I spent eight years teaching, and one of the things I remember most, second only to my students and my conversations with them, was the immense amount of time I spent curating just the right resources and materials during lesson planning.
If you’ve been a teacher, you know what I mean. You’ve also spent hours curating materials or drafting assignments, because, as you know, the right materials matter so much in teaching.
I was reminded of this in the first few days after my children’s schools closed. Their teachers hadn’t had time to send materials home yet. So in the middle of making cloth masks and figuring out a schedule so that my partner and I could both work full time, I tried to pull together some learning activities for my son, who is in first grade, and my two-year old daughter.Before I knew it I was digging through an old junk drawer, sweat dripping from the end of my nose, desperate to find a glue stick, some pipe cleaners, anything that would keep my children away from the T.V. for thirty minutes.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you work at a Regional Center or state education agency. I know you’ve spent more time than you could have ever imagined supporting the people you care about –your own families and colleagues, along with teachers, students, and their families. You have always known that teaching and learning doesn’t stop when schools close.
In an effort to help, our team at the National Center has curated collections of continuity of learning resources for families, educators, school leaders, LEAs, and SEAs. In addition, we’ve curated topical collections –resources to support equity and social emotional learning, and resources for offline use.
We’ve kept these collections purposefully focused, with six or fewer resources in each collection. We didn’t want to duplicate efforts or add to the resource overload so many people are already feeling.
While I worked to curate these lists, I was reminded many times of my work as a teacher, the late nights I spent in front of the computer screen, searching for just the right materials for my students.
The verb to curate has its roots in Latin and originally meant “to take care of” or “to pay attention to.”Educators, school leaders, and staff at education agencies–we know are busier than you’ve ever been. Our goal in curating resource collections was to create something that, in a tiny way, made you feel cared for, something to help as you shoulder the immense weight of protecting equity and improving learning outcomes for kids.
From us at the National Center, from me as a parent, and for the countless educators and students you support –thank you for working so very hard to make sure that learning keeps going.
- Katrina Boone is a former teacher and a capacity-building lead at the National Center.