Remote Learning Balance: The art of ‘plumping’ up their learning, so you can complete your work

Amongst the challenges of the pandemic thus far, remote learning is high up on the ‘stress inflictors’ scale! The teachers are feeling it and the parents are feeling it. At Positive Teaching we are hearing that parents want to know how they can balance their work from home and their child’s remote learning. AKA, keep their children learning for longer. 

Throughout our research there was a fair amount of repetition when considering what’s important when engaging children to learn. And funnily enough… The 2017 Grattan Institute study, Engaging Students: Creating Classrooms That Improve Learning found what we too believe in here at Positive Thinking. It all starts with; 

  1. High expectations.
  2. Strong teacher/students relationships.
  3. Clarity and structure with instruction.
  4. Active Learning.
  5. Encouragement and praise. 
  6. Consistent corrections and consequences.

How does this relate to the remote learning journey for parents? 

We’re hearing you parents! You are frustrated, overworked. You have done your research, you have set up a classroom environment at home. You have written timetables, looked at learning platforms, developed schedules and rules with your kids. However they still seem to be unsettled, unhappy and not as independent as you would have hoped by now. 

At Positive Teaching we put our heads together to try and solve this. Reflecting on the work of the teacher and how teachers successfully balance the learning for 20-something children in their classrooms each day. 

We came up with the following… 

For Parents teaching at home, start by deciding what your dynamics are for the remote learning period. For example; Is having them complete their 2 hours of set work a success? Or, is having them only complete their 2 hours of set work, a failure? Neither is wrong or right, but simply a process that will map out the clear and high expectations that will work for you. 

Now, we understand that some of you may be thinking… but this is the role of the school and the teachers? And yes, it is, in a regular classroom environment. However we need to take into account that it is simply not possible for teachers to deliver the physical interaction pathways of learning that make up a large percentage of their day, especially in the Primary Years (such as reading groups, maths groups or explicit teaching for individual students). Therefore, it’s time to reflect deeper on the terminology, creating the remote learning environment and look into what this means (on average) for the child(ren) and you. 

Not all learning is formal learning

From here, it reminded us of the importance of learning values as well as learning skills. Skills such as reading, writing and participating in numeracy each day are vital to a child’s learning, and are hopefully what your school is providing. However, it’s the learning values that they may be struggling to deliver at this time.

So what are these values? Simply put, you have your thinking values; problem solving, questioning, curiosity, and more. Following this, you have your character values; conscientiousness, resilience, resourcefulness, professionalism, social intelligence, emotional intelligence, and more.   

Perhaps your daily timetable could be restructured to add/stretch out learning tasks using these values? And remember; whilst delivering make your expectations high, clear and consistent, with active learning time, encouragement and praise. 

An example of ‘plumping’ up their schedule: 

8:00Make the bed, have breakfast, brush teeth . 
9:00 – Reading hourBegin daily reading activity set by teacher. Once completed, choose a book or a reading activity to complete the hour of Reading. 
Reading activities may be extra books, drawing of characters, comparing characters, a game of boggle, online reading website, word searches, word finds, snap cards with words, scrabble, phonics cards, rhyming cards, following instructions for something i.e. making a paper aeroplane, or reading about their topic i.e. The Human Body etc…
10:00 – RecessFruit snack and outside time. 
10:30 – Writing hourBegin daily writing activity set by your teacher. Once finished continue working on the written part of a ‘choice project’ or a writing activity from the writing box. 
Writing activities may be poetry, a report on something they love, practicing letters, practicing words, practicing grammar, practicing spelling, writing out a recipe that they want for dinner, writing a comic, writing a book, journal time, learning a different language, planning for a story etc… 
11:30 – Maths hourBegin daily maths activities set by your teacher. Once finished choose a maths activity out of your maths box. 
Maths activities may include, dice games, card games, dominos, battleship, maths workbook, problem solving tasks, online game (mathletics), shapes, mathematical art tasks etc… 
12:30 – Lunch Make lunch and free play
1:30 – Resourcefulness hourCreativity time. 
Throughout this task you could be making, creating, problem solving and researching by working on a recycled piece of art, an upcycling project or a sustainability project. 
2:30 – Problem solving and questioning hour STEM time. 
Throughout this hour, they may have a choice of a science project, a design and technology project, a self taught topic or task, online problem solving games, or an ongoing project of choice (anything from studying volcanoes, to writing and performing a play, to working on a gardening project). 

This timetable is not the must do of remote learning, it is however a suggested start. If you have specific questions, you are always welcome to contact us and let us do the thinking. 

Mrs LD’s Quick Tips:

  1. Set expectations for them to keep learning.
  2. Take some time at night to prepare for the next day.
  3. Share resources with your friends who have children of similar age. 
  4. Ask your teacher for free resources or resource websites. 
  5. Keep the task the same for different age kids, but set different levels of expectations.

Recommended Articles:

RACV – Home School Remote Learning Tips 

CS Connect YouTube: Remote Learning

Natalie Wexar – 7 Tips for Helping Remote Learning  

References:

https://www.aitsl.edu.au/research/spotlight/what-works-in-online-distance-teaching-and-learning

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/golden-rules-for-engaging-students-nicolas-pino-james

Podcast: Aspen Ideas 2012: Raising the 21st Century Child. 

© Positive Teaching

http://www.positiveteaching.com.au

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