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Your school closed because of Covid-19. You found out that your students will be off for the next few weeks. You still have to teach them or provide resources so they continue to learn. You may not have taught any classes online. This could be all-new for you. If so, it can be scary and overwhelming.
Instead of trying to redo your entire curriculum, this might be the time to look at how you can communicate effectively in an online environment or in whatever way you can reach your families to provide a calming effect. This means connecting you with your families using different strategies along with realistic expectations.
Reaching out to your students and families
Many schools and districts have ways to communicate with their families.
- Did you receive instructions on how to communicate with your students when you are not at school?
- Do you have your own website or blog, a page on the district site, use learning management systems, or use google docs?
You may want to reach out to your families introducing what learning will be like for the next few weeks. Families are looking for routines.
- Introduce yourself as an online teacher.
- Put up a picture or video of you.
- Share how you plan to communicate and receive messages.
- Start slow with a simple schedule for one day. Check out My Thoughts below.
Here is a Daily Schedule Planner that you can copy and use thanks to Rebekah Madrid. Instructions:
- Click here to open the Google Doc
- Go to File > Make a copy
- Type a name and choose where to save it
- Click OK
- You’ll then find an editable copy of the Google Doc in your Google Drive
If you did not receive instructions or do not have a way to communicate with your families, then you may have to resort to sending mail home or sending messages via text. I know there are students that do not have access to digital resources so I’ll look for ideas to share with you, but I know that just connecting and checking in might be enough. I’ll share what I find in future posts.
I hope that schools and districts ease what is expected of teachers and families during this crisis. This is a time to not worry about grades or tests. Instead of trying to teach anything new, encourage reading, playing together, exercising, and maybe doing puzzles together. If there is a way to connect occasionally online or another way for families that do not have access, maybe we need to rethink what “teaching” means at this time during this crisis. We need to empower “learning” at home that is accessible, equitable, meaningful, and fun. Every moment can be a teachable moment.
What if we are there to just check in with families to help calm anxieties? Maybe on the daily schedule planner, you suggest mindfulness activities, games or other ways to play, books to read, music to dance to, movies to watch, etc. I just saw this on @elisabostwick’s email and think this is a great idea from @drlangraad.
Take a Few Breathing Breaks
Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216 shared “Breathing Breaks” on Twitter when we were discussing how to handle anxiety and consider social-emotional learning strategies. I figured teachers probably everyone might need to calm ourselves during this crisis.
I sent out the Rethinking Learning Report Vol 2. No 2. with way too much information, so I plan to share a little at a time in shorter posts. Each day there are more resources people are sharing. This is a time that we’ve never had to deal with before so each day will be new for all of us.
For all of the Rethinking Learning podcasts with Barbara Bray, click on the podcast tab at the top, the logo below, or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
Go to this page for resources, questions, and more information about Barbara’s new book, Define Your WHY.