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Can we educate 40 million K-12 students remotely?
With schools requiring students to stay home across the United States, educators scrambled all last week to quickly adjust to this new way of teaching in the world of coronavirus.
Here on Class Dismissed, we will spend the next several episodes sharing and examining which methods of distance learning are working and which methods may turn out to be too ambitious.
Class Dismissed co-host and Mississippi School Principal, Kristina Pollard, shares with us her district’s plan to educate students remotely.
What if your students don’t have internet access?
Pollard who serves a school that is 100% poverty is well aware of the digital divide that many of her students are facing.
“They don’t have internet access at home. We’re already trying to figure out, what can we do as a district,” says Pollard.
Her district is rolling out a plan using bus routes to ensure that all students get breakfast, lunch, and a snack.
“When we do that, we will have academic packets ready for our children,” says Pollard. “And we’re going to hit those bus stops just like we would when we were running those routes.”
The idea is not without its challenges. Last week, in Shelby County Tennessee, they were forced to suspend their meal distribution plan when an employee in the nutrition department tested positive for COVID-19.
Pollard is also concerned about the social-emotional well being of her students during the COVID-19 outbreak.
She says it’s going to be important to provide some type of comfort to students. She says her K-6 students really rely on a routine, they look forward to going to school every day.
“It’s going to become a challenge I think by the third week. Students will miss their teachers. They’ll miss the interaction with their classmates. It’s going to go beyond the academic support,” says Pollard.
What do educators expect of parents?
Longtime educator Lissa Pruett says parents do not need to fill their child’s day with instruction just like at school.
“You forget how much time children spend in transition during their school day, with car line, lunch, bathroom breaks, recess, and then PE or art,” says Lissa.
She says parents should not fill the day with eight hours of instruction.
“Please don’t do that, please don’t do that to your children. That is not how long they would have been in active instruction from the highest qualified individual.”
Teachers should not overcompensate
Lissa also recommends teachers keep their lessons brief. She notes that this is an unusual time and you’re not going to be able to get everything done.
“I can see where some teachers out there may be thinking, I’ve got to plan all this stuff because I don’t want the parents to think we don’t do anything all day,” says Lissa. “I think that would be a mistake.”
Lissa says there are insecurities everywhere, but teachers do a lot within a day.
Fun activities for kids during the Coronavirus Outbreak
Parents all over the world are clamoring for fun activities to keep their little ones occupied and learning.
Lissa, who had operated her own children’s art studio over the past two decades is now offering many lessons through instructional videos online.
Lissa made video bundle packages of her taking students through lessons. There are crayon activities of a tiny monster where you can use items at home to trace circles and more advance lessons like watercolors and pencil art.
“Most of the parents have emailed back and said their children were engaged with zero help from the parents for about an hour.
The packages are available for anyone and can be viewed at bristlesstudio.com
To hear our full discussion about how COVID-19 is impacting school districts, listen to Episode 143 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can find the latest episode of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.
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