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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

 MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings


April 1st Evaluation

We hope you had a great day of professional development on April 1, 2021. The day was designed to provide districts with the flexibility to meet their own unique needs. If you participated in any of the MRVED activities throughout the day, please take a minute or two and fill out the April 1st Common Day Evaluation. The feedback you provide gives valuable information to our various groups as we plan and design other common days.



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

MRVED Update - March 17, 2021

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

March 18, 2021 - Title III (Virtual)
March 19, 2021 - Principals' Council (Virtual)
March 25, 2021 - Superintendents' Council
April 1, 2021 - MRVED Common Inservice (Virtual)

April 1 Common Day

With warmer weather on the horizon, April 1st will be here before we know it. The MRVED will continue to work towards our Social Emotional Learning goals for our common days. Since we can't all come together again, the MRVED is creating a website that will include SEL activities, as well as a handful of webinars that teachers can watch with specific discussion questions. Teachers are encouraged to utilize the activities and/or videos in groups (PLC, Grade Level, Content Area). There are some excellent, high quality activities, and videos for teachers to access. Look for the website roughly a week prior to the event.

Also, as part of the April 1st date, the MRVED will be piloting an idea to try to effectively collaborate amongst our districts from a distance. The collaborative time will take place between 10:00-12:00 on April 1st. Instead of the MRVED controlling which virtual platform will be used, we are leaving that up to the teachers who wish to start a collaborative meeting. Teachers will have the power to decide what and when they want to collaborate, all you have to do is place a video call link into the document listed below. Please have your collaborative group and link listed on the document no later than Friday, March 26 at 3:00 PM.

If you wish to collaborate around a certain topic, or grade level, or even content area, please sign-up using the document linked below. 

Collaboration Zone Sign-Up

Look for more information from your district pertaining to a schedule for the day. The SEL videos and activities can take place at any time during the day or even after. The Collaboration Zone will take place from 10:00-12:00 on April 1st.

Professional Learning Opportunities

The Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Symposium

The annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium provides an opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators and parents to gain greater understanding of the unique needs of gifted and high potential learners. Participants attend in-depth sessions focusing on foundational knowledge, creativity, curriculum strategies, and social/emotional needs of gifted and high potential learners provided by the field's finest regionally, nationally and internationally recognized presenters. All are welcome to register and attend the symposium.

When: June 15-17, 2021
Where: Virtual
Registration: $100


What Have We Learned From COVID - 1 Year Later

As we soar past the 1 year anniversary of COVID-19 shutting down our schools, I have begun pondering the question, "What have we learned?" I have also wondered what aspects of COVID teaching will we take with us into the future? What things will we leave behind? What shifts have we made? The questions go on and on. As I was thinking about this, a very succinct article about this very topic scrolled past my Twitter feed, so I thought I would share it here. I would like to hear your thoughts about what we have learned one year later.


Resources

Supporting Students During the Derek Chauvin Trial

The upcoming trial of Derek Chauvin might be one of the biggest trials in the lives of your students. This case has the potential to be as big as the OJ Simpson case, although the contents of the trial are much different. The one thing we, as educators, need to remain cognizant of is how different groups of people will react to the trial and eventually the verdict. Some people will simply ignore the trial and not want to talk about it in their classrooms. Others will see this trial as a teachable moment for our students. With the contents of the trial being racially charged, it's important that we provide accurate information as it is presented. Intermediate District 287 has put together a variety of resources about supporting students through the trial. The bottom line is that as educators, we don't need to force our opinions of the trial on to our students. Our job is to support them through their emotions about the trial as well as provide them with accurate information. You can sign-up to receive updates about the trial by going to the trial website.

New Test Specifications for English Language Arts & Science

With new standards released the past couple years in Science and English Language Arts (ELA), means a new MCA test eventually. The ELA test will first be administered in the 2024-25 school year and the first administration of the Science test will be the 2023-24 school year. With each test, MDE must create a test specifications document. This document in the legislatively controlled document that guides the test creation. You can access the drafts of the new ELA and Science Test Specifications below. Please note, both documents are still considered to be in "draft".

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

MRVED Update - February 24, 2021

MRVED Business


Upcoming Meetings

February 24, 2021 - Superintendents' Council

March 12, 2021 - Title III Paraprofessional 

April 1st Common Inservice Day

With warmer weather on the horizon, April 1st will be here before we know it. The MRVED will continue to work towards our Social Emotional Learning goals for our common days. Since we can't all come together again, the MRVED is creating a website that will include SEL activities, as well as a handful of webinars that teachers can watch with specific discussion questions. Teachers are encouraged to utilize the activities and/or videos in groups (PLC, Grade Level, Content Area). There are some excellent, high quality activities, and videos for teachers to access. Look for the website roughly a week prior to the event.

Also, as part of the April 1st date, the MRVED will be piloting an idea to try to effectively collaborate amongst our districts from a distance. The collaborative time will take place between 10:00-12:00 on April 1st. Instead of the MRVED controlling which virtual platform will be used, we are leaving that up to the teachers who wish to start a collaborative meeting. Teachers will have the power to decide what and when they want to collaborate, all you have to do is place a video call link into the document listed below. Please have your collaborative group and link listed on the document no later than Friday, March 26 at 3:00 PM.

