The distance learning experience is not all that different from a traditional classroom learning experience in most basic aspects. Both these learning mediums consist of teachers reaching out to students and providing them with instructions on how best they can learn new concepts and put them into practice.
We may also admit that running distance learning elementary schools are generally a greater challenge than running traditional elementary schools.
Not all students find it easy to transition from learning in classrooms to learning in their homes. Besides, there’s always the fact that not all schools and other educational institutions follow the same teaching methods for students at the elementary level. Some teaching techniques are more effective than others, and it’s not always easy for teachers and parents to recognize these techniques and execute them.
Additionally, other factors such as a stable internet connection, the condition of your electronic devices, and more can determine the level of success you achieve with having your child or students engage in the learning experience.
However, elementary learning can still come with many more hurdles even if you’ve adequately cared for the factors above.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss a few ways in which you can be sure that your children can make the most out of their distance learning experience. We’ve included tips for both parents and teachers in the following sections so you can follow the right tips for your child or student, respectively.
Distance Learning Elementary School Tips For Teachers
If you’re a teacher and are wondering how you can help your elementary students absorb and retain your instructions and lessons best, you’ll find that the following tips and tricks are sure to help.
Take It One Step At A Time
Remember that young kids around elementary school age generally have a short attention span, to begin with, so you don’t want to burden them with too much information in one session. It may be tempting to get done with teaching your students the entire syllabus as soon as possible. However, bear in mind that this approach will do a lot more harm than good for your students.
Consider breaking up the syllabus into short portions with interesting lessons you think your students would respond well to. Remote learning is not the most effective teaching method by a long shot, even for graduate-level students with large attention spans. So, you can imagine how difficult it would be for young students to pay attention to long lessons.
For elementary school students, the ideal amount of time to dedicate to each lesson seems to be somewhere between 10 and 12 minutes. We know, we know, this is not nearly enough time per day to have meaningful classes. The solution here is to break up a large lesson into smaller segments of few minutes each. This will allow your students to absorb and retain as much information as possible.
Reliable studies have shown that this can boost learning among students, especially younger students who sit down for remote learning classes only very reluctantly. In addition, your students are less likely to feel fatigued or burdened under the amount of information you relay to them in one day if you master the art of breaking up your sessions into segments of ideal length.
Develop The Right Content
The big debate most schools across the globe have found themselves in the midst of since the past year is how they can make remote learning more meaningful and effective. A greater degree of freedom is now given to teachers at the elementary level over the content and lesson plans they use in their online classrooms. Therefore, if you’re a teacher, you should ideally spend as much time as possible developing the right content for your sessions.
If your content is rich in educational value but isn’t something that would address elementary-level students, there’s not much you can do to make the learning experience enriching for them. Think of it this way: you’re conducting a somewhat toned-down version of classroom teaching.
As discussed earlier, most students who are old enough to be in elementary school simply cannot absorb large doses of information in one session without having their attention drift away now and again.
This isn’t to say that your students won’t be able to absorb what you’re teaching them, simply that you need to figure out how to strike the right balance with your content to make it equal parts fun and educational. After all, this is elementary school kids we’re talking about – they likely have been forced to cut short their precious playtime at home to sit down for your classes.
Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for you to teach them the same lessons you would in an actual classroom in the same way.
Design Interactive Sessions
This may just be the most important tip we’ve featured in this article for elementary school teachers now conducting online classes. If your students feel like they’re being made to sit down and watch/hear you speak for hours together, they’re going to resent your classes faster than you can say ‘elementary.’
Getting your students involved in your online learning sessions is easier said than done – it’s certainly more difficult than having interactive sessions in a real classroom setting. However, a little effort on your part here will go a long way in letting your students feel involved in the learning process. This is sure to help them absorb information better and retain it for longer.
Besides, it’ll also help them look forward to attending your distance learning classes, not an easy feat to achieve with young kids. So how do you make your remote sessions more interactive? The first and simplest technique you can use here is to ask your students questions at random (or planned) intervals in the session.
It will not only make your students feel like they’re actively participating in your class but also compel them to pay attention to what you’re teaching since you’re going to question them on what they learned.
If you’re just beginning to teach an elementary class, it’s a good idea to first have an icebreaker session to help your students get to know each other and feel comfortable sharing a class. After all, your students won’t just be interacting with you but with each other as well.
Plan Fun Activities
No elementary class – virtual or otherwise – is complete without fun activities for young students. It may take you only a little additional time to plan activities for your students, but it’ll go a long way in helping them enjoy your sessions, and I look forward the attending class every day. This isn’t to say you need to plan these activities all the time – one fun activity a day should suffice.
And what’s more, these activities don’t have to be purely for fun; they can be educational at the same time. For example, you could design questionnaires and quizzes for your students and divide them into teams, awarding points for the team that can answer the most number of answers right. This is just one of the many examples of how you can turn a lesson or test into a fun activity for your entire class to enjoy.
You could even schedule arts and crafts classes for your students now and again. After all, which young child doesn’t enjoy playing around with crayons, glitter glue, and other arts and crafts supplies? Having few sessions such as this at the end of a class or in between other classes can help your students unwind and refresh their minds, thereby allowing them to absorb more information when you resume your classes.
