Teachers teaching children from behind a computer screen. I’m an all-day kindergarten teacher. They need to invent a new word for this, because challenge and distance learning doesn’t fit this criteria. Screaming is probably the closest term to this. Have you seen this video? It’s gone viral and for good reason. One of my good friends texted this to me and I laughed hysterically. So much truth can create laughter out of misery.
Yes, laughter can soothe the soul. I hope you found this funny. I sure did. There has been so much talk about digital learning, that I thought it would be a good reminder that blended learning by using tactile experiences and digital technology is what kids will need to excel in the future. I love being able to access DreamBox and Raz-Kids as a teacher, because I can monitor progress. However, in the classroom Pre-Pandemic, we would use this as a supplement and not as the primary mode of teaching. Nothing can replace teaching in-person.
As a teacher, I want parents to know you are a child’s first teacher and the most important. Everything you do matters to them so much more than it could if they were seeking validation from a teacher. You are their love. You can use this to your advantage. Teaching from a distance is the same, but in reverse. As a parent, you are providing a lot of the direct instruction and tactile learning experiences and teachers are supplementing and providing intervention support for children as needed.
Teachers can do their part by monitoring online engagement, and by creating materials and activities that are meaningful, clear and feasible. Too much is that. Putting too much on any plate means it ends up a waste in the trash and you’re lucky if a bite was taken out of each pile. Teaching needs to be concise and simple. Create meaningful, practical activities and supplement with the digital/online materials.
What this means, is that nothing can replace the tactile experiences a child needs to grow and learn. Teachers provide the avenues and advice needed for parents to best teach from home. Teachers provide direct instruction from behind a screen, but can’t tell or monitor engagement levels in the moment. Parents can.
Keeping teaching relevant, consice, simple and usable could include:
- Complete one writing assignment – writing needs to be completed outside of the digital world. I start with writing because it can be the most challenging task, and getting it done with and the carrot of doing some fun digital learning can follow.
- Use a digital online resource (such as Raz-Kids)
- Complete a math problem with tactile objects (counters, cubes, etc.) and draw the problem
- Use a digital online resource (such as DreamBox)
- Watch YouTube lessons and practice.
To be sure, the frustrations are on both sides and this is only compounded by homes with multiple students (teachers and parents alike). BUT, you can do this. Keep it simple and relevant. Short bursts of learning and repetitive teaching practices will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Parents and Teachers, consider making Playlists with the best content your child needs to practice. Make sure to turn on “restricted” mode or use the YouTube for kids channel.