If you wish to collaborate around a certain topic, or grade level, or even content area, please sign-up using the document linked below. 

Collaboration Zone Sign-Up

Look for more information from your district pertaining to a schedule for the day. The SEL videos and activities can take place at any time during the day or even after. The Collaboration Zone will take place from 10:00-12:00 on April 1st.

Updates

MN Social Studies Standards Update

Since releasing the first working draft of the social studies standards in December, the Minnesota Department of Education has received significant feedback from throughout Minnesota. To provide time to review all of the public comments, the department is building more time into the process of revising the standards. The Social Studies Standards Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 2, is canceled. The second draft of Social Studies Standards will be published later this spring. This will provide the time needed to thoroughly review the feedback received. The next Social Studies Standards Committee meeting will be held Thursday, March 25. Watch the social studies standards page for updates on the Social Studies Standards revision process, future public comment periods, and meetings. With the extended time period to provide time for feedback, review and revision, the final draft of the standards will not be completed until fall of 2021.

There are also two bills working their way through the MN House and Senate. One calls for the complete disbandment of the committee, while the other calls for a halt in activities until next year. There was also a bill introduced to completely stop ALL standards review. It is not known at the moment if any of these bills has enough support to make it to the Governor.

Online Relicensure Webinars

With the cancellation of MELT, I have had a handful of teachers contact me looking for places to watch webinars to meet relicensure requirements. Be mindful of any "free" professional development websites. Many are filled with advertisements and/or not good quality. I have been recommending the following resources:

ASCD - ASCD is one of the leaders in professional development for education.
MDE - Minnesota Department of Education offers training on a variety of topics throughout the year.
Learning Forward - Need to be a member to access, but membership is not too expensive

Always check with your local continuing education committee to ensure the webinars meet your local requirements.

Resources

Relationship Article

Many of our students are back in the classroom. One of the most prominent phrases I hear from teachers is, "The kids are so happy to back with their classmates." You can really tell the kids lacked peer to peer relationships throughout distance learning. Now that most are back, we also need to remember those that continue with distance learning. How are we creating relationships with those students? How are we helping foster the peer to peer relationships. Edutopia provided a great article by Liz Kolb, titled A Focus on Relationships When Students Aren't Together. The article provides some good activities for teachers to reach those students at ta distance. Give it a read today!


Editing Videos in Google Slides

I was recently asked about how to shorten a video that is stored in Google Drive. There are different options for this. You can upload the video to YouTube and use the YouTube studio editor. You could also use another web application like WeVideo. While researching the topic more, I also found another way to edit Google Drive videos; use Google Slides! Check out this post from Jeffrey Bradbury on how to do it. Sometimes the most complicated problems have the simplest solutions.



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

MRVED Update - February 3, 2021

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

February 5, 2021 - Principals' Council 
February 10, 2021 - MRVED Board
February 19, 2021 - Title III Teachers
February 24, 2021 - Superintendents' Council


MDE Science Call with MRVED Recap

John Olson from MDE met with MRVED teachers on January 18. John talked about implementation timelines and standards rollout.

John shared the following documents

MDE Science Documents



Social Studies Standards Update

The 2nd draft of new Minnesota Social Studies standards was scheduled to be released sometime in February has been delayed until spring. MDE cites the reason for the delay is for MDE and the committee to review a "significant" number of public comments. With this delay, it was subsequently delay the final adoption of the standards into next school year. The first draft of the standards can be found by going to the MDE Social Studies website. It is high recommended that if you are a teacher and/or parent of school-aged children that you review the document to become fully informed of the proposed changes. The next public comment period will be available after the review of the 2nd draft this spring.


Hot Topics

Grading During the Pandemic

Talking with educators, one of the common questions many people are wrestling with is "How do I grade kids during the pandemic?" With gaps in learning, kids at different spots academically, some kids learning from at home, etc...How do you fairly grade everyone and everything? Below you will find a short, but powerful article from Joe Feldman and Doug Reeves.

ASCD Educational Leadership Article on Grading


Children's Screen Time Has Soared During the Pandemic

The headline is probably not shocking to anyone, but as we revert back to "normalcy" what effect has all this screen time had on our kids? The New York Times published an article in mid January about this very topic. It is a very thought-provoking piece, one that has ramifications in the classroom. How do we "detox" our kids from their screen time addiction?

Children's Screen Time Has Soared During the Pandemic - Matt Richtel


Technology

13 Virtual Games to Play in Your Elementary Classroom


Now that many of our elementary schools are back to in-person learning, the question now shifts to, "How can we utilize the at home devices effectively in our classrooms"? Here is a great article from Emelina Minero from Edutopia with 13 virtual games for the elementary classroom.

https://www.edutopia.org/article/13-virtual-games-play-your-elementary-classroom

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 (braymo@mrved.net) know.


Articles

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


SEL

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!


Technology

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


MRVCTEC

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.


Resources

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