by: Tanesha Yusuf
The current pandemic has caused us to make immediate lifestyle adjustments. We have had to modify routines related to our occupation, education, and recreation. In the area of education, there have had to be vast, swift adjustments to ensure that students receive some form of instruction to limit the loss of learning. The first priority is to ensure that our students are safe. It is important that their physiological needs are met before we delve into what is needed educationally. We must also be mindful that learning at home could be with us for a while, so it is imperative that we keep the following actions in mind as we all navigate this new way of learning through technology.
Prepare. Determine what technology you have and the capability of each device. Create a plan to purchase additional items as needed depending on the number of household members that may need access to technology. Ask the school for assistance with devices or hotspots if needed. Contact your local internet provider to see if free Wi-Fi is offered. Create a space for classwork and for your own office work if needed. Be mindful of the background that will be visible during on-line lessons or meetings. There may be times throughout the year when At Home learning will still be necessary. Be prepared.
Plan. Review lessons for each class in advance before attempting to complete the assignment. Have your child create a calendar to determine the order of completion for each subject. Determine what lessons will take the most time and section off time for that subject first. Be sure to include break times as well.
Participate. Students should be mindful of the requirements for each course. There may be a daily or weekly requirement to log in and check for important announcements. Students should try to complete assignments in a timely manner. Communicate with the instructor if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s schedule or workload. If the work is taking an extensive amount of time and causing your child to become frequently stressed, communicate with the teacher, and express your concerns. If you feel as though your child is not being challenged, ask for suggestions for enrichment activities such as an on-line novel to read, a contest related to the course, or websites that contain challenging activities like brain teasers or puzzles.
Pause. At the end of the week, reflect on what learning occurred. Determine what went well and what adjustments will need to be made. Check on your child’s grade and participation. Think about how much time was dedicated to classwork. Ensure that there was time dedicated to relaxing activities like exercise, crafts, or board games as well. Incorporate more family time when possible. Visit a virtual museum on line, cook a meal together or listen to a celebrity read a novel, such as LeVar Burton or Kwame Alexander on social media.
Real learning can occur on-line and even when the computer shuts down. It is important that we focus on the social emotional well-being of all of us during these unusual times. Exhale. Learning at home can work; we can figure it all out together.
Tanesha Yusuf is an English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She has taught Reading, English, Avid, Speech, Dual credit MAPS (Methods of Academic and Personal Success) and Theatre Arts. She received her Bachelor of Science in English Education from Louisiana Tech University. She holds a Master of Science in Secondary and Higher Education from Texas A&M Commerce. She also has a Principal Certification from Lamar University. She believes in equity for all learners and works to ensure that students have access to a rigorous, diverse curriculum at all grade levels.