Sunday 19 April 2020

Creative Ideas for Learning at Home

Learning at home during a crisis - like a pandemic - is about learning in