Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Distance Learning has it's Crumbs- Less is More (84)

I think information is a good thing. If you have a large group of people communicating. If you are all trying to reach the same goal and numerous people are asking the same questions- if the confusion is universal, for the most part, it seems like one announcement, not a mass email, but an announcement on the platform- seems reasonable. This way everyone has it cleared up, instead of one by one responses.

But these days less is more. Trying to navigate parental frustration, district requirements and student questions can be tough. I think having gone through two days of distance learning- keep it simple. Answer the questions one by one. Send one announcement in the AM per day. Then do not send anything else. This will minimize their full inboxes and brains. Getting several updates daily is just plan messy and frustrating. Less is more.

The cookie jar is vast, lots of hands reaching in our brains, during this distance learning. Students have emails and requirements. They are lacking social interaction. They have siblings and parents surrounding them with chores, school time, leisure time. It's bound to be overwhelming. My two sons- 4th grade and 11th are inundated this week. I have chosen scheduled times for them to do school work. It is important they stay in school- yet also have time to relax and be kids.

30 minutes a day per class. That is all we are allowed to require. So if we put all assignments out on a Monday they have a week to complete all the assignments. That is reasonable. But, over-achievers will try to get it done at one time- again they have multiple classes- and thus, it seems like teachers are overloading students with work, when it is students trying to do too much in one day. We need to find a balance. In the morning AM announcements maybe remind students- you have a week, take your time, take frequent breaks.

Lot's of breaks. No grades this week. Just participation. I have a feeling though, they are so anxious about getting behind they are trying to do too much at the same time. I think so much information is just overloading their brains and parents are watching them unravel. Parents, who are now responsible for their children's school-time regiment, are simply getting frustrated- after only a day of distance learning. Let them come to you with questions- parents don't need too much information either, trust me.

So, remember less is more. Be concise and specific and then let students and parents ask questions individually. If students choose to over-load with a lot of work in one day, that is not on you. But, it seems like sending all weekly assignments, in one bundle works for most students and their parents. Not daily assignments. This allows them to plot a schedule and create a check-list to make sure everything gets done. Time-management.

Odd times indeed. As a parent, I understand, the overload. But, as a teacher we are required to do what we are doing. District assignments are out of our control. It is a time where we are all uncertain and uneasy. Especially when it comes to our children. Parents and teachers need to communicate.

They need to support one another. They need to understand we are all doing the best we can. So let's work together to help our children be successful- schedules, breaks and incremental learning- that is the best way to go. Send out a survey to parents- at the end of the first week: 1- Do you prefer a bundle on Monday's of assignments or for them to be spaced out daily? 2- Would you like extension activities for more in depth learning? 3-How best can I serve your student during this time?

The more feedback we get, the more we can make sure that distance learning is beneficial and purposeful for everyone. Parents are our ally, so listen to their concerns. Students are the ones doing the assignments- ask for feedback. If a platform isn't working well for them- change the format. This should be easy and accessible not frustrating for them.

There is a learning curve and we are in it. Hopefully together we can smooth the edges and allow for some great learning these next few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Every educator should read this! I’m going to pass this wise advice on to my administrators.
    I use the Google classroom, which is very handy for pushing out assignments and information. It’s also great for connecting with kiddos. But, I totally agree with you, that too much information or too many posts can be way too much of a good thing.


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