It’s hard to know what to say during these times, except to share my own thoughts. And to stay true to culturally responsive teaching (because that is my deep help beliefs), I just wanted to throw out a couple of thoughts now, especially when it comes to the new way of learning for students.
- There is a difference in completing assignments and learning.
- Learning will still occur the most when the affective filter is down and engagement is up.
- Being at home, with no state assessment looming over us, is the perfect time to have the kids learn organically and authentically.
Goals have changed a little bit. Especially for our elementary students, there will be the expectation moving into next year that students may not have mastered all of the new standards that were going to be taught at the end of this year, so teachers, being awesome, will adjust for that.
Teachers and support staff are also working tirelessly on moving everything online. I can only imagine how much work this is taking. They are having to take years of work and move it for every grade level to a totally different platform in a week. Not to mention the learning curve for many educators and parents on this technology. Also, many of the software platforms they want the students on are not built to handle entire the sheer number of students using them at one time, so students are getting knocked off or are unable to log on. It’s not going to be smooth. It’s not going to be a lot of hands on activities. It’s not going to be true cooperative learning. While is going to be good and it’s going to work, this can’t be the only place our kids (especially our younger kids) are getting learning. If they are anything like my kid, doing worksheets online only keeps his attention for so long.
Now is the time to be showing our kids how learning works at home! Yes, they need to practice skills they have learned at school and jump on the distance learning for a couple of hours a day – BUT learning is still going to occur when the students are doing hands on, relevant, and fun (yes FUN) activities.
We know that when the student is tired, stressed, defensive or bored, learning goes down. So if your student is being asked to do something they don’t know how to do, or they are being asked to do it past a reasonable point of time, or they are bored, you are probably going to have a battle on your hand.
There’s a rule of thumb when working with classroom management – if the class is out of hand, adjust your instruction first. Having meaningful, relevant engaging lessons will create classroom management way more than rules and punishment. So the same goes at home. If your kids are melting down when it’s time to do school work, that’s a sign that the school work isn’t cognitively engaging them…but what if learning could still do that?
We firmly believe it can, and we’ve pulled together 60 lessons that can be done at home (some together with you, and some the students can do on their own). I’ve made my kid do many of them as we’ve been creating this resource, and he has really enjoyed them, even the research part! He’s learning new things and applying the learning!
Let me give you this example: we did a science experiment on the density of objects compared to the density of water (we were wondering why goggles sink to the bottom of our pool but I can lay on a float all day and not sink!). We determined it didn’t have to do with weight but with density. Fast forward a few days, and we were doing an “I Wonder” activity that combined art (Shout Out to Katy Cook!) and one of our lessons. In the FB Live, Ms. Cook said “I’ve always wondered how cruise ships float” and Tate, without missing a beat, shouts out, “They have less density than water!”
You guys – learning is learning, and when their brains are open to learning, they will be able to grab hold of the new skills quickly! Man, are we ever thankful for technology and what we can do with it now! But, please, if you have the opportunity to be a part of the learning with your kids, don’t miss this opportunity! I’ve had so much fun with Tate watching him grow through all of this!
Here is a sample of some of the activities we’ve included:
- Let’s Cook!
- Movie Day! Character Development
- Scavenger Hunt
- Let’s Garden!
- Let’s Research: Candidate for Office
- Let’s Research: A Local Business
- Plan a Vacation! (Research places, find travel, make a budget)
- Hang a Picture (using measurements)
- I Wonder…
Most lessons include a template for your student to work through, but if I could leave you with this:
Learning is amazing and beautiful! Let’s let our students experience that now! What an opportunity we have!
On Monday, our course 60 Daily Lessons for Thinking and Learning at Home will be available for only $25! These are lessons you can download and keep forever, and will be great for summer time learning as well! Click here to purchase now!