•Students need a safe learning space where they know what is expected of them instead of a long list of things they can't do.
•Students need learning opportunities that are developmentally appropriate and teach more than what one can find on a test such has how to be a kind, motivated human.
•Students need structure and repetition to learn.
•Students not only need information and knowledge, but also the skills needed to be lifelong learners.
•Students need Maslow before Bloom’s.
•Students do not need the latest buzz words, but instead a teacher that is a purposeful, reflective, life long learner.
•Students need adults that put effort into helping them build positive self-esteem and identity.
•Parents have a right to know what is being taught in schools.
•Parents have a right to ask for resources and assistance with learning at home without fear of being judged.
•My objective as a teacher is to provide my students with the intellectual skills to analyze the world around them and invoke a joy and comfort for coming to school.
eLearning is back or here to stay for so many families. It is hard, it can be frustrating, and sometimes it can be the least of your worries. Teachers and parents are all asking one thing: how do we make this work? Sadly I do not have a magic wand, but I do have 12 years experience in virtual education and I am now at school where we are in the heart of eLearning.
Virtual education is very different than eLearning in many ways (online school programs, resources sent to homes for families, everyone has the tools they need, platforms designed for parents to the teacher, and so much more), but the tips for success cross over between both.
Here is my list of tips for helping your child navigate eLearning.
We cannot create observers by saying 'observe', but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.
– Dr. Maria Montessori
Lately, my favorite tiny humans and I have been exploring life up close with the IQCREW by AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 85+ piece Premium Microscope, Color Camera and Interactive Kid’s Friendly Software. Thankfully, the kit comes in a carrying case so I can bring it between school and home. My favorite part of this microscope is that while it is geared towards kids, it is not a toy. Instead, it is a real microscope that is kid-friendly! My sons and students get real-life experience with high-quality science equipment. It makes my inner Montessori-loving, early childhood educator side so happy!
At home, my son enjoys putting on his lab coat and viewing samples through the eyepiece. He may be only four, but he has already mastered switching out AmScope’s pre-created slides and looking at the slides we have created together. In fact, when we start eLearning at home next week, I plan to let him explore the brine shrimp hatchery for his science time. He has been talking about our upcoming experiment nonstop.
At school, my students have gotten to make firsthand observations of the microscopic world through the full color digital camera that replaces the eyepiece tube and connects to my computer. I can project it to my class and everyone can participate safely. With the editing tools, we can put notes on an image, crop it, add stamps and save selections or whole images to revisit later. As we transition to eLearning, I plan to app share the software to continue fostering my firsties’ love for science. When students are excited about learning, you don’t want to lose momentum—and it can be a great tool to make them want to come to live classes. That’s right, I am going to reward them by more learning. Win-win!
Overall, it has been a magical learning tool disguised as a toy! The full product description with a list of all items included in the kit can be found on AmScope’s website. The AmScope Kids Premium Microscope is available for purchase directly on the website.
Starting the year out online and not sure where to get started? Give this checklist a try to get your year moving smoothly. Please be sure to leave a review!
Trust me, it is more doable than you think. Here are my general tips for starting the school year out teaching virtually.
Prepping for eLearning? I have been teaching elementary in the online setting for 12 years! Here are some simple tips:
•encourage families to keep a routine and schedule at home. Tiny humans thrive with schedules and it sets them up for learning (and more sanity for everyone)!
•create flipped videos to help students learn at home. Think of your math warm up, phonics practices, and etc. Try to keep them short (I like the formula of the students’ age plus two for your minutes goal). Also, you can check out my IGTV for a short tutorial on how to record any PowerPoint and save it to YouTube!
•create a (free) FlipGrid Account. You can ask the students a question and they can record their answers. They can also see each other’s answers.
•use Zoom (also free) to meet for a live class. Teach a mini lesson or read a story to your class!
•take advantage of the amazing educational software programs offering free membership such as ABCmouse, BrainPop and BrainPop Jr, Epic Books, and more. Find a link to the full list here (this is not my link, just sharing it!)
Update: Now that I have learned that Indiana has expanded eLearning, I have created a quick tutorial about how I would manage eLearning for Tiny Humans
YouTube keeps pulling the video because of it's length. I have it posted on IGTV if this video does not load.
Find a sample Google Slides Syllabus here. Feel free to make your own copy if it's helpful.
This time of year two things are happening, little humans can’t sit still in their seats and we are learning about life cycles because they pair naturally with spring!
Last spring I saw this great idea in many of my teacher groups, so I can’t reference the source, but I can share how it worked for me. At the beginning of the month I put paper eggs in each student’s chair. They were instructed to sit on them and keep them warm. Then as we were going through our day I would periodically get out my highlighter (no announcements, no threats, nothing) and quietly color one egg for each student caught keeping their egg warm. At the end of the month (or a few weeks—you know your bunch) every student that had a full sheet came to school to find their egg cracked and a Peep Marshmallow hatched in its place. It was so fun to watch them get excited when they reached their goal and remind their tablemates to keep trying so everyone to could get there!
Please tag me on Instagram if you use this—I can’t wait to see!
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Here you will find my ramblings of motherhood, teaching, & life while like many I try to balance it all.
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