Rising to the Challenge: Teaching Literacy Virtually and with Magic: Grades K-8

Wednesday, August 12 - Thursday, August 13, 2020
Hours: 11am-4pm Eastern Standard Time
Institute will be offered virtually through Zoom.

Grade: K-8
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
525 W 120th Street, Box 77
New York, NY 10027

This institute will help you with your immediate goals of becoming increasingly graceful and adept at virtual instruction. There will be small group instruction with TCRWP staff developers. The institute aims to support teachers and literacy coaches.

Across the two days of the institute, you’ll become ever more confident first with getting started, if that’s what you need most, and then with teaching ‘live’ over remote platforms, with creating vibrant pre-recorded, flipped lessons, read alouds, and messages to families, with running a variety of conferences, clubs, and small groups. You’ll also learn about content (digital reading skills, peer conferring in writing, for example), that becomes more significant as kids are learning over digital platforms. Together, we’ll harvest the experiences of teachers, coaches, and tech experts who have been digging into this work.

One main strand of the institute will address connectivity — how to stay connected and create intimate environments for your students, from our youngest readers and writers to our all-too-often lonely pre-teens. You’ll find out about flexible office hours, about one-on-one conferring that makes a difference, about ways of reaching out to our most vulnerable students and families to work towards greater equity as schools move to online learning during the Pandemic.

Another strand will support you in adapting and innovating curriculum for “when the world hands you a curriculum,” to quote Sara Ahmed. You’ll learn about kids who are keeping Pandemic journals, who are collecting stories, ideas, and information about their experiences in this historic time. You’ll consider how to connect kids with other young writers across the country and around the globe, so kids can be sharing their experiences. In the same way, you’ll consider the nonfiction curriculum that is the Pandemic, and both how to make that more generative for young students, and comprehensible for older students.

We’ll also help you teach the most beautiful parts of your units of study and your reading and writing workshop, adapted in thoughtful ways for your new platforms, when you are ready. You can run beautiful book clubs, even if some kids are watching film clips, some kids are listening to audiobooks, some are in apps, and some have print in hand. You can get kids doing beautiful notebook work, or playing spelling games, or exploring phonics. We’ll help you look ahead to the curriculum in the upcoming months, thinking carefully about what matters most.

Finally, we’ll support you, in supporting your families. We’ll coach you in supporting multiple literacies, in offering support for students with learning differences, in doing the very best you can to make learning, at least, a bright spot in these months.


You’ll need a device for attendance. We will be instructing via Zoom, but we will also be addressing local platforms such as Google Classroom, See-Saw, FlipGrid, and so on. The institute is hands-on, and you’ll have opportunities to use your platform as well as the institute Zoom.


The cost of this institute is $375 per person. This institute will be offered live, in real-time, and will not be recorded for later distribution.


This institute will be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.