MCCESC Teaching & Learning

May: A Year in Review


This school year of unknowns is nearly its close, and we are well aware that it is a challenge to keep students engaged during these final weeks. We wanted to share with you some of the information we included in previous newsletters from this year that may be of assistance in this final stretch.

As we look to plan for next school year, your input is greatly appreciated. Please complete our educator survey to provide us insight on your professional learning needs and barriers. We have also created Google Classrooms for those in the following courses to begin the collaborative process of developing assessments for HQSD. You can read more here.



Foreign Languages

General Music

HS ELA (non-tested)

HS Math (non-tested)

HS Science (non-tested)

HS Social Studies (non-tested)

MS/HS Choir

Multiple Disabilities

Physical Education & Health

Science (3,4,6,7)

Social Studies (3-8)



Teachers Have Been Amazing This Year

August: Building a Culture of Care with Community Circles

Community Circles is the name given to a process based on the philosophy of restorative justice, which is focused on building relationships. The goal of these circles is to create harmony in the school community by creating a sense of belonging and connectedness.

In this Community Circles process, certain ground rules are established so a safe place can be created where people (be they students, teachers, and/or families) can come together, with a facilitator, to build and maintain relationships.

If you click the picture to the left, it will send you to watch a video overview on Community Circles.

August Focus: Prepare for 2020-21

September: Resources for Families of Exceptional Children

AFIRM Modules are designed to help you learn the step-by-step process of planning for, using, and monitoring an EBP with learners with ASD from birth to 22 years of age.

The team at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute developed a free online toolkit to help families and caregivers supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 virus.

NCPMI provides services with the goal of promoting the positive social, emotional and behavioral outcomes of young children (birth through five), reducing the use of inappropriate discipline practices, increasing the inclusion and ongoing participation of young children with disabilities in early childhood settings, and the promotion of family engagement.

Tips for Families in Supporting Their Children with Disabilities in Virtual Formats

Stop Learning Loss

Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) is OPEN and HERE TO HELP YOU! While we will continue providing resources to help you cope with COVID-19, we also understand the power of education and for that reason, all of our educational trainings and workshops through the month of May 2020, will be provided virtually and from the comfort of your home.

September Focus: Resources for Parents/Guardians

November: 8 Ways Teachers and Schools Can Communicate with Parents

(Information from edublogger Kathleen Morris)

It would be no surprise to most educators that research identifies family involvement in schooling as a key predictor of a student’s success.

Clear, continuing, two-way communication is imperative.

But what is the best way for teachers to approach home-school communication in our rapidly changing world?

Family life is evolving with many parents working full time and juggling various commitments. Teachers may see parents at the classroom door less than they used to, and opportunities for interaction are more limited (not to mention the social-distancing limitations and virtual teaching situations for many).

With these changes also comes exciting new opportunities. The good news is, in our technology-rich world our approach to parent communication can be stronger than ever!

đź’ˇ Click HERE to read more

November Focus: Creating Partnerships with Families

December: Promoting Discourse

Discourse and its Importance

In an article by McGraw Hill (2018), it is stated that "Generally, classroom discourse encompasses different types of written and spoken communication that happen in the classroom. Today, that definition goes even deeper to include representing, thinking, interpreting, expressing, reflecting, agreeing and disagreeing, and even debating and arguing."

The illustration shows us that students learn 10% of what is read, 20% of what is heard, 30% of what is seen, 50% of what is seen and heard, 70% of what is discussed with others, 80% of what is experienced, and 95% of what is taught to others (Williams Glasser).

In John Hattie's Visible Learning (2012), he shares that:

  • "Teachers talk between 70 and 80% of the class time," and "teachers' talking increases as the year level rises and as the class size decreases" (p. 80).
  • Student engagement is higher when teachers talk less, especially in at-risk students (p. 80).
  • Only "5-10% of teacher talk triggers more conversation or dialogue engaging the student" (p. 81).
  • Teacher effectiveness and teacher talk are inversely linked - "when highly effective and other teachers were compared, the former had more general class talk and less directive talk" (p. 81).

So How I Get My Students to do the Talking?

1) Open up class with a hook. Remember when we were taught this in college? It is often one of the first things thrown out of class because of time; however, it is a great opportunity to get students talking. An easy idea for any subject area is "Would You Rather?" Whether you have your students openly answer or write their answers, this would a great way to assess prior knowledge, application of newly taught information, or simply incorporate humor into class.

