Have all the desks been wiped down? Is everyone wearing their masks? Can everyone log in to the virtual learning classroom? Is the video lesson downloadable? Is the struggling student prepared for the next module or do they need more time with the last one? What do parents need to help with this transition?
With so much uncertainty around back-to-school in 2020–2021, there’s even more on teachers’ plates; they need their best instincts amplified so they can do the same for their students. But more than ever, their time is limited. The ability to plan and prep for a day’s lesson is nearly edged out by the need to make learning safe and/or accessible for all. Creating and organizing classroom-ready slides (for whatever form “classroom” takes) and putting the lesson’s materials where students can find and use them are some of the time-consuming tasks a digitized, time-saving curriculum can take off teachers’ to-do lists. The same goes for working with a curriculum that stands up to state standards and fits the pedagogical needs of the district: Promoting scholarship and supporting the needs of all learners will build confidence and further ease a stressful situation.
When states and districts pursue a time-saving curriculum that frees teachers up to connect with individual students, engage creatively, and customize lessons for greater impact, they’ll reduce burnout, no matter where or how the learning takes place. Lightening teacher workload while empowering them requires a program that optimizes both planning and instruction. The “must-have” checklist for time-saving curriculum housed in a user-friendly platform should look something like this:
- Slides: Already made and organized
- Content: Easily navigable
- Materials: Linked at points of use
And that’s just the beginning. There should also be support for differentiation, including guidance for students who need additional support and extension activities that push students deeper into the subject matter. It should also be platform- and device-friendly, integrate seamlessly into your LMS, and utilize formative and customizable assessments. All this together with a highly rated curriculum gives your educators a good chance of being well-positioned for the teaching year they never saw coming.
The Colorado Department of Education found a few winning options for 2020, including LearnZillion EL Education English language arts curriculum. It was one of only four curricula approved for K–2 core programming. So what set it apart for Rocky Mountain educators?
The review board noted, “Engagement texts paired with appropriate decodable readers are a unique strength of the program. […] Phonics instruction is structured and includes differentiated small group instruction, an appropriate skill progression and opportunities for practice in decodable text.”
In addition to EL Education’s knowledge-building and literacy-growth qualities, the full time-saving curriculum is digitized on the LearnZillion platform with thoughtful organization and the tools to plan, instruct, and assess. LearnZillion has already been shown to save teachers 45 minutes per day, and that extra time can now go a long way for those taking on new challenges in distance learning or rigorous safety measures in the classroom.