CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.
Crisis learning is not the same thing as homeschooling, and it’s impossible to pretend otherwise. Aside from anxiety, close encounters with the actual disease, and a lack of important school-based resources, students are being required to learn at home without significant warning, with the support of teachers who were not prepared ahead of time and parents who are usually multitasking. Many parents and teachers alike are burdened with a slew of resources and little guidance. Even when this onslaught is mitigated by co-planned weekly goals and some aligned activity ideas, elementary-aged students and their caregivers face another serious barrier: adults’ need to multitask.
Many kids at the elementary level can focus well for about 20-25 minutes, which is a good starting point for activities. My family has been trying to generate some alternative activities to printable worksheets and online activities, just to add some variation for our son, engage him in learning, and give ourselves a break. Below is a list of some of the “learning challenges” that have worked well for our family and others like mine in the past few weeks.
When this crisis is behind us, I will be relieved to hand my kids back to the educators who work so hard to help them grow. But I’m also hoping that my kids return to school with a stronger sense of their own interests and a newfound sense of agency – both of which will bear fruit not only in times of crisis, but as a reliable asset in the years ahead.
Each of the following activities are designed to be completed in 25-minute timed blocks, allowing 5 minutes for showing off the creation with the parent before moving on. Using actual, visual timers can be a useful way to support independent engagement at this age level, and a lot of the appeal is in the challenge/timer aspect.