• Jan MacWatters

Pandemic Pods..... and Stress Free Learning

Well here we are again. The start of a new school year. Where we would normally be shopping for school supplies, we now seem to be worried about where school will be, who will be in charge of what and which curriculum as well as what to do if we cannot get online.

So - new and different it is... but that doesn't mean better or worse.. just new and different. So - let's get started...


1. Check out your state standards. In TX, they are at this link. Even if you're not home schooling, it's good to know which skills your child is supposed to be developing this year.


https://tea.texas.gov/academics/curriculum-standards


2. Read (or bookmark) the ones that are applicable to your students. That's your plan. You have an idea of what they will be learning this year. You'll notice that there is no specific curriculum. Just learning goals. So let go of the idea that your student must read specific books or use a set textbook. If you're enrolled in a public school, don't hesitate to ask your teacher for help. They will have chosen books. There may be digital textbooks available. There will almost certainly be access to school databases and educational movie clip databases (see below) Teachers should start each lesson off with a learning objective. You can help by talking with your student about whether or not they learned what they set out to learn. If they are not in the habit of looking at the objective, your asking every day will help them to develop that habit, and that habit will last long after the pandemic.


If your teachers are offering online / virtual instruction - familiarize yourself with the district/school website to find out where everything is before school starts. Ideally, for online offerings, your teacher will send you a link to where their instructional material is. It will most likely be zoom and a google classroom but again, these vary from school to school and district to district. What if you have to go to work, but your students don't go to school? What if you have more kids than devices or the internet connection just happens to quit right as the zoom instruction starts? It's good to have a back up plan to help your kids learn. Nothing's perfect, but I think you'll find that perfection isn't needed. Help the kids learn to look up the information they need themselves. Those are life skills that will always be needed.


Resources to look for/ask for at your school library:


Pebblego - elementary research database

Discovery Ed - Video streaming database

Learn 360 - video streaming database

Encyclopedia Brittanica - English and Spanish versions - K-12

Online e book databases.


Don't forget to check your local public library as well. They are also a treasure trove. You'll definitely need a library card. Some larger library districts may also allow you to get a card for an annual sum if you live near to but not actually within the district area.


Check out Open Educational Resources. OER are simply that. Educational resources that have been made freely available to the general public.


Khan Academy math

Prodigy math

Libre Text science explanations

Hour of Code basic learn to code

Learn HTML learn html and create your own website

Scratch Learn to code with scratch for kids (and grownups too)


Look for virtual museum trips as well. Many museums may be reopening across the world, but the virtual tours created still exist.


Check out the Paris Louvre online tour here.


These are just some of the amazing resources that you'll be able to use without leaving home.

Check back tomorrow for some interesting software that is available to help your kids with time management and organization.

Jan


The Charter School Librarian, Plus.

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