Remote Learning Tips from Teachers
Working from home is challenging -- then you add a little human in to the mix. The phrase heard most often when chatting with professionals who have been working from home is “it’s been an adjustment”. Now add a toddler into your work flow. Or a kindergartner who just began school and is learning remotely. Or an energetic 10 year-old who wants less class time and more screen time playing their favorite Roblox game.
Some parents have chosen to send their kids back to brick and mortar schools simply because they have no other options. But for those parents brave enough to keep their students home, one of the most popular questions we have been asked: “How do we navigate remote learning?”
Wanting to give parents of all ages the best opportunity for success, we spoke with 4 local teachers from preschool to middle school to give you an insight to the school year thus far and provide some resources!
Communicate with your child’s teacher/school. Email, text, talk on the phone, zoom, read the newsletters.
Limit Screen Time
It is developmentally inappropriate for their learning to be entirely screen based. Limit screen time and turn to other avenues.
Get Some Fresh Air
Go outside every day! “Take a walk, ride bikes, chase bubbles, use sidewalk chalk, play catch.” Miss Jenny suggests. “It will burn off pent up energy and help them refocus.”
Read Every Day
Ask questions before, during, and after the story to develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. “Scholastic has a ‘7 Important Questions to Ask’ article that can be helpful.” Miss Jenny advises.
Follow Your Child’s Lead
Adapt lessons to their interests. Miss Jenny says this is key: “If they are not focused, move on to something else and circle back later. It’s about the process ... NOT the product!”
Have a Routine
Set a schedule and have a routine. “Making a daily plan keeps the momentum going. Use timers to help you stay on track.” Miss Jenny said.
Have all materials ready for the day, including lunches and snacks. This way you won’t have to interrupt the flow to find missing pieces and lose your child’s attention.
Take a note from The Home Edit and have a snack basket or shelf easily accessible. Let your little students pick their own morning and afternoon snacks. Keep a water bottle or cup available for them throughout the day.
Hold Them Accountable
Encourage your child to take responsibility for their space. Miss Jenny wants parents to remember: “Age appropriate chores encourage responsibility and self confidence!”
“With your child, their teacher, and yourself. This is new for everyone!” Miss Jenny says. “Always be kind.”
Create a comfortable area similar to how your child would be set up at school. “Make it feel like a little classroom!” recommends Mrs. Kreger. “Put up a little board where students can hang their work and have a supply bin nearby for easy access to crafting and art supplies.“
“Be sure to keep the area clear of distractions and only keep materials/supplies listed in the teachers plan for the day.” says Mrs. Nasby.
Organize Supplies Daily
Make sure your child has all the supplies needed near them so they can get to them quickly when the teacher is giving directions. “Have their work printed and ready in a pile for the day. Students should feel like they are responsible for getting their own materials and logging in too.” advises Mrs. Kreger.
YouTube videos, class Dojo, math manipulatives, white boards and markers will help both parents and children problem solve. Need a break? “GoNoodle for brain breaks!” recommends Mrs. Nasby. Mrs. Kreger says “I like to use a few different sites for books so that students have access to a wide variety of literature. I use Epic, Raz-Kids and Tumblebooks for my first graders. ABC YA has really fun learning games too.”
Stay On Pace
Keep with the schedule. If students work ahead it can create too much down time in between lessons. “I always tell my remote students that they can’t start an assignment until I am completely finished with directions.” says Mrs. Nasby. Mrs. Kreger also agrees! “Always listen to the teacher’s directions and follow their pace! If a student falls behind there are always times later in the day to make up the work.”
Sharing completed work, showing silent hand signals, zoom play dates, outdoor play dates with other remote students (if comfortable) are great ways to stay connected. “Some parents were worried about remote students being ‘distracting’ to in person students, but it actually has been really fun! It is keeping kids in the classroom engaged because they love seeing the students on our Activeboard answering questions and participating.”
Engagement is Key
Staying interactive and making time to engage with the e-learners is vital for this age. “My students are transitioning to doing all of their work using technology and it is difficult for them to grasp. It’s week 5 and they are already bored.” says Ms. Carrera. “Find different ways to engage with them.”
Keep a list of relevant resources that are being used for consistency with the classroom. “USA Test Prep, MobyMax and Google Classroom are what I use most often.” says Ms. Carrera.
Utilize Office Hours
If your teacher offers after school hours, make sure your student takes advantage of them. “I schedule office hours with the online students twice a week so they have my full attention. If a student falls behind the pace of the class, they are to do the work as homework.” Ms. Carrera advises. As a parent - take this time to ask the teacher any questions and engage in their school work with them. It will help give you an insight to any challenges they may be facing.
Engage in Class Discussion
When the class is working on an assignment, encourage your student to partake in engaging in the class discussion! “I teach science and a lot of the assignments are understanding different structures and functions. I’ll have students physically draw out for example the earth and hold up what they are drawing for me and other students to give input/compliment.”
Staying open minded and being able to problem solve is a needed skill for parents looking to do remote learning. Even teachers are having to adjust, so know that you are not alone. “This is my first year teaching so everything is my new normal! I did not have an expectation other than to stay fluid and improvise.”