All posts by Jill Gough

Learner, Love Questions, Problem-finding, Math w/technology. Interests: Collaborating, PLC, Formative Assessment

Day 10 (Day 5 Week 2) Learning from home: We are teaching and they are learning

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it,
does it make a sound?

I have been asked the following question numerous times over the past two weeks.

If teachers are at home, are they teaching?

And, my answer seems shocking to my family and friends who do not have school-age children in their homes.

Teachers are working harder and longer.

But, that is such an incomplete statement.

Teachers are working harder and longer and in different ways. Their creative problem solving is unparalleled.
Their teaming has strengthened and deepened.

The Fifth Grade Team gave me permission to post their learning plan for this week. Please join me in thanking them for this gift.

I wanted you to see the magnitude and depth of care, work, and learning experience when we are apart.


Morning Greeting  with Ms. Thomas

Reading:  Angled summaries

Summarizing can be a tough skill. You want to include enough info without including TOO MUCH. To summarize only the most important info, it’s helpful to stop and ask yourself,

 “What’s this section really about?” 

Whatever your answer to that question can be your leading statement – a claim. Then, you can just tell the important events that best support the deeper idea. 

To do this successfully, you’ll need to be able to state a message, lesson or theme. 

Important points to consider:

    • What parts of the section best support your order? 
    • Tell them in order
    • Only tell the ideas that go along with your idea, don’t bring in unrelated parts 
    • If there is more than one big idea/theme, you can include both of them in the leading statement.

Let’s look at Bud, Not Buddy, chapter 9

Using your independent reading book, create a summary of a section that you have read using a copy of this Google doc. *Remember to share the document with your base teachers.*


    1. Watch the video above.
    2. Over the next few days, you will be researching the pros and cons of drinking chocolate milk. Today, you will start with the pros
    3. Watch this video and read this article. Then highlight any evidence you find to support the benefits of drinking chocolate milk. 
    4. *Remember to share the document with your base teachers.*

Additional, optional resources: video, advertisement, article


Use Seesaw (complete these in order):

    1. Watch ”Instructional video: Multiplying fractions and whole numbers 8-1 & 8-2” and follow directions.  The “instructional video” is a lesson created by Mrs. Swanton, not an “outside” video.
    2. Complete “Multiplying fractions and Whole Numbers”
    3. Watch “Instructional video: Multiplying a fraction by a fraction 8-4” and follow directions. This is also a lesson created by Mrs. Swanton

Don’t forget DreamBox! At least 20 minutes.


Weeklong Goal: Take one photo or video of you doing your science work some time this week. Put it into Seesaw Entitled: “Week 2 Science Virtual Learning”

 Read pgs 6 and 7 in your Kids Discover “Cells!” magazine. Highlight the important information using a highlighter or underlining with a pen. Annotate these pages by writing the key important ideas in the margins. 

Missing your magazine? A copy of the two pages is on the MyTrinity Science Page, Topic: Genetics and Heredity. 

Not sure what to highlight? What to annotate? See my example on the MyTrinity Science Page, Topic: Genetics and Heredity. As we begin to practice this skill, you can use my examples for guidance. 

*Note: on my annotations, I have three places with a “*”. This is where I would have written a question because the information left me wanting to know more. Instead I did some quick research and wrote it here. You can write questions as your annotations too!

Delivery: No delivery of your work is required, but if you want feedback, you may take a picture and put it in Seesaw, and I will look at it. When you are done, put your Cell magazine away in your binder.


Do a round of the “4 Breaths” — This time try to do the “Breaths” in a place in your house or yard that you’ve never done them before.

*Challenge: Take a photo or video of you doing the breaths and send to Ms. Swanton or Ms. Sears!

Social Studies

Please read/review your Studies Weekly newspapers weeks 14 and 15 (either online or paper newspaper). Create your own review guide for World War II using this WWII Guide and share it with your base teachers. Please type in black ink. You have all week to complete this, but pace yourself. We suggest you work on this some each day. 


