KCS C&I Update | February

Resources to Support Teaching & Learning in KCS

Canvas Updates

  • Canvas New Rich Content Editor Update - on January 16, 2021 Canvas updated the RCE to improve User Experience. Click Here for resources to help you and your students adjust to the new layout.
  • Grade Passback FAQ's - now that this feature has been live for a month in KCS, we've seen many teachers benefit from its use! Due to the recently-developed nature of this sync between Aspen & Canvas, we are still learning & making small adjustments. If you are a current user, or interested in starting with this feature, below are some resources that will help you navigate this tool.
  • Grade Passback Teacher Instructions
  • Grade Passback FAQ's

Virtual Conference Opportunity for Social Studies Teachers

Who: K-12 Social Studies Teachers

What: The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies will offer more than forty sessions for teachers of all grade levels and social studies content areas during the 2021 TCSS Virtual Conference. Teachers registering for the conference will have access to all sessions as they will be recorded and available for one year. Registrants will also have the opportunity to win gifts.

When: February 22 - 26 will be scheduled from 7-9 p.m. ET.

How: Registration costs will be covered by KCS, so please contact Angie Smith at agsmith@k12k.com to be registered.

For more information go to CLICK HERE!

Social-Emotional Learning

One of the major areas of focus for educators during this Pandemic has been Social-Emotional Learning. It has never been more important for us to model strategies & make space for students to pause, reflect, & address their social & emotional well-being. Many teachers & students have experienced the isolation, stress, & trauma during the past year, and we must tend to our well-being before we can grow and learn. Below are some resources to help you develop an intentional plan of support for your students.

5 Strategies for Incorporating SEL Into Learning

  • Being Mindful (of Yourself & Others)

    • Paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment

    • Increased attention leads to better performance academically and increased emotional and social intelligence.

    • Children are better able to learn, to nurture themselves, and to be aware of their own emotional needs.

    • When students can observe their thoughts and feelings they have the freedom to choose how they will speak and act–which can lead to a happier, more harmonious classroom.

  • Clarify Thoughts and Feelings

    • Research shows that students who are more resilient are more academically successful.

    • Resilient students bounce back quicker, are mindful of their thinking, understand their beliefs, and importantly are able to challenge their beliefs and thoughts to create more positive outcomes.

    • As a teacher, you can help by listening for the emotion, then helping your student understand where that emotion came from and how to adjust their thinking in a way that contributes to their social emotional well-being.

  • Model Perseverance

    • A really important aspect of wellbeing and SEL is the ability to accomplish things in life. Many students naturally strive to better themselves in some way, whether they are seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event.

    • Other students need some coaching in this area. Teaching students each and every lesson that to accomplish things takes effort, patience and perseverance is really important. Praise for EFFORT is critical in this area of SEL. Each student will need to be encouraged to set stretch goals and establish habits during lessons to feel a sense of accomplishment.

  • Listen with Empathy

    • Part of SEL is an understanding of the importance of positive relationships. To have these relationships we need to demonstrate empathy. Teachers have a wonderful opportunity to model empathy. Encourage students to listen to others, then ask them to listen to be surprised, and try to understand how other students might be feeling.

    • Teach students to ask questions framed to encourage response not encourage defensiveness.

  • Emphasize Gratitude

    • Once again research is showing that a really important aspect of well-being is gratitude. This research indicates those who regularly express gratitude have more energy and enthusiasm, less stress, and better physical wellbeing.

    • There are some very simple ways to increase your experience and expression of gratitude; however, this may require that we train ourselves to do this intentionally.

    • For students this can be done by incorporating some simple exercises into each lesson. At the end of each class ask students to reflect on the lesson with a check out question such as “What areas of this topic would you like to learn more about?”

SEL Professional Learning Opportunity

In March 2020 with school closures, KCS teachers and instructional assistants had the opportunity to learn more about SEL by taking the Trauma-Informed Resilient Schools online course offered by STARR Commonwealth. If you completed that 6-hour course and are interested in taking the second course in the series, Resetting for Resilience, please complete this Google Form to sign up. You will be contacted with further instructions once Megan Templeton has enrolled the group and purchased the course for you. You may view a brief video about the course HERE.

Professional Learning

Previous Professional Learning Resources

Below are some of the Professional Learning sessions held during January. For access to resources, click here to access our Archives page.
  • KCS Teacher In-service - 1/4
  • KCS Virtual Edcamp - 1/4
  • Digital Tools - Nearpod - 1/19
  • Middle School Math Book Study - 1/21
  • FERPA & Students Experiencing Homelessness - 1/28
  • K-5 ELA Curriculum Collaborative - 1/27
  • Promoting Student Voice - 2/4

Upcoming Professional Learning Sessions

Click the image to access the PL Calendar, and below are our planned February Professional Learning Sessions:
  • CanvasCon recorded sessions are available - click here!
  • K-2 Math Collaboratives - 2/9 @3:45-5:00
  • T2L Leaders Meeting - 2/10 @3:45-5:15
  • 3-5 Math Collaborative - 2/11 @3:45-5:00
  • Digital Tools - Student Voice - 2/16 @3:45-5:15
  • ELA Middle School Book Club - 2/17 @3:30-4:00
  • Middle School Math Book Study - 2/18 @3:30-4:00
  • T2L Leaders Meeting - 2/23 @3:45-5:15
  • ELA Middle School 6th Grade IFL Call - 2/23 3:15-3:45
  • K-5 ELA Curriculum Collaborative - 2/25 @3:45-5:15
  • ELA Middle School 7th Grade IFL Call - 3/2 @3:15-3:45
  • Promoting Student Choice - 3/4 @3:45-5:15

Curriculum Updates

Literacy Updates:

Celebrate Black History Month with these read alouds:



Mathematics Updates:

Dan Finkel believes we have the power to help mathematical thinking flourish everywhere. He states that we cannot afford to misuse math to create passive rule followers. Math has the potential to be our greatest asset in teaching the next generation to meet the future with courage, curiosity, and creativity. And if all students get a chance to experience the beauty and power of authentic mathematical thinking, maybe it won’t sound so strange when they say “math…I actually love math!” Dan Finkel proposes these five principles of extraordinary math teaching to help students develop into mathematical thinkers:

1. Start with a question

2. Students need time to struggle

3. You are not the answer key

4. Say yes to your students’ ideas

5. Play!

Click on the link to listen to Dan Finkel’s Ted Talk - Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching (14:41)

Contact Us!

Dr. Rhonda Stringham, Assistant Superintendent - Instruction


Dr. Dwain Arnold, Chief Academic Officer - Elementary


Dr. Brian Cinnamon, Chief Academic Officer - Secondary


Christian Horner, Innovative Learning Coordinator


Emily Helphinstine; Literacy Coordinator


Pam Stidham; Math Coordinator