Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Fall 2020

The Illinois Quality Afterschool team at the American Institutes for Research has compiled this list of resources to help you and your staff provide high-quality 21st CCLC programming. This Resource Bulletin brings you the latest information on afterschool research, best practices, tools, conference proceedings, policy briefs, professional development tools, and activities. We hope you will share this list of resources with your staff.

Program Management

The Value of Mentoring

Every year, college students work in summer and afterschool programs, but they rarely continue as career professionals in the field of expanded learning. “The Value of Mentoring,” an article in AfterSchool Today, the National AfterSchool Association's official publication, explores the role that professional mentoring plays in encouraging young expanded learning staff to become career professionals. The article outlines the traits of good mentors and mentees and explains how mentoring represents an investment in afterschool programs. 

4 Key Elements for Designing Remote Professional Learning

If your afterschool team is meeting virtually, you can still offer meaningful, engaging professional learning opportunities for your staff. This article from Edutopia lists key elements for designing remote professional learning. It also provides examples and links to resources.

Diverse Learners

Supporting Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities may face unique learning challenges during school closures or conversion to virtual programming. This blog post from You for Youth (Y4Y), the U.S. Department of Education’s online portal for 21st CCLC grantees, provides strategies to support students with disabilities during virtual programming. The post lists a series of strategies, with links to organizations and resources that support students with disabilities.

Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching

PBS Learning Media has developed a virtual professional learning series on tools for anti-racist teaching. Topics include deepening your understanding of race and racism; using media to know better, teach better; amplifying student voice; and focusing on young learners. 

Social and Emotional Learning

Caring for Children and Youth in Crisis

Afterschool Alliance has created a two-part webinar series to help afterschool staff support students who have experienced trauma. Part 1 of the series focuses on using evidence to support trauma-informed approaches to healing in afterschool. Part 2 discusses how to create healing-centered environments in afterschool. The archived webinars are available with free registration. 

Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence

As the pandemic and the nationwide fight for racial justice amplify the longstanding inequities in education and other sectors, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has released a new report: Emerging Insights on Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence. The report summarizes five emerging insights on advancing SEL as a lever for equity and excellence that districts at all stages of their SEL implementation can reflect on as they shape their strategies.

SEL in the Out of School Setting

SEL+OST=Perfect Together: A Conference Report is a new publication from the Wallace Foundation that provides fresh insights on SEL in out of school time (OST). The report is based on a day-long meeting that brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to look at two key challenges. The first involves developing the ability of adults to teach social and emotional skills. The second addresses communicating the importance of those skills to those who may be unaware of how vital they are. Topics explored in the report include research findings on nurturing social and emotional development, creating an environment where SEL can thrive, and language that can help parents and other caregivers understand why SEL is important. 

Afterschool Enrichment

Fostering Academic Discussion Online

Encouraging students to talk about what they are reading or to talk through a math problem helps them build or clarify their understanding of a topic. A new blog post from Match Charter Public School outlines strategies and examples for fostering academic discussions in a virtual environment. Strategies include establishing conversational norms, choosing lines of questioning that promote meaningful engagement, encouraging active participation, and planning supports for English learners and students with individualized education plans (IEPs).

Nurturing a Classroom Community During Distance Learning

Are you looking for ways to build relationships and nurture your learning community during virtual programming? This blog post from Edutopia lists several examples. Strategies include smaller group size, one-to-one and small-group check-ins, and creative use of visuals and video. 

Exploring the Remote and Distant World of Physical Education

Between ongoing stress and trauma and the amount of time students are seated at computers, physical education is more important than ever. This 15-minute webinar from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation showcases best practices to keep students active during online learning. Free registration is required. 

Academic Enrichment

Inquiry-Based Social Science: Instructional Planning and Strategies

Inquiry skills, or questioning, investigating, reasoning, and taking responsible action, are core concepts informing the Illinois social science standards. To support educators and students with inquiry skills, Illinois Social Science in Action has developed Inquiry-Based Social Science: Instructional Planning and Strategies. This Inquiry Kit provides a collection of resources and ideas to support educators as they create lessons and activities aligned to the Illinois Social Science Standards.

7 Ways to Do Formative Assessments in Your Virtual Classroom

Finding out what students are learning remains indispensable to teaching and enrichment. If your 21st CCLC program is offering online programming, this article from Edutopia provides strategies for checking for understanding online. Strategies include quick checks, digital journals and one-pagers, elevator pitches, sharing learning through social media, peer-to-peer evaluations, and virtual exit tickets.

How Fan Fiction Inspires Kids to Read and Write and Write and Write

We know from research that students are more likely to engage in writing activities if the topic interests them. Fan fiction, a type of writing that builds on or takes liberties with existing stories, can help ensure students are writing about a topic of interest. This story from public media station KQED’s MindShift podcast explores how fan fiction can inspire reluctant writers and readers. 

Family Engagement

Class and Family Book Tasting During Distance Learning

A new blog post from Achieve the Core, a website to help educators implement Common Core State Standards, has strategies for conducting read alouds during virtual learning. One strategy includes a family “book tasting,” where students and their families collaboratively read or listen to excerpts from several books until they choose one to complete together. The blog post notes that several authors have made audio versions of their books available for free in recent months and provides links to free resources for identifying and selecting stories. 

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Copyright ©2020 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2020 and was funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) with support by the U.S. Department of Education. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the AIR or any other source. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce and disseminate it in whole or in part is granted as long as appropriate acknowledgment is given.