate the break.

22 Virtual Christmas Party Ideas

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

MRVED Update, November 11, 2020

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

November 13, 2020 - Virtual Title III Paraprofessionals
November 18, 2020 - Virtual Principals/Teachers' Advisory Council
         *Please note the 3:15 p.m. start time!
November 20, 2020 - Virtual Title III Teachers
November 25, 2020 - Virtual Superintendents' Council

MELT 2021 Cancelled

The 2021 MELT Conference, originally scheduled for January 18, 2021 has been cancelled. This past summer it was determined that the conference would be virtual. The heart of the MELT has always been our local teachers willing to present and share the great things happening in their classrooms. Due to the current COVID situation in our schools, with districts changing learning models, this has put added stress on our teachers. The MRVED Superintendents and Principals both thought it would be in the best interest of the MRVED teachers if we cancelled the 2021 MELT. Presenting at the conference is stressful for many people, and there is no reason to add to the stresses of everyday life. The MRVED believes professional development is very important, but the health and well-being of our schools is of greater importance. The MRVED assures everyone that MELT 2022 will be better than ever!

Other News

Sourcewell's Impact Education Conference

If you are in need of clock hours, the Impact Education Conference (previously known as the TIES Conference) will be held January 11-13 virtually. There will be 2 days of live keynotes followed by 60+ breakout sessions. The cost of the conference is only $75 if you register prior to December 4th. This is a great deal for some high quality professional development. The focus of the conference this year is learning from the challenges of 2020 and how the pandemic as accelerated new ideas, enabled creativity, and drove innovative thinking. Click below to find the registration and to learn more.

Impact Education Conference 

Veterans Day Activities

Today, November 11, 2020 is Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a day for honoring all those that are currently serving, or have served in the armed forces. It is a great time to bring awareness to our students about the sacrifices the men and women of the armed forces make. It is also a great time to learn a little about WWI and why we celebrate Veterans Day on the 11th day of the 11th month every year. Below are a few activities you can do you with your students to learn about Veterans Day.

Scholastic (Grades 1-5)

WGU (All Grades)

Teacher Planet (All Grades)

History Channel Video (High School)

Google Applied Digital Skills

Google Applied Digital Skills tagline on their website is, "Teach and learn practical digital skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow with our free video lessons". There are awesome projects to do, while learning technical skills. If you are looking for projects to do while in distance or hybrid learning, Google Applied Digital Skills might spur a great idea for you. Watch the video below for a brief overview.

Tech Tip:

Have you ever wanted to use a digital whiteboard in your class, but did know what to use? If so, checkout This site is so easy to use, no sign-up necessary. You can create a room and your students can be in it in a matter of minutes. As a teacher, you can see all their boards. This would be great for a hybrid classroom where some kids are at home and some are in the classroom. It doesn't matter where they are, all they need is a device.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

MRVED Update - October 21, 2020

October 14 - Recap

We hope you had a great experience last week and Carla was able to provide you with some strategies to use with your students. If you have not evaluated the day yet, please take a few moments to provide your feedback (see link below). The MRVED uses that feedback to make adjustments to the days to better serve our schools. All feedback is read by the MRVED staff, our Teacher Advisory Committee, and reviewed by principals and superintendents.

October 14 Evaluation

MELT Presenter Information & Networking Facilitators

This will be the last call to find presenters and networking facilitators for the 2020 MELT.

The MRVED MELT will look a little different this year being virtual, but we are still looking for passionate people to present. The details of the conference are still being worked out, but we do know we will be in need of people to present on topics of interest. Sessions will be 45 minutes in length this year and there is an option to pre record your presentation. If you are interested, please fill out the form linked below. Deadline to submit a proposal is October 30, 2020.

MELT 2021 Call for Proposals

Networking Facilitators

Networking at the Virtual MELT will look a little different than in the past. Networking groups will take place after lunch. Participants will have the option to participate in networking groups, watch more pre recorded sessions, or participate in district activities. A Networking group will not be held without a facilitator. Deadline to sign up is November 13, 2020.

Science Standards Implementation

The Minnesota Science Standards were created a couple years ago. The first MCA testing on the 2019 MN Science Standards will be in 2024. With that in mind, districts have asked how to implement the new standards. MDE has developed a transition document to help schools transition to the new standards.

Science Standards Transition Guide

Ditch That Textbook - 30 FREE PowerPoint Templates

A couple years ago we featured the book Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller. If you have not read this book yet, I highly suggest it! The topics in the book are very pertinent to a Hybrid or Distance Learning model. With these templates, kids can create fun Snapchat filters, or Instagram pages.

30 Free PowerPoint Templates from Matt Miller

Tech Tool - Common Curriculum

Common Curriculum is a lesson planning website that is easy for the teacher to use and even easier for the end-user. It allows teachers to create an easy to read lesson plan for the day/subject. The teacher can then post on the website or within their LMS (Google Classroom, Schoology, Moodle, etc...). It is so easy to use and the free version offers plenty of features.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

MRVED Update - September 30

Upcoming Meetings

October 14, 2020 - MRVED Virtual Common Inservice
October 23, 2020 - Principals' Council
October 28, 2020 - Superintendents' Council


October 14 Common Day Information

Carla Tantillo Philibert will be our featured speaker on October 14, 2020. Carla will be speaking on the topic of SEL and be providing strategies to use in the classroom. She spoke to our paraprofessionals in August and received excellent reviews. You will find her personality contagious. Carla will speak to the whole MRVED in the morning for 90 minutes and then she has offered to provide small group time with each of our districts.