2) Give students the opportunity to collaborate with peers - either synchronously or asynchronously. In a synchronous setting, students could be placed in breakout rooms with pre-made (or not) Jamboards or Google Slides. In an asynchronous setting, you could assign questions on Flipgrid, Kialo Edu, or Parlay for students to discuss, debate, or share out their learning.

3) Provide students with sentence starters, higher-level stems or questions that they can utilize to keep the conversations going. Often times, discussion dies off because students do not know how to keep it going or what questions to ask next.

4) Keep looking for new ideas. While researching resources for this article, I found an extensive list of blogs with lessons, instructions, and examples on how to promote discourse in remote teaching.

December Focus: How To's for Remote Teaching

January: Writing as an Assessment of Learning

In focusing on assessment, teachers are faced with a multitude of options. This over-abundance can really hinder the planning process for teachers, but one option that remains consistent across all content areas is writing.

The fact is, writing is an experience in which students should engage in all content areas. This allows students the exposure and practice necessary to overcome the challenges that are inherent in using writing as a means to assess. This means students are less likely to face the challenges of not only content (what is being assessed) but also process (the skill needed to "perform" the task of the assessment). Writing provides us a way of making sure our assessments are truly assessing the standards we intended to teach and assess.

Simple Ways to Assess the Writing Skills of Students with Disabilities

As an ELA teacher, it is imperative that I not only use writing to assess student learning, but that I assess student writing (two different things most of the time). That means assessing the skills of ALL my students. This website, Reading Rockets, does a nice job of providing insight and examples of assessing the writing skills of students with disabilities.

The Writing Revolution

If you have never read this book, it is a phenomenal resource for not only ELA teachers, but any teacher who wishes to utilize writing in their classrooms (a highly-effective strategy). Here are some assessment tools for independent writing. They are even customizable based on content/topic.

January Focus: Assessing Student Learning

February: Active Engagement Tips

  • According to the Mississippi Department of Education (2018), the following 8 suggestions will assist in the implementation of active engagement in your classroom:

    • Have a classroom management policy already set in place.
    • Teach social skills and expectations before working in groups.
    • Teach procedures for everything - no matter the grade level.
    • Choose a firm "quiet signal" and use it.
    • Provide time for students to work out answers to questions before calling on them.
    • Give students enough think time.
    • When you ask a student to explain or show the rest of the class, have students respond directly to that student.
    • Group students in pairs to begin.

February Focus: Active Student Engagement

March: Project Learning (and PBL Choice Menu)

Cult of Pedagogy (2014) describes choice boards and learning menus as "empowering students through choice while ensuring adherence to important learning goals."

Choice menus are designed to provide a variety of instructional options while students work toward learning goals. They give students the opportunity to select tasks that appeal most to them. While the teacher directs the process, the student is given control over his/her choice of options, order of completion, etc.

For the choice menu below, select a task from each area to extend your understanding of project-based teaching:

Appetizers (pick one):

Select a brief video about project learning to whet your appetite.

Main Dishes (pick one):

Select a reading to chew on and digest.

Dessert (optional)

Choosing one of the following activities will help to solidify your understanding of project-based teaching by selecting and implementing already planned projects.

March Focus: Project Based Learning

April: The OTES 2.0 Shift

According to the Ohio Department of Education (2020), "the State Board of Education values the importance of promoting educator professional growth that leads to improved instructional performance and student learning. OTES 2.0 is a professional growth model and is intended to be used to continually assist educators in enhancing teacher performance. An effective professional growth model considers a teacher’s instructional strengths, while supporting identified areas for improvement according to the profile of each educator. This process is to be collaborative, ongoing and supportive of the professional growth of the teacher."

The Madison-Champaign ESC has 4 state-trained trainers who have conducted multiple training sessions for administrators. We have also created teacher training modules for districts, as well as presented strategies to assist teachers in meeting the expectations of a "SKILLED" educator.

April Focus: Being Evaluated Through OTES 2.0


Please reach out to us if you find yourself needing instructional or curricular help.

Reach out - we are here to help.

Madison-Champaign ESC

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Department of Teaching & Learning

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