School is shaping up to look much different this fall than anything we’ve all experienced. The only thing we know for sure is that it will be new and dynamic. I know many of my students struggled with distance learning this spring, including my own three kids. I have been receiving a wide range of questions from students and families I work with and wanted to provide some suggestions to set kids up for success as they may toggle back and forth between in-person, hybrid, and distance learning this school year.
My biggest pieces of advice are to provide structure, stay engaged, and stay organized. A student’s day should look as much like a school day as possible. Print out the bell schedule, keep it by your desk and follow it like you would if you were at school. In addition, engagement is key. If you can, find a place in your home where you can attend school that isn’t your room. It’s hard to concentrate and delineate when a school day begins and ends if you are spending your entire day in your bedroom. I know this is a challenge right now with a lot of families all being home, but even a quiet corner with a card table in the kitchen could work. If your room is your only option, make sure you get up, get dressed and eat breakfast. I can’t tell you how many zoom meetings I had in the spring with students who were still in their pajamas and in bed.
Go to office hours, ask questions. If you feel like you need extra support, reach out to your counselor–sooner rather than later. Check your class materials as soon as they are released. If something doesn’t make sense, raise your hand (virtually). And, parents, it’s important that you are reading emails, and checking your school’s online communication platform (illuminate, canvas, etc.). A daily planner will help keep your schoolwork organized. And, if you have days with asynchronous learning, you can plan out how you are going to use them in your planner.
Lastly, get involved. While sports and other traditional in-person activities might not be taking place or may look different, this is a great time to connect with your peers, community and school in other ways. Join a club, volunteer, see if a teacher needs help TA’ing or assisting other students. (Reach out if you need advice here, I have lots of ideas!)
Here are some other tips:
-Be online for attendance and zoom meetings
-Parents: read your emails and check in to make sure your kids are reading emails.
-Follow the structure of your bell schedule
-Check your school’s online portal for communication from teachers
-Follow a daily plan- and use a planner