I will have to admit, some days are better than others when it comes to e-learning with my own children. The other day, my 4th grade son and 2nd grade daughter got lost in time with a science lab project. My son was learning about sound by making a hand made telephone out of string and cups. What started out as a simple science project turned into a self-paced experiment. Hours later, they had created a 25 foot long hand made telephone that worked! Their self discovery and excitement was priceless and even caught the attraction of pedestrians passing by on the street. When he didn’t know what oscillation meant, he called grandma who is a retired audiologist to explain. The connections to family through e-learning can happen now at any moment! And that is an opportunity to embrace.
Yet, some days, e-learning is starkly contrasted by the lack of productivity from my children. For instance, yesterday, my daughter only wrote one paragraph of text written for a non-fiction book about dogs and drew a small sketch. Nothing more. That was it. And that is okay.
The take away message for me, is that we, as parents and educators, must consider how e-learning is the new way of learning for our children and it’s imperative we do the following:
- Remember that learning should be fun! Allow kids some choice, whether it’s what they write about, what they read, or what they investigate for a science task.
- Make Tasks Engaging! Kids need opportunities to create things, whether it’s a hands-on model of a cell structure or an architecture scale model.
- How Can We Help Keep Children Engaged During Video Calls?
- Allow for students to meet in small groups through video chats that allow them to connect with their peers.
- Pose engaging questions that require students to respond.
- Employ strategies to make sure that each child participates during video chats and calls, whether it’s they answer questions orally or in the message section during the call.
- Reach out individually to children who stay ‘radio silent’ to help figure out how to make them feel more confident and comfortable in the new e-learning environment.
- Don’t Forget the Arts: Kids need opportunities to express themselves creatively through the arts, whether creating their own songs, completing art projects, or design their own mime performance and video tape it.
- My son had to create a model for his study of one of the California Missions. It was one of the most gratifying tasks thus far during this “quarantine.”
Taking It One Day At a Time:
Once again, it’s good to remember, whether you are a teacher or a parent, that our children are resilient and we can take it one day at a time! Life will forever be changed because of COVID-19 and it’s a great time to remember there is no judgment here, and that it is something that brings everyone together on common ground for understanding that we are in this together!