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Supporting Instruction at Home

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The following tips and suggestions are offered to support families in transitioning to a home-based learning environment. Your child’s teacher(s) will be providing specific instruction, learning activities and assignments that will take the place of classroom learning experiences while school buildings are closed.

Sibling helping brother with homework

 

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Create a Schedule

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Tips for Success
 

  • Maintain regular daily routines and encourage your student to share whether the schedule is working or not working for them.
  • Create a daily schedule that includes time for:
    • A consistent time for starting and ending the “school day"
    • A consistent time for breakfast and lunch 
    • Accessing instruction by teachers
    • Completing assignments
    • Routines for getting outside and moving during breaks (recess)
    • Taking “brain breaks” from instructional tasks
    • Adequate sleep
  • Post the schedule in a spot that is easy to see.
  • Help your student set alarms to remind them of when they need to be online to access the instruction provided by teachers.
  • When possible, balance screen time for learning with other resources such as books, printed materials and games.
  • Make time for your student to experience social interaction with peers.
  • Make time for "digital recess” (time away from digital devices).
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Questions
 

Questions to Ask Your Student

  • What time of day are you finding is your optimal time of day for doing schoolwork?
  • How do you want to fit in breaks?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • How can I create a schedule that works for multiple students in the home?
  • What are ways to create a schedule that balances school, work and family time?
  • What are some things that I need to build into my own schedule to maintain a healthy balance?
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A Healthy Learning Environment

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Tips for Success
 

  • Reassure your student that although this learning at home experience is new for everyone, you're there to help him/her be successful.
  • Limit distractions (other devices) and create a space for completing school work that is separate from where eating and play occur, as much as possible.
  • Work together to create a space that is comfortable, quiet and dedicated to learning during instructional time.
  • Turn the television off during times set aside for learning.
  • Work with your student to make the environment meet his/her needs, such as space to stand and listen to online instruction versus sitting still.
  • If possible, set aside an area to house instructional materials and resources (paper, writing tools, books, notebooks and resources provided by BSD).
  • Help family members find ways to help each other learn, study and practice.
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Questions
 

Questions to Ask Your Student

  • What helps you to focus and do your best?
  • How often would you like me to check on you?
  • Where and how would you like to set up your learning space?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What are some routines that can help my family signal the start and end of the school day?
  • How can my family work together to create an environment that is positive and as stress-free as possible?
  • How can I connect with a friend or relative today? (Consider virtual meetings, phone calls or email.)
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Transition to Distance Learning

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Tips for Success
 

  • Keep in touch with other families for community reminders, check-ins, sharing of best practices and motivation.
  • Make use of the Family Toolkit materials provided by the District.
  • Reinforce boundaries and expectations for learning in the home.
  • Agree on incentives for desired/healthy behaviors.
  • Help your student work in Seesaw or Canvas or connect them with someone who can assist.
  • If possible, provide headphones or earbuds when students are participating in online instruction.
  • Make sure your student knows how to turn on closed captioning for audio/video online resources.
  • Provide a space for charging devices used for learning.
  • Review the expectations for online etiquette as shared by teachers.
  • Encourage your student to keep their skills and learning fresh by accessing optional materials and assignments provided by the teacher.
  • Allow time to review your child’s tasks and assignments to support his/her understanding of new skills and content.
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Questions
 

Questions to Ask Your Student

  • What parts of Seesaw or Canvas are you used to and what is new for you?
  • What assignments were you worried about from before distance learning started?
  • What has helped you stay organized in the past?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What does school-related stress usually look like for my student and how might it look different right now?
  • Who are other adults in my child’s life that can help support instruction? Which grandparents, family members or friends can my student connect with online?
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Instruction

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Tips for Success
 

  • Remind your student that they are still responsible for learning, even in distance learning.
  • Check in with your student about the learning goals that teachers posted for the week.
  • Keep in mind that the way your student may be learning some subjects will differ from your own learning experience. Check out the teacher’s resources for background information on the content.
  • Help your student plan how to complete assignments such as brainstorming ideas before writing or rephrasing the directions.
  • When offering feedback or advice to your student, consider using sentences/questions that invite them to do the thinking such as:
    • Tell me more about this topic.
    • Which strategy did you use here?
    • Let’s take a closer look at this one.
    • How could we think about this differently?
    • Teach me what you were doing here.
  • Try to avoid being too quick to provide answers. Allow your student to struggle somewhat and persevere through challenges. That process is a key part of learning.
  • When your student appears frustrated, try this five-step approach:
    • Review and explain the directions
    • Clarify the expectations for the final product or assignment
    • Break down the task into smaller steps
    • Explain new vocabulary
    • Help them develop a plan for completion with time to check in with you
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Questions
 

Questions to Ask Your Student

  • What parts of online learning are difficult for you? Easy?
  • What went well for you today? What do you want to do better tomorrow?
  • What was the most interesting part of your day today? Why?
  • What assignments do you have due this week and when? What do you need in order to complete these assignments?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • In what ways can I model patience and perseverance in the learning process?
  • What specific behaviors, efforts or accomplishments can I compliment today?