Earlier this spring, teachers and students embarked on a journey they had never taken before, teaching and learning online and in person. They had to venture into the unknown world of virtual teaching/learning. Teachers had to switch from in person instruction, with hands on activities and interactions with kids, to teaching through an online distance format. Both teachers and students had to learn to navigate the online platforms and still figure out what they were supposed to be doing while using video chats, digital lessons, and the distractions of learning at home.
Fast forward a few months and now we are looking at a blend of in person and online learning also sometimes referred to as hybrid learning. Depending on location, guidelines, and funding, some teachers and students are back at school, some are working virtually, and some are doing a blended format. No matter what format is being used, there are definitely stresses and issues to be dealt with.
The pandemic has created a whole new reality for us. As we continue to learn how to navigate through this with safety and social distancing as a focus, it changes how teaching and learning is done. But as always, teachers don't give up. They manage to find a way to support their students and help them to engage in learning. They care about their students and they do what they can to create something positive out of a negative situation.
Support staff at school, parents and other family members at home, and the community as a whole are trying to make things work in a tough situation. For some, it is working, but for others, it is not. This is not a time to point fingers or criticize, but rather, a time to join together and support each other. Together we can make a difference.
When we first started to navigate this new way of learning, I wrote about some tips for teaching and learning at home. You can read about it here. I would like to reiterate that many of these ideas are appropriate for this blended teaching and learning situation as well.
I truly believe that hands on learning is the best way to learn. Since we are expected to stay socially distanced in the classroom, some of this is much harder to do now. However, it is not impossible. Many of my teacher friends have been sharing ways that they are trying to incorporate hands on activities into their day following the protocols of their districts.
Real life learning experiences provide applications for concepts and skills taught. They can be linked to the various academic subjects, but they can be done both in school and at home. The more children can make connections between what they are being taught and how they can apply this to their experiences, the more engaged they become and the richer the learning becomes.
For those who are learning at home, hands on activities are much easier to include in the daily routines. These activities can create positive learning experiences for the children as well as bonding opportunities for the parents and caregivers who are trying to help with the teaching.
Parents are scrambling to find time for instruction, scheduling assignments, going to work or working out of the home, making meals, and finding time for themselves.They are overwhelmed and need to have some space too.
I loved doing projects with my students because they provide a variety of different ways to share what they know and what they have learned. This helps them to feel successful in their learning. This is still possible with today's setting. Preparation and research can be done as a class or in small group situations and the projects can be worked on both at school and at home.
Next time I will share more about how to incorporate real life experiences and projects.
I would love to hear about some of the things others are doing in their classrooms to manage the blended learning situations happening right now. Drop me a note in the comment section.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.