When schools closed in mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we know students had varied success with distance learning. Students finished the school year at home as national, state, and local leaders scrambled to make sense of the pandemic’s impact.
In response, the San Diego County Office of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction team spent the summer creating integrated and thematic units of study for grades K-12 based on state standards, so teachers can spend time making connections with their students and focusing on the essentials.
These units of study are designed to jump-start the first eight to 10 weeks of distance learning for any teacher across the state.
“We wanted to provide lessons with all the content areas woven in, so we unpacked the state standards and found patterns and themes,” explained Dr. Shannon Baker, senior director of the Learning and Leadership Services division. “These units of study are designed to accelerate learning and teach key, grade-level standards.”
Early on, the San Diego County Office of Education Curriculum and Instruction team saw the need to provide families and educators with the tools to connect students to engaging learning opportunities at home. In partnership with The San Diego Union-Tribune, content coordinators created a nine-week Learning at Home Bingo feature in the Sunday newspaper. The weekly lessons integrate different content areas (math, science, English language arts, etc.) across grades K-12 so that the activities are accessible for all students and support teachers’ efforts.
These new units of study are something tangible that teachers across the state can grasp onto while concentrating on their students social and emotional well-being.
“These units are rigorous and thought-provoking with time built in to talk and share through social and emotional check-ins,” Baker said.
The units of study are designed for teachers to easily download, customize, and then upload to their district learning management system as curriculum. They are not meant as a substitute for the core curriculum, but as a supplement to kick-start learning with what’s essential.
“Through our partnership with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, thousands of SDCOE staff hours went into creating the integrated curriculum,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “We know mitigating learning loss is critical this year for all students, but especially for the most vulnerable populations who have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Teachers can download the curriculum at https://bit.ly/SDCOE-Learn.