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The Just ASK 2020

Opening of School Checklist is Now Available!


The Just ASK 2020 

Mentor’s Opening of School Checklist is Now Available!


Distance Learning Collection

Don’t miss the August 24, 2020 update

The Just ASK Team has written new articles and updated some older ones as 2.0 versions to support our many colleagues who are starting the 2020-2021 school year tasked with creating positive and productive learning experiences from a distance. We will continue to add to this collection and hope that you find it useful in your challenging work. Please feel free to share with colleagues near and far, and do be sure to check back often.

Distance Learning Collection
Table of Contents

Ten Tips for Enhancing Distance Learning (Paula Rutherford)
Lessons We’ve Learned (Marcia Baldanza)
Parents as Partners 2.0 (Bruce Oliver)
Maximizing Distance Learning (Marcia Baldanza)
The Writer’s Notebook (Heather Clayton)
Messages from the Children (Bruce Oliver)
Empathy in the Time of Coronavirus (Marcia Baldanza)
Tips for Promoting Student Engagement During Online Sessions
(Heather Clayton)
What Do We Do Now?  (The Just ASK Team)
Mentoring From Near and Afar (Paula Rutherford)

Tips for Recording and Using Instructional Videos (Heather Clayton)
NEW! Stop… in the Name of Learning 2.0 – 18 Practices to Rethink
(Bruce Oliver)

Coming soon! Teaching, Learning and Leading From Near and Afar
(Paula Rutherford)

To access an article, click on the title.


In the News


Top Recommendations for the First Few Weeks of School 

The August 2020 Mentoring Memo provides both newly curated tips and reminders about the some of the most widely used copyright-free tools available in our Mentoring Resource Center. Featured tools include the Distance Learning Collection, the Mentor’s Opening of School Checklist, “The Big Picture,” an article from the Mentoring in the 21st Century e-newsletter archives, the Mentoring in the 21st Century Online Tools and Templates, and the video clip “Messages for New Teachers.” You are authorized (and encouraged) to copy and/or distribute all tools featured in this memo for non-commercial use.

Access the Mentoring Resource Collection.


Stop… in the Name of Learning 2.0
(18 Practices to Rethink)

Several years ago I wrote a issue of Just for the ASKing! titled “Stop… in the Name of Learning.” The content was based on classroom observations I had made over time as a principal and professional developer and on conversations about practices that teachers shared during workshops. Sometimes ways of thinking, routines, and practices surfaced that were not always in the best interest of learning.

In 2020 we are dealing with new realities so I decided to resurrect the original concept with a focus on teaching and learning in the age of Covid-19. Given our hectic lives, it is no surprise that we do not ask ourselves often enough if our actions are high leverage choices for promoting student learning. The pandemic-induced turmoil we are now experiencing provides both a mandate and an opportunity to think about how to best move forward and, as we do so, consider which of our practices need to be revisited as we make instructional plans for the future. In this 2.0 issue I offer alternatives to consider. I hope that these observations and recommendations will result in discussions, debates, and most importantly, deliberate decisions that better support student learning. Read on to investigate the possibilities!

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Ten Tips for Promoting Student Engagement
During Online Sessions

Heather writes, “When designing synchronous learning sessions, plan on using that time for the construction of meaning. Avoid lecturing about information that can be obtained during asynchronous learning, and save precious online sessions as a time for students to engage in discussion and interact with you and each other. Make them a time when students apply their learning and gain clarity.” No matter which online platform you are using for synchronous learning (ie. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet), you can use the transferable strategies she discusses in this issue to bolster student engagement. Read this issue now!

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Tools for Leading High Functioning
Teams in Virtual Times

The September 18th brief titled Tools for Leading High Functioning Teams in Virtual Times is now available. Marcia writes, “Working remotely is not a new concept but is now in everyone’s lexicon and lives thanks to the COVID pandemic. Work that we once thought could not be remote, is being done remotely. Teams and teamwork have always been important to high performing cultures, but in this remote environment, supporting team leaders, facilitating effective team meetings, and recognizing team efforts and accomplishments are even more important.” She shares some tools that can make this leadership function easy.   Learn more.

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Just ASK uses a common language and concept system to provide a systemic approach to teaching, learning, and leading in the 21st century. Thousands of educators across the country are using our publications and products, attending our institutes, and participating in our onsite workshops. Their application of their learning has led to more students learning more, more of the time!