Due to districts needing time to stop and reflect on COVID plans, districts will be able to plan the rest of the day to meet their needs. There is no need to register for this day. 

MRVED MELT Presenters & Networking Facilitators

The MRVED MELT will look a little different this year being virtual, but we are still looking for passionate people to present. The details of the conference are still being worked out, but we do know we will be in need of people to present on topics of interest. Sessions will be 45 minutes in length this year and there is an option to pre record your presentation. If you are interested, please fill out the form linked below. Deadline to submit a proposal is October 30, 2020.

MELT 2021 Call for Proposals

Networking Facilitators

Networking at the Virtual MELT will look a little different than in the past. Networking groups will take place after lunch. Participants will have the option to participate in networking groups, watch more pre recorded sessions, or participate in district activities. A Networking group will not be held without a facilitator. Deadline to sign up is November 13, 2020.

Social Studies Standards Update

Brandon is serving on the Minnesota Department of Education Social Studies Review committee. The group met for the 1st time on September 16th to get the work started. Much of the morning was spent on team building & understanding the process of standards review. The whole afternoon was spent on looking at gaps in the current standards as opposed to other states. It appears the C3 Framework will guide the groups work in creating a standard document that helps students become College, Career, and Civic ready. The first draft will be available in November.

All meetings are public meetings and broadcast live on the MDE Academic Standards YouTube page. The meetings are also archived, so if you wish to watch previous meetings, you may do that as well.

Election Resources

With the presidential election a little over a month away, it would be a great time to start talking about it with students. Even though this is one of the most heated elections in modern history, doesn't mean we should shy away from the topic with our students. Here are a couple great resources to help teach kids about the election in a non biased way:

PBS Electoral Decoder

KQED - Let's Talk About the Election

CNN - Resources

Lower Elementary Resources

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

MRVED Update - September 9, 2020

Upcoming Meetings

September 9, 2020 - MRVED Board Meeting (Virtual)
September 17, 2020 - Teachers' Advisory Council Meeting (Virtual)
September 18, 2020 - Principals' Advisory Council Meeting (Virtual)
September 23, 2020 - Superintendents' Council Meeting
September 25, 2020 - Title III Teachers' Meeting

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the 2020-2021 school year! We hope you had a rejuvenating summer and were able to put school in the rearview mirror for a little while. Last year was tough and this year looks to be just as difficult. Please know that the MRVED is here to provide support for you and your district wherever/whenever we can. If there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to ask. Many times, if we don't have the expertise to help in a certain area, we can direct you to someone who does. Although this year looks to be just as challenging as last school year, know that you are surrounded by many people that support the tough work you are doing every day.

As with everything else, the MRVED Common In-Service days will most likely look a little different. The October date will feature a keynote message by Carla Tantillo Philibert. More information will be coming on the October date. The MELT Conference in January will still happen, however it will look different and offer virtual options. The April 1 date is a long ways off and our Teacher Advisory Council will be developing a plan throughout this fall.

The MRVED Common In-Service Dates

October 14, 2020 - Virtual

January 18, 2021 - MELT (TBD)

April 1, 2021 - TBD

MRVED Paraprofessional Conference Recap

On August 19, 2020, the MRVED hosted their first ever virtual conference for the paraprofessionals. The day started with a keynote by Carla Tantillo Philibert from Mindful Practices. Carla spoke about the importance of SEL and provided the paraprofessionals with a handful of awesome strategies they can use with their students. Teachers will have the opportunity to see Carla virtually during the October common inservice. After the keynote, the paraprofessionals participated in a handful of breakout sessions from trauma to good posture when working online to math and reading support. Overall the day went really well. The MRVED staff learned much about hosting a virtual conference and look to make improvements for each event. A huge thank you to our presenters, participants, and Katie in the MRVED office for handling registration and questions. You are all ROCKSTARS!

Minnesota Standards Update

Minnesota is in the middle of a massive standard review process. I thought it worthwhile to take a look at where each content area is at on the Minnesota Department of Education Timeline

Arts - Revised in 2018 - Was making its way through rulemaking to determine implementation. 2018 Standards

Science - Revised in 2019. Approved by the commissioner in 2020. Still in rulemaking to determine implementation. Commissioner recommends full implementation by 2023-24. 2019 Standards

Language Arts - Revised in 2020. Awaiting commissioner approval. Implementation will be made in rulemaking this year. 2020 ELA Standards Draft

Social Studies - Revised this year. Review Timeline

Math - Will be revised in 2021. 

Physical Education - Revised/adopted SHAPE America's in 2017. Reviewed every 10 years.

Health, Career and Technical Education, and World Languages - Established locally

Distance Learning Tool of the Week - Google Meet Breakout Rooms

If you are looking for a way to do breakout rooms within Google Meet, try the Google Meet Breakout Rooms extension. If you are looking for more information on how this works, join the Google Meet Breakout Rooms Facebook Group or visit the website.