And the Winner Is … | Creating a Culture of Sharing and Celebration of Teacher Work

Story shared by Rita Fennelly-Atkinson, Technology Design Coach

Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy has had an incredible year. In 2019, the campus was awarded the Verizon Innovation Learning Schools grant which provided all students with a Chromebook with cellular-enabled WiFi. In addition, the grant also provided ongoing professional learning and a dedicated technology design coach. With a focus on continuous improvement, the campus embraced the challenge of creating a blended and personalized learning experience that was firmly rooted in social emotional learning.

The journey to meaningfully and authentically create powerful blended learning experiences for students has required the entire campus to collaborate and support each other. Every campus staff member has worked tirelessly all year to learn how to use, model, and teach so many different skills, tools, and practices necessary for a successful implementation of blended learning. Over time, this has evolved into a culture of continuous collaboration, growth, sharing and celebration.

During these difficult times, the Sadler Means has intentionally used their PLCs to learn from one another and grow teacher leadership. Led by lead instructional coach Megan Fischer, PLC time has become a fun opportunity to celebrate the great work that teachers are doing every day to create student-centered remote learning experiences using Canvas (BLEND) and other tech tools . Sharing and learning from the amazing work teachers do every day has inspired a flurry of inspiration and creativity that has positively impacted students and the campus.

In an effort to document and continue to learn from the great work that teachers are doing, Sadler Means has begun honoring this work with Remote Learning Highlights. With teacher permission, the goal is to celebrate the great work of every teacher on campus before the end of the school year. Now that we are at the end of the 2019-20 school year we can look back at the examples of remote learning highlights collected during this time. While we look to the upcoming school year with the understanding that the instructional task will be different, these models still serve as examples of best practices that can be implemented in your blended or remote classroom.


Sadler SEL Team: Use of targeted advisory lessons, coping strategies, SEL challenges, and maintaining connection with Zoom.

Emily Clonan and Michael Esquivel (Math co-teaching): Use of a collaboratively-designed homepage with clear expectations for the week, engaging activities with technology, discussions for academic and social support, modelling of collaboration. 

Core Content Areas:

Natasha Bedford (ELA): Use of announcements for daily reminders and engagement in BLEND, authentic writing tasks and student-friendly design, videos for instructions, discussion, and authentic writing tasks.

Elizabeth Beller (Life Skills): Use of visual design with buttons, purposeful use of images in BLEND, interactive Zoom sessions, and parent-friendly design to engage family participation.

Thavy Duong (ELA/ESL): Use of consistent and clearly named modules in BLEND, purposeful journaling, high-level discussion prompts, and SEL-informed lessons.

Joyce Goodman (Reading): Use of welcoming BLEND homepage with clear contact information, clear directions for navigation, buttons that also serve as a preview of activities, and curated content to elicit interest and engagement from students. 

Michelle Grona (ELA): Use of engaging BLEND design for easy navigation, celebrating students for engaging in learning, integrating strong instructional strategies into a virtual asynchronous learning experience, and clear instructions for how to use i-Ready.

Theresa Schuette (ELA): Use of a student-friendly homepage, clear objectives and TEKS alignment, clear lesson structure and to-dos, application of writing based on their learning.

Shonda Moore (Math): Use of announcements to celebrate students, clear instructions for what to document for submission during learning activities, student-friendly learning objectives, and opportunities for formative assessment and reflection.

Gabrielle Palma (Math): Use of user-friendly design with instructions in English and Spanish, engaging use of Bitmojis for buttons and navigation, structuring modules based on the 5E lesson format, incorporating student feedback into the lesson design, and providing choice for how students learn the material.

Ariel Willis (Math): Use of consistent module structures and naming conventions in BLEND, use of engaging lesson hooks, assessments of learning that include fun questions, assessment of content learning and other student needs.

Audrey Dyer (Science): Use of visually engaging-design that provides an overview of objectives and learning activities in BLEND, opportunities for enrichment in which students can demonstrate mastery in a variety of ways, modelling of AVID strategies, and intentional teaching of digital skills.

Olivia Garza (Science): Use of student-centered Canvas design with visual elements and choice, providing multiple ways for students to learn and demonstrate their learning, and celebrating student work.

Katherine Sparks (Science): Pioneering use of Bitmoji buttons to guide asynchronous student learning, engaging students in regular discussion with specific teacher feedback, integration of content-based writing strategies, opportunities to provide feedback to the teacher in engaging ways.

Jorge Badillo (Social Studies): Use of clear instructions in BLEND, feedback in discussions, creative questioning for higher level thinking, and music for engagement.

Charles Quay (Social Studies): Use of engaging graphics, information in English and Spanish, engaging animated videos, multiple topic discussions in Padlet, to-do list with options for students.

Jordan Turner (Social Studies): Use weekly lesson overview in English and Spanish, interactive video learning with PlayPosit, student choice in how learning is demonstrated, and creative products to demonstrate learning.


Julianne Brown (Choir): Use of clear expectations and progression towards mastery, clear directions, asynchronous skill-building, and mood meter usage.

Pamela Ewart (AVID): Use of homepage with a calendar style overview of lessons in BLEND, explicit directions for how to use new tools such as FlipGrid, opportunities for students to reflect on their work, use of announcements.

Travis Hall (CTE): Use of regular announcements, purposeful Bitmoji buttons, playlist where students could engage in meaningful authentic learning towards a path to mastery, opportunities for collaboration and reflection, and providing choice, rigor and mastery.

Abigail Hammond (Orchestra): Use on a mastery-based choice board in which students were provided with a user-friendly design, clear directions, methods to track progress, opportunities to reflect, and provide feedback for the teacher. 

Monica Juarez (Librarian): Use of BLEND to deliver tutorials on how to use AISD digital resources, sentence stems, clear module structure and naming, and engaging students in challenges and blended book clubs.

Abby Lincoln (Theatre): Use of consistent structures and module design in BLEND, screencasts to support learning, extensions of student learning with real-life connections to performers, and SEL-informed movement breaks to support student learning.

Erica Powell (Physical Education): Use of student-friendly BLEND design that visually outlines weekly activities, providing students with a to-do list, daily activities to chunk and progress through learning, use of PRIDE literacy strategy, showing examples, and leading virtual PE Zoom sessions that were very popular.

Tabitihia Ramsey (Dance): Use of clear instructions, choice-based interactive activities, chunking, projects, and organized project timelines and checkpoints.

Linda Rank (Art): Use of a mastery- and skill-based choice board, clear instruction on how to use technology to submit work, virtual gallery of student work, and connection to a variety of artists.Laura Smetzer (Band): Use of choice board, student self-tracking forms, authentic transfer of face-to-face instruction to a virtual environment, and building of independent learning skills in class that facilitated the transition to a virtual classroom.

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