Let’s get ready for online learning!
We learned a LOT about online learning last spring, which gave us some real insight into working with different ages, stages, and subject areas in this format. We worked diligently over the summer to ensure that our teachers have the technology, resources, and support they need to be prepared for online learning. One of the most important lessons confirmed by this venture is that student environments greatly impact learning outcomes. In that vein, we’ve come up with the following tips for setting up your child’s home classroom to maximize their learning:
Provide your child a dedicated space in the home for online school
- Locate your home classroom in a place where you can minimize distractions when they’re online (no vacuums, washing machines, pets, siblings, other people’s conference calls)
- Reserve that space and the materials in it for school-use only so they are always there while your child is in class. This supports your child’s ability to participate in class and helps create routine.
- Provide basic materials: writing utensils, paper, scissors, post-it notes, trash can, etc.
- We will provide kits for classes that require unique supplies (art, science, etc.). Be sure that these supplies remain in the dedicated space so they are ready when your child needs them.
- Think about your child’s need for comfort and movement. Does their chair support them? Do they need a chair? Would standing or a balance ball better meet their needs?
- We are happy to check out classroom equipment to you this year (chairs, wiggle seats, etc.). Let us know how we can help!
Support organization regularly
- Post your child’s schedule within the space so it’s easily visible and accessible.
- If your child needs it, program reminders for class times into their phones to help with time management.
- Actively help your child maintain some organization of supplies/materials as needed.
- Replenish basic supplies throughout the year.
- Involve your child in the process. Talk about organizational strategies that they might prefer (notebooks, bins, a storage cart, drawers, etc.). Having their input promotes buy-in and increases the chance it might work!
Set a Routine
- Think of the first couple weeks of school as a trial period where you iron out the wrinkles and help your child form a school routine. It’s worth the investment these first few weeks so your child can work successfully and more independently as time progresses.
- At the end of class, the day, or week, check in with your child and ask if they needed anything they didn’t have. This teaches planning and problem solving.
- Observe your child’s online experience those first weeks. Watch how your child uses the space, interacts during class, manages supplies and activities, etc.
- Students who are less independent or have attention difficulties may need your support or presence during their appointments to make the most out of their class time. This can be in the form of an adult sitting beside them to help them attend, actively managing materials or technology, or merely being in the same room as them.
Try out the space yourself before school starts. Set up a meeting with a friend or a friendly Chrysalis staff member to see how the technology works so you can help troubleshoot if needed.
- Is it comfortable? Free from distractions?
- Is there easy access to basic supplies if a teacher asked them to do an activity?
- How’s the Internet connection? Is there lag, graininess, or auditory feedback that may impede your child’s ability to participate in class?
- Ensure your child has a computer with a working webcam and microphone
- Learn how to access/mute the microphone and turn on/off the video camera
- Install Google Chrome on the computer. The Google platform runs better on this browser.
- Students will access online school via their Chrysalis email (on the Google platform).
- All classes and appointments will be conducted via Google Meet.
- All links to classes and appointments will take place through Google Calendar.
- Younger children (K-4) would highly benefit from use of a document camera so that teachers can see and assess their work in real time. Document cams can be purchased online or iPads can be adapted using an app called Osmo. Please note, there is no rush with purchasing this technology. They are in high demand and come in and out of stock regularly. The model we have purchased (IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition 8MP USB Document Camera) should cost about $99.
- Our tech team will be ready each and every school day to answer questions and support technical difficulties from both teachers and families.
- We will conduct virtual orientations with new Chrysalis families to introduce them to the Google platform and ensure they have everything they need to successfully access their classes.
- Returning families also have access to tech orientations upon request.
- We’re going to need your help to know what your child needs to be successful. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns anytime throughout the year. We will be readily available to offer tech support and help you brainstorm solutions for your child’s learning needs.
- At any time if we determine that your child would benefit from additional support, technology, supplies, etc. we will communicate this to you.