A Note to the Habits of Mind Community


By Bena KallickArt Costa, and Allison Zmuda

This is not the way any of us would have imagined the last weeks of school. Shuttering schools has caused families all around the world tremendous hardship as we all are doing our best to protect health, manage finances, balance schedules, and grieve loss of events/milestones/face-to-face interactions as well as loss of loved ones.

And this temporary shift has started to become a new worry for how we will do school for 2020-21. Many state departments and ministries of education already are asking local officials to develop flexible plans for scheduling learning to support social distancing as well as possible remote learning based on health data trends of COVID19 and flu season.

As educators, school leaders, and family members … we all did the best we could managing this first wave. It caught us by surprise. This is an exhausting climb to embark on for an already weary school faculty, yet what we do know is that we have to grapple with teaching and learning experiences for next year right now.

For example:

  • We can examine and pare down existing curriculum documents to focus on critical content and skills for the entire course, perhaps weeding out 30-50% of coverage.
  • We can rework the order of units to take advantage of likely windows when we have our students (onsite and virtual).
  • We can retell the story of our course curriculum by making creative choices to:
    1. Frame compelling questions and clarify learning goals;
    2. Design meaningful assessments that require them to investigate, examine, create, and demonstrate; and
    3. Develop learning modules (“Week at a Glance”) to clarify expectations, assignments, and support.
  • We can plan to develop students’ autonomy by modeling and providing feedback on how to manage goal-setting, schedule time, engage with others in and out of school.
  • We can seek out stories from students on how they made sense of their time at home — shifts in perspective, curiosities they pursued, challenges they faced.
  • We can help students design ways to document and reflect on their work over time (e.g. portfolios).

Blogposts that speak to this challenge:

From Mike Fisher7 Questions to Ask in Our Transition Plans

From Eric ChagalaAaron Roberts, and Allison ZmudaAre You Up for a Design Challenge?

From Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda:

From Bena Kallick and Giselle Martin-KniepWhen and how civic discourse can define action

We are so appreciative of the many ideas that you have been sending to us. We will be pulling them together and sending out in another newsletter.


Bena Kallick
Twitter: @benakallick
LinkedIn: Bena Kallick
Art Costa
Allison Zmuda
Twitter: @allison_zmuda
LinkedIn: Allison Zmuda


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