Sketchbook Drawing
How to Draw a Face- Basic Proportions:

This is a great skill builder that you can use forever! 

Follow this tutorial to learn how to draw the proportions of a face. (10 min.)

How to Draw a Face-Basic Proportions

If you would like any feedback or just want to post it on SeeSaw, please do so! I love seeing what you are doing. Enjoy!

(or at least your neighborhood)  TO SEE!

Take a drawing you created and tape it (drawing side towards the outside) to a front window so anyone walking by your house can see it! Make their day and make them smile. 

Write a positive and uplifting message of your choice! (Have a great Day, Enjoy Nature, Breathe, Be Happy, SMILE, etc) Take a picture and share it on SeeSaw!

Physical Education

And… that is just Monday.

If you want to see the full week’s worth of plans, activities, videos, and more, you can check it our here.

Here are a few scenes:

And… that is just one grade-level of the nine grade-levels in our school.


If teachers are at home, are they teaching?

Yes; yes they are!



Day 9 (Day 4 Week 2) Learning from home: Goldilocks


For some, what we are doing is too much.

Please know that we hear you, and we understand. We are grateful for anything that you do.  We made an intentional decision to take slow, deliberate steps to rollout distance learning so that you had time to adjust. Being home with your family and working from home and making sure there are enough groceries and TP and managing your children and sharing wi-fi, devices, and scheduling to meet as many needs as possible is overwhelming. We hear you. We understand. It is going to be ok if you don’t get all of the school stuff “done.”

You are doing your best. It is enough.

For some, what we are doing is too little.

Please know that we hear you, and we understand. We are grateful for your kind critique and suggestions.  We made an intentional decision to take slow, deliberate steps to rollout distance learning. Being home with your family and working from home and making sure there are enough groceries and TP and managing your children and sharing wi-fi and devices, and scheduling to meet as many needs as possible might be overwhelming. We hear you. We understand. We have already increased teacher visibility and teacher-to-student connections and plan to add more synchronous time in the coming weeks. More is coming.

For some, what we are doing is just right.

Please know that we hear you, and we are grateful for your feedback and encouragement. We made an intentional decision to take slow, deliberate steps to rollout distance learning. Being home with your family and working from home and making sure there’s enough groceries and TP and managing your children and sharing wi-fi and devices, and scheduling to meet as many needs as possible could be overwhelming. We are glad you are managing it well.  We have more activities and connections coming so that your child or children have somthing new to look forward to each week.

Know that we are with you; we love you, and we miss you.

In her holding the center blog post, Sarah Barton Thomas, summed it up best:

Patience, grace, flexibility, and hope are critical character qualities, always, but especially right now.

I wish you patience, grace, flexibility and hope.


Day 8 (Day 3 Week 2) Learning from home: Learning is the constant; time is a variable

I was never a fan of the “flipped classroom” idea. You know, the teacher records the lesson, the students watch it at home, and then they can “do” homework in class the next day just in case they have a question.

Well, today is a different story.  Today, I cannot be in the room with the learners in my care to facilitate their learning.

I will confess that I dabbled with the “flipped classroom” idea as both a middle and high school math teacher back in the day.

Joking (halfway) with me, my students would comment that it was easier to pause me on video than in person.

So, here we are in this universal situation. How might we leverage video to offer students the time they need, the ability to press pause, and the luxury of replay and rewind? What might be gained if everyone watches the mini-lesson once, twice, or as many times as they need before they meet with their peers and teachers? How might we learn and grow together while apart?

I love this feature in Seesaw.  Students can take notes and go at their own pace. They can watch and listen more than once if needed.

Now, our face-to-face time has a more level playing field. Everyone had the opportunity to take the time they need to take notes and think about their structure as well as the regularity found in the repeated reasoning.

A quick check to begin class is to have partners compare their predictions for Figure 4 and refine if needed.

Here’s how I anticipated student work. Also, I know that Kristi is going to have them plot the order pairs (figure number, number of orange squares) on the Cartesian coordiante plane, so you’ll see that in my notes as well.

