Ways to Help you be Prepared for Remote Learning
Learning is a combination of online and offline activities.
Interaction with educators and time engaged in learning will be approximately 50% of a regular school day.
Email remains a key means of teacher to student communication.
Nothing can replace the in-person interaction and learning experience of being in school. Remote learning is not intended to replicate the traditional school day; however, schools will use remote learning tools and instructional materials to develop and provide students with appropriately structured and supported ways to keep learning.
Remote learning can encompass a wide variety of learning opportunities. While technology can be a supportive tool, Falmouth Public Schools has also considered ways that student learning can continue offline. In alignment with the Commissioner’s guidance, such learning could include exploring the natural world, completing activities to support our’ local communities (with appropriate social distancing), and engaging in hands-on projects and artistic creations that stem from students’ own passions and experiences. We strongly recommend student journaling.
Examples of remote learning tools include large-group video or audio conference calls, 1:1 phone or video calls, email, work packets, projects, reading lists, online learning platforms, and other resources to effectively engage with students. These tools could be used to deliver lessons, provide individual student support, provide resources (including instructional material and student assignments), connect students to each other and the teacher, and provide feedback on student work.
Adapted from the MA Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Educators Letter to Families, March 30, 2020. Available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/.
Families can identify subjects or areas in which their children are interested and explore from there. Families can get involved in their children’s daily remote learning routine by familiarizing themselves with the Falmouth Public Schools’ Continuity of Learning Plans, setting reasonable daily and/or weekly goals, and finding opportunities for students to explore their creativity, including keeping a journal of the current circumstances as a reflective exercise.
Set up a Workplace
Families can help reinforce routines and provide ease during this experience. One key way to do this is to help children create a consistent place at home to work, whether it be for reading or video conferencing a lesson.
Make a Schedule
A remote educational environment will require students of all ages to take much more ownership of their learning. That autonomy can bring challenges, so the need for families to establish a daily routine at home is key. The Falmouth Public Schools has published a suggested schedule on the Continuity of Learning Pages for each grade group. The key is to remain flexible.
All children are impressionable, and if a family member gets frustrated, that can easily be transferred to children in the home. Family members need to keep an open mind, be aware of the messages to which they’re listening and that they are sharing. You are your children’s model of how to handle these challenging times. Find small ways to celebrate having more time together as a family.
While you’re home, you can make all activities, including long forgotten projects and chores, as fun as possible. Organize belongings, create masterpieces. Sing, laugh, and go outside, if possible, to connect with nature and get exercise. Allow older children to connect with their friends virtually. It may also help to find time to express gratitude. This could include writing letters to neighbors or others who might be home alone or to healthcare workers; sending positive messages over social media; or reading a favorite children’s book on a social media platform for younger children to hear.
Learning comes with struggles -- that's part of the learning process. And, children need to persevere with their learning during this time, too. Similarly, it's equally important to let children try to work through challenges on their own. Families can offer support but should resist the urge to solve every problem a student encounters. There's a fine line between helping too much and not helping enough. As often as you can, offer reassurance.
Pause as Needed
Too much time in one spot, entrenched in one mode of learning (e.g., online screen time or long sittings reading a book) is not good for the mind or the body. Be sure to take regular breaks that allow for physical movement. Demonstrate deep breathing. Careful, purposeful, slow breaths are a valuable tool for calming the nervous system. Try doing breathing exercises together with your children.
Maintain Open Communication
This starts with listening. Rest assured that Falmouth Public Schools officials will remain in contact with families and students. Between messages, there are several key communication channels to watch:
FPS COVID-19 Response Page
FPS Continuity of Learning Pages
Families should connect with other families, and students should connect with other students. Online groups and networks can help keep Clippers socially connected while they are physically distanced. Families can also use National Association School Psychologists’ (NASP) resources.
Tips are adapted from Rauf, D. (March 27, 2020). E-Learning Overload: 8 Tips Educators Can Give Frustrated, Anxious Parents. Published by EdWeek & National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). (April 2020). Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19.