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Engaging Every Student

September 4, 2020

Case Study: Educators grow, reflect, and evolve in the face of uncertainty

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Pear Deck Team

Background

Flexibility has been the rallying cry for nearly every educator in the face of 2020’s pandemic, and Lynwood Unified School District is no different. One key piece of their flexible approach to remote learning is Pear Deck — which they found adaptable for both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and which gave them visibility into student needs to further adapt their approach.

How Pear Deck helped

Eighth-grade teacher Vennieta Grant knew she would have to get creative when her first round of scheduled video calls yielded not one attendee. Between incidents of online bullying and conflicting family schedules, Grant realized that synchronous learning was no longer an option. She told herself, “I’m moving forward with compassion and flexibility. I’m keeping my high expectations. My students need this understanding and connection. This is an opportunity to grow and reflect and evolve.” And so she pivoted.

“There are so many different gems [within] Pear Deck—it doesn’t have to be done one way; there’s so many different options to meet the needs of our kids.”

- Vennieta Grant, Eighth-Grade teacher

Grant made several accommodations with Pear Deck: First was a block-schedule approach to asynchronous instruction and independent work. Grant was able to combine several days’ lessons with necessary scaffolding into a single Student-Paced Pear Deck. Students could move through a week-long unit in one sitting or several, depending on their schedule. Second, Grant was able to monitor their participation remotely via the Teacher Dashboard, “It gives you a window to be able to look at your students’ progress.”

Results

According to the district’s Digital Learning Coaches, Kathleen Graham and Sandra Naranjo, some of the most compelling data coming out of Lynwood’s “pandemic teaching” was the increased use of Pear Deck’s SEL templates. When Grant casually dropped a “What’s filling your bucket?” SEL template into her Pear Deck lesson, she says, “I wasn’t even ready for the responses.” After learning how overextended her students were feeling, she chose to extend deadlines and record the lessons that students were struggling with. Overall, Lynwood’s moments of student engagement through Pear Deck’s SEL templates have quadrupled since schools closed.

Future plans

“It’s good to see that the teachers are adapting as they go; they’re seeing what works and what doesn’t, and changing what they need to change,” says Naranjo. That flexibility, and their ability to utilize Pear Deck in a variety of scenarios, will be the key to finding success in an instructional future full of uncertainty.

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Pear Deck Team

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Pear Deck

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