However, whichever activities you plan, make sure that these aren’t so taxing for students that they’re too tired to get back to their main lessons, if you’re planning on how activities in between sessions, that is.
Review Your Students’ Progress
Just because you’ll be conducting your classes online doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be keeping track of your student’s progress like you would in an actual classroom. Once your students eventually get back to school, they should be fully equipped to deal with the relatively more complex curriculum once more. They certainly won’t be able to do the same if they haven’t progressed satisfactorily through distance learning classes.
Conducting regular tests (oral and written) online would help you evaluate your student’s understanding of the lessons you teach them every day. Keeping a record of the tests you’ve conducted and how each student has fared on the tests will let you map each student’s individual progress. If it comes to your attention that one or more students are having trouble keeping up with their lessons, you’ll need to consider taking action.
The best thing to do in case a student isn’t performing well in class constantly is to speak to their parents to ascertain if there are any factors at home that could be interrupting or hindering their learning experience. If this isn’t the case, you could reach out to the student and encourage them to express the difficulties they’re facing in keeping up with the rest of their class and consider how you can help them overcome these.
Alternatively, if you find that several students in your class aren’t performing well on their tests, you may want to step back and assess the effectiveness of your teaching methods and ask yourself if there’s room for improvement.
Distance Learning Elementary School Tips For Parents
Now that we’ve discussed some great tips on how teachers can make distance learning more effective for elementary school kids, let’s discuss the same with parents. Since distance learning entails students attending classes from home, parents shoulder the responsibility of ensuring their child responds to their classes along with their teachers.
Therefore, we’ll discuss a few tips for parents whose children are attending elementary distance classes in this section.
Create The Right Environment
It’s not always easy for children to concentrate on their lessons at home simply because they’re not generally accustomed to receiving formal education in such a setting. Your home is the space they’ve been using all this while as a space to relax and entertain themselves, not attend classes. Therefore, it falls on your shoulders to create the kind of environment at home that’s conducive to learning.
The first thing you can do in this regard is to assign a certain room in your house to be the room your child uses to attend classes. This will give them a sense of stepping into the zone where they’ll need to focus and open their mind to learning something new. Next, make sure you set up comfortable seating (a small desk and chair or study table) should allow your child to feel like they’re in an actual classroom, thereby prompting them to study.
Next, you can try and ensure that the room your child is seated in for their classes is free from any distractions that could interrupt their lessons. For example, don’t make them sit in a room that’s noisy or sees a lot of activity during their classes.
Remember, it takes a lot for kids around elementary age to concentrate on online classes in the first place, so you don’t want to do anything that could hinder their experience.
Also, make sure that you don’t need to use the room while your child’s lessons are in progress, or you run the risk of limiting their concentration.
Help Your Child Learn
We mentioned in earlier sections how distance learning is not as effective a teaching medium as traditional learning is, mostly because students of all ages find it more difficult to focus on their lessons through virtual learning sessions. Therefore, if you wish to help your child make the most out of their online classes, you’ll need to involve yourself in the teaching process.
Now, we don’t mean to say you should go through every lesson with your child after they’re done with their classes for the day. After all, which child would enjoy having to study right after they’ve finished attending classes? We mean that you could try and take a look at what your child is learning online every other week or so and ask them if they need any help with their lessons.
Elementary school introduces children to various basic concepts that they’ll use in higher classes, and in many ways, it lays the foundation for more complex learning. Therefore, your child must be clear with their concepts in elementary school, even if they’re attending online classes.
One of the best ways in which you can ensure your child has a great learning experience is to provide them with all the resources they need to attend their classes.
This includes having the right electronic device, a stable internet connection, adequate stationery supplies, and anything else your child might need throughout their distance learning sessions.
Keep Track Of Their Progress
It’s not just a teacher’s responsibility to keep track of and review your child’s progress – it’s yours, too. For example, if your child’s class conducts regular tests and the results for the same are available to you, you should ideally review these results now and again at regular intervals. This should give you a fair idea of how your child is responding to their classes and how effective their learning experience is proving to be.
If you find that your child scores low marks on their tests consistently, you may first need to speak to your child and ask them why they’re unable to score well on their tests and if they’re struggling to understand any basic concepts. If your child is unable to figure out why they’re performing badly, you could then speak to their teacher and discuss the potential reasons behind the same.
Alternatively, you could evaluate whether there are any factors in your home that may be interfering with your child’s performance at school and addressing these as soon as possible.
The main concept behind having distance learning elementary schools is that they can provide students with great learning opportunities despite not giving them access to traditional classrooms. However, this learning medium comes with various challenges that both parents and teachers need to tackle in their ways for students to benefit the most from this experience.
If your child is attending elementary school online and is struggling to keep pace with what’s being taught, you could consider using some additional learning resources to make their journey easier. One such resource is Hooked On Phonics which helps your child improve their spelling in a fun, creative way. The videos and games featured on the app are sure to have your child hooked and let them enjoy the learning process.
If, on the other hand, your child has difficulty reading rather than spelling, you could introduce them to this program that follows a step-by-step approach in teaching your child to master reading. The program includes a mini-series, detailed guide, and subscription to a newsletter that features tips on how you can help your child read better. What’s more, is that this program comes with a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the results you achieve within 60 days of purchase.