As I said… I dabbled years ago, and I am so grateful that I did.  The “flipped classroom” did not fit my philosophy then, but we sure need it now.

We love our students and our colleagues. We could not have imaged teaching and learning in this way, but it does now offer learners the time they need to think, to draw, to write, and to discover.

While we want to be together sitting side-by-side, we are harnessing the power of technology to afford learners the time they need.

Important time.

Deep foundation building time.

Learning is the constant. Time is a variable.

Day 7 (Day 2 Week 2) Learning from home: Together and apart…we are Trinity School

You know, words really matter.

I wish we had called this physical distancing instead of social distancing.  I need my colleagues, professionally and personally. I miss our students and the buzz of excitement throughout the school day.  Trinity School is a joyful, happy place.

I feel so connected to my team, our teachers, and our students. I see so much more of their learning, their work, and their love for their teachers. It is because I am not taking it for granted.

To be clear, I do not take our teachers and students for granted. I have been taking their presence in the same physical space for granted.

This week, we are rolling out our first synchronous connections with students.  The joy is overwhelming.


So, friends… Let’s look deeply at beautiful faces, creative work, and joyful learning. While there is physical distance separating up, we are not distant. I feel connected in new and different ways. I hope you do too. #MindsetMatters

Together and apart…we are Trinity School.

Day 6 (Day 1 Week 2) Learning from home: Choral Counting – it’s what we normally do; you can too

Choral Counting is an invitation; it provides an opportunity for each student to generate important mathematical ideas and for teachers to be curious about their students’ thinking. (Franke, pag.)

We want teaching and learning to remain as normal as possible during the time we are apart.

One important part of our math program is choral counting.  We believe choral counting lays a deep foundation for developing algebraic reasoning as well as fluency. Choral counting empowers learners to visualize and verbalize relationships and patterns.

Here’s a quick nine minutes of why and what to do.

We do not limit choral counting to our Early Elementary Division. We offer the following examples to show how we planned and anticipated what students would notice and learn.

Choral Counting: Start at 6; count up by 5

Choral Counting: Start at 0; count up by 2/3

These activities help us enact our commitments to equity. We know that a sense of belonging and investment, of being seen, known, and heard by teachers and classmates, is fundamental to creating schools where children and families feel welcome and where they flourish. Because these activities foreground student sense making and cultivate a joy for doing mathematics, they can be powerful tools for teachers to counter narrow views that only a few can identify with mathematics or that mathematics is disconnected from students’ home lives, their communities, and their own interests. (Franke, pag.)

As I said in the video, start with blank paper, sit side-by-side with your child. If there’s more than one child at home, have them do this together – the more the merrier! Don’t be afraid to start with 1 and count by 1’s even with older children. The patterns change every time you change how you write it down, and we see curiosity grow. The patterns are intriguing to all.

Franke, Megan L. Choral Counting & Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK-5 Math Classroom . Stenhouse. Kindle Edition.

(Note: My book is at school, so I cannot cite page numbers. I will update when I have the physical book. This above citation is what Kindle generated for me.)

Tech Tip: Subitizing with Quick Images in Seesaw

It’s been a loooooong time since I made “Tech Tip” videos, so I’m a little rusty. Please forgive me.

Trinity School uses Seesaw for our student learning portfolios to help students collect artifacts of learning, select evidence of learning, and reflect on how they’ve learned and grown.  Parents use Seesaw to see their child or children’s learning now and their growth over time.

MyLearning portfolios have been active at Trinity School for the past 8.5 years. Rhonda Mitchell, now Early Elementary Division Head, was the MyLearning designer and facilitator in those early years. Marsha Harris, now Director of Curriculum, researched and lead the transition from Evernote to Seesaw three or four years ago.

Our students and teachers have been using Seesaw to collect, select, and reflect on their learning. As we are now apart, we are learning more and more about distance learning, and we are collecting more evidence of student learning to see growth over time. #Awesome.

While we cannot be together, we want our learning experiences to be as close to normal as we can get.  One important number talk that we use across our school is subitizing with quick images.

Below are two videos that show the student view of a Seesaw activity for Dot Talks (a.k.a. subitizing) and then a quick Tech Tip video on how the Seesaw activity was created. These are rough cuts. I can drop them in iMovie and fancy them up, but that can wait.  Right now, we are working to be true to ourselves and our vision of teaching. Later, we will improve these. Please forgive any missteps and bobbles. I’m sure the outtakes reel will be hilarious.

Subitizing with Pennies on Ten-Frames


Illustrative Mathematics Grade 6 Unit 1 Lesson 6: Area of Parallelograms. Activity 1: Missing Dots.
Download for free at


Here’s the “How to” video to create a quick image using Seesaw.

We hope you will share your creative thinking, problem-solving, and learning as we go forward.

I hope this helps.

Day 5 Week 1: Learning from home – Intentional efforts to get us here

Exhausted, but proud and pleased describes how we feel at the close of Week 1 of learning from home. I want to share the intentional steps taken by the entire Trinity School community that got us here.

Joe Marshall, Head of Trinity School, challenged the Academic Leadership Team to lead the distance-learning planning, facilitation, and execution from our philosophy of learning. Here’s what we have done.

Develop, practice, and maintain foundational skills
in a multi-sensory way.

We commit to a whole-child approach to learning at Trinity.  We are taking a whole-family approach to distance learning.

To that end, we are going to use the tools and resources (Google, Seesaw, Dreambox, Keyboarding,  that we already use in learning and teaching. It is enough for our families to manage right now. We will not switch platforms or products at this time; we will not add new log-ins and new passwords any time soon.

We know that Trinity students are best served when with Trinty teachers. We did not prevent students from coming to school so that we could have a PD day to “get prepared.” We are prepared as far as communication tools go. Our students were with their teachers every day last week.  We chose to focus on student learning, and we know that we made the right decision.

We know that children learn best through intentional tasks and activities and that sitting in front of a screen for too long is unproductive.  At school, we follow a schedule to help everyone be together, and we limit the use of screen time.  While at home, our young learners will be with their families – our families – and the times will need to be scheduled by the family’s needs.

We will not have Morning Meetings in Week 1. Taking a whole-family approach, we know that families need time to adjust to their new normal. If both parents are working, they might need their child or children to sleep later in order to get work done before splitting their attention between work and learning.  Likewise, we know that our faculty members also need time – the same time  – to adjust to their new normal.  Remember, we have Trinity faculty members who are also Trinity parents.

So, in Week 1, we shared learning plans that provided multi-sensory learning experiences. A week’s worth of learning plans published to our families at 8:00 a.m. last Monday morning using our parent portal, MyTrinity. It is what we use whenever we need to send an announcement or post information.

Our teachers provided  daily math, reading, writing, and movement tasks/activities along with some Specials classes activities/tasks to emulate our current schedule.  We offered these tasks but did not schedule them. Families could choose when to learn to meet the needs and timing of home.

Over the course of the week, we saw and shared evidence of multi-sensory tasks being completed by active, engaged children. You can check it out at #TrinityLearns on Twitter and #TrinityLearns on Instagram. Some examples follow:

In Week 0, while still in the building teaching, learning with, and caring for our students, we asked teachers to embrace and enact the following goals.

  •  I can collaborate with my team to plan for age-appropriate distance learning.
  • I can plan, organize, and share age-appropriate activities that develop, practice,  and maintain foundational skills in a multi-sensory way.

Candidly, these two goals are the Trinity way of teaching and learning in or out of distance learning.

I grabbed one day’s worth of plans to share the level of planning for one day in a very short time while continuing teaching and learning together. Note: This is not any one day. It is a mock-up using actual activities/tasks from several different grade levels. I have asked teams for permission to share their full plans next week. As we move into Week 2, we will again adjust to a new “more” normal.  We know our teachers long to hear from and see their students.

We know the reverse is true too.

I hope you can see the deep, intentional, multi-sensory learning our teachers have provided. In Week 2, we will “see” each other more and more, asynchronously and synchronously.

I’ll keep you posted.