A friend of mine posted a photo of her kindergarten son sitting down using the restroom while also using a step stool as a desk with an iPad resting on top. As his mother walked by, he shared that he told his teacher and classmates he had to move his Zoom meeting because he had to use the bathroom. Our teachers are getting way more insights into our youngest learners than they ever imagined!
Students and teachers both are working to make the most of new learning structures for at-home, hybrid, and face-to-face learning experiences. In speaking with a second-grade remote teacher, I discovered that the biggest challenge she faces is how to successfully support students in reading and writing. For example, if a teacher is conferencing with a student about a narrative he is working on during the class’s literacy block, how can she also provide guidance to other students?
Another difficulty she faces: connecting with students and building meaningful relationships with them and their families virtually. These are challenges any teacher may face in a more traditional setting, but they are further complicated with a lack of proximity.
There are no easy solutions to the challenges presented by remote learning—if there were, every teacher would be doing them. But as we think about our youngest and often most vulnerable learners, there are ways we can build support to ensure success and maximize student learning in a virtual setting.
1. Create a daily routine.
It's absolutely critical to set a clear routine for a typical day of remote learning. This includes providing students with opportunities to congregate virtually and share information about their lives, feelings, experiences, or likes in the morning, after lunch, and before the end of the day. We know that our primary students love to talk about themselves, so we need to create space for this to happen. A daily schedule that is distributed to students’ families over email or regular mail—perhaps one that parents could print out and put on their refrigerator—is the best way to ensure students arrive on time, stay focused, and get accustomed to a routine.
Here’s a downloadable sample online learning routine for Grades K–3.
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