Thank you everyone for the warm welcome to the Aidan community and your patience as I step into my role as Learning Support Specialist!
Education systems are adjusting to life during a pandemic. For Aidan, this might mean more screen time for students during their Hybrid schedules. Here are some practices you can use at home to support your students’ online learning.
1. Dress the part
“When you look good, you feel good!”
Have your student in the routine of getting up and out of bed just like they were getting ready to go to school. Not every day online should be pajama day (as comfy as it sounds)! When students are dressed and ready to go like they are about to head off to school, they feel like they are ready to learn, even when it’s online.
2. Create a learning space for your child
Whether it’s a desk, the kitchen table, or whatever room mom and dad are not working in, make sure your student is set up for success. Your students’ own space that is reduced from clutter can help them feel focused and ready for the day ahead. Set expectations for what your student needs when entering their “work zone”. They should have their computer (fully charged and ready to go), charger (if using a laptop), notebook, writing utensil, any projects, or books currently being used for classes in their workspace. Headphones with a microphone are also great to have in case of technical issues, focus, and to reduce background noise.
By now many families have their routines when it comes to their students being online. Find out what works best for you and try to stick to it. It’s good to communicate with your children on expectations and goals each week. One way you can do this is by creating a checklist for your child and involve them when making the checklist; it’s a great way to keep your student accountable. It is also a great communication tool to check in with your child on what they are doing and see what they have accomplished by the end of the day.
Every child is different and has their peak times for learning, but here is some interesting research to consider.
“Academic researchers found that the hormonal responses triggered in early morning were best suited to short-term memory and routine --math study-- and that hormonal responses in the afternoon suited long-term memory activities, like reading” - Andrew Aarons
For example, if your student chooses to work on math, memorizing snap words, or vocabulary, the morning is a good time for short-term memory work, while long-term memory tasks -- like reading comprehension and writing are more successful in the afternoon.
I’m sure every day your child BEGS you to go to school! Take this fun acronym, write it on a sticky note or piece of paper to put in your students work station. Have them practice this saying every morning as they prepare for another week of hybrid learning!
- Google classrooms
Have your child take a few deep breaths (and maybe yourself too) as your student enters their workspace and before logging onto their screen. This can help them clear their mind and prepare for the day ahead. Once your student is in their work zone physically and mentally they should open a tab to their email. Schedules and plans seem to be always changing with this pandemic. Email is the quickest/easiest way for teachers, administrators, and everyone else to effectively communicate with everyone. By having your student consistently checking their emails they are sure to stay on top of any changes or reminders. Next, open Google Classroom and look at the stream and daily assigned tasks. Students should be familiar with Google Classrooms by now and using it as a daily resource. Finally, students should have a separate tab to open their schedules. Having the schedule as a separate tab makes it easier for students to navigate between schoolwork and zoom links. Please let me know if you need any assistance with any of this. When your student BEGS you to go to school, remind them to use B.E.G.S before they start a hybrid learning day.
4. Manage Frustrations
Online learning can be frustrating, between technology issues, distractions, multiple schedules, and so many other factors. Encourage your student to take screen breaks if you see them getting frustrated or stuck. Setting a timer for work or as a reminder for meetings can also relieve the pressure. Reassure them that it is ok to take a step away and refocus. Physical exercise and going outside are great ways to hit the reset button!
Another idea for a great screen break is printing off the work instead of staring at the screen for hours. Encouraging your student to physically write things out before typing them will also help with spelling, word recognition, memory, and helps keep them from relying on auto-corrections.
Try breathing exercises or mediations to work on at home when your child is feeling stressed or needs a break.
- Tapping Meditations for kids (Emotional Freedom Technique “EFT”): https://www.thetappingsolution.com/tapping-solution-kids-resource-center/
- Deep breathing exercises: https://copingskillsforkids.com/deep-breathing-exercises-for-kids
- Mindfulness for Kids: https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-for-kids/
- Smiling Mind
- Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness
Finally, communication is key! Keep checking in with your child regularly. You understand your child best and how they communicate their frustrations. Children perform better with routines and when they know what others expect of them; so keep communicating with them. In addition, keep communicating with the staff at Aidan with any changes in the home that may affect your child’s learning. Online learning can be challenging for staff because we can not see the child’s nonverbal communication or interactions with others that are happening during school hours at home. Communication helps everyone be on the same page.
5. Have fun!
There are many fun family games you can play at home that work on reading, math, executive functioning, and language skills, and here are some suggestions: Madlibs, Zingo, Blink, Story Cubes, Ticket to Ride, card games, Word Ladders.
Have fun with your students at home if you have the availability, bake bread, try a new science experiment, or write a story! “The best thing to spend on your child is time.”
At the end of the day you know what’s best for you and your family, so see what tips/tricks fit your students’ style. We are all in this together, so please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss how we can best support your student!