Supporting Families During Emergency Distance Learning and Uplifting Teachers
from April 22, 2020
We have entered the second month of school closures, with many districts closed for the remainder of the year. So,on April 22, language teachers from grades K-8, and beyond, met for the biweekly EarlyLang chat. They discussed ways to support families, changing expectations in the face or remote teaching, and moments that have been inspiring or funny.
Q1:What feedback have you gotten from families about your district/school’s expectations for remote learning?
Most feedback has been positive. Many families are trying to help their children, but need clarity on what to do. Teachers have to make adaptations and accommodations as they go. Luckily, parents have been very supportive, even as they are overwhelmed by the new tasks assigned to them. Some parents indicated that the amount of communication at the start was too much, now it is just right. Each family is unique, how the family deals with the current circumstances can impact the feedback they provide.
Q2: How are you supporting families in accessing #earlylang content which they may not know themselves, or that learners cannot access independently?
Video lessons, step by step instructions, and increased use of English are all ways to support families.Keeping the connection with students is the key to keeping them interested in “attending” class. For the current situation, teachers understand that language development will probably suffer, so it is important to provide activities that reinforce their previous learning. Other ways to support families include the use of Google Translate, email updates, and choice boards for learning activities.
Q3: How have your expectations shifted or changes as the extended school closures have persisted?
Of course, expectations have changed, especially since nobody really knew what to expect when school closures started. How they have changed can be summed up by @SECottrell , “more fun and less rigor”, and @doriecp who suggested extending grace and kindness to oneself. Some teachers mentioned giving less work than usual, since students can be overwhelmed by content classes and don’t have time to devote to specials. Another change was in work provided; instead of new content, most participants are focusing on review of what has been learned. Finally, students don’t always show up for remote classes and teachers realize that it will be okay if that happens.
Q4: Share a tale of triumph! What success, funny moment or aha! moment can you share?
Many of these moments centered on student photos. Some students have sent in pictures of themselves doing optional activities or parents send photos of their children hard at work on assignments. One teacher collected pet photos to use as a review of colors, body parts, age, size; nearly every student and many teachers added photos of their pets. Another teacher started to end virtual class as she ends in-person class, with a question for each student. Students remained in the Zoom until they answered their questions, it was a great way to speak to each child. Finally, one teacher noticed a student had fallen asleep during the class, and was hugging his pillow!
Q5: Share the positivity! What memes, images, or words of encouragement have inspired and uplifted you (or have made you laugh!) in these difficult times?
@windycitysenora posted Every Day and, “honestly, the first week on Zoom, I was so distracted and annoyed by the filters, virtual backgrounds, etc…but now, I am dying with laughter when I think about looking at my class: bacon, a potato, a talking pen and a talking birthday cake.”
@MundodePepita added Quarantine Coffee and dog walks
@SenoritaBasom Highlights: This is me jammin’ during our Latin music freeze dance party. That was a lot of fun! My favorite background FTW! DJ
@sradana_cems posted Weather
@ProfeOleary used this as Reassurance
@suarez712002, “as a guest teacher in homeroom teachers virtual classroom it’s been so powerful to see that all kids post videos saying how much they miss schools!”
Thank you to all who participated in this #EarlyLang chat! Thank you to our lead moderator, Valerie Shull(@windycitysenora), and our co-moderator,Sara-E. Cottrell, (@SECottrell) for helping to guide the conversation. Thanks also to the #earlylang team who helps put these chats together: @JL_Delf @nathanlutz @SECottrell @doriecp @MaCristinaRV @MundodePepita
Want to vote for our upcoming #Earlylang topics? https://t.co/l1VbHqzLU1