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.

Day 4 Week 1: Learning from home…Snow day; YAY! This…NO WAY!

“Did you put a spoon under your pillow?
Did you flush ice cubes down the toilet?
Remember to sleep with your pj’s on backward and inside out!”

All in hopes of a snow day.

In January and February, when the temperatures trend toward 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the conversation around school would change. Excitement would build…would it come? You know, that amazing call, text, or email that said school was canceled, and it was a SNOW DAY! Yay!

This is different.
This is not okay.
While we would cheer, “yay; snow day,”
we now say, “no…not this way!”

We are learning, and we are together, even though we are apart. It is not the way we want to have school, but we are making the best of our situation. We know that it is important to #FlattenTheCurve and keep ourselves and our communities safe.

In case you are wondering if deep learning experiences are possible when we are forced to be apart, check out our students working through these age-appropriate activities that develop and practice foundational skills in a multi-sensory way. (Here are just a few glimpses of our students – our children – doing their part to learn and to honor our routines.) #Amazing


Watching school and learning from home is possible and is happening. You can check out more of what we share using #TrinityLearns.

How was it different than a normal day at school?

While I saw additional outcomes of our planning and work, I got to work with more teams to plan new learning experiences for next week. I wish you could see how intentional the planning, teaming, and effort is. #Grateful

Sarah, Rhonda, Marsha, and I got to meet with and hear from all 23 Specials teachers. We are awed and proud of their teaming to provide high-quality tasks for students. More than half literally said, “I am learning so much!” There should never be a doubt of these teachers’ commitment to Trinity School and our students.

How was it the same as a normal day at school?

#Joyful I spent the bulk of my day with teachers and my team.  I continue to express how grateful I am to work with such dedicated thoughtful teacher-leaders who are eager to plan new engaging, multi-sensory tasks.

What will I need to do differently tomorrow? 

I need to move my office to the back deck to have some sunshine! I also want to cut more screencasts for parents, teachers, and students.

I’m curious… How was your day the same? How was it different? What adjustments do you need to make?

And today: Super Better QUEST 19: What’s Your Number?
Today’s ratio: 3:1

Day 3 Week 1: Learning from home

On Day 3 of Week 1, Trinity School faculty teams are busy, busy, busy.  Team meetings are more frequent than normal as we work to plan for Week 2 of distance learning.  What could be accomplished as we eat lunch or pass in the hall now calls for a scheduled meeting. It is tiring and so great! We are learning more and more each day. And, thinking about how mindset matters, check out my calendar and notice the locations for these team meetings. #Awesome

Watching school and learning from home is fun. You can check out more of what we share using #TrinityLearns.

How was it different than a normal day at school?

I saw more outcomes of our planning and work. I love seeing our students’ workspaces, recess activities, and experiments. I know the teachers appreciate seeing their plans in action. #Grateful

I moved more today than yesterday, but not enough. I did have lunch with my daughter, and we helped each other take a much-needed break.

Scout-puppy stayed near me for most of the day and attended a couple of team meetings, well, he peeked in to say hello.

How was it the same as a normal day at school?

#Joyful I spent the bulk of my day with teachers and my team.  I continue to express how grateful I am to work with such dedicated thoughtful teacher-leaders who are eager to plan new engaging, multi-sensory tasks.

More visitors came to my office. Thank you, Rhonda, Sarah, Marsha, Justin, Sarah M., Kate, and Brian for dropping by.

I also learned new things about Google Meet, Zoom, and Seesaw.

What will I need to do differently tomorrow? 

More movement is still needed. My door remains open, and I am taking more brain and physical breaks. I still need to set a timer to remind me to walk outside, take the stairs in our home, and stretch. I’m reading Super Better by Jane McGonigal, and I want to try to create a power-up for more movement.

I also want to cut a couple of screencasts for parents, teachers, and students.

I’m curious… How was your day the same? How was it different? What adjustments do you need to make?

And today: Super Better QUEST 19: What’s Your Number?
Today’s ratio: 3.5:1

Seeking brightspots and dollups of feedback about learning and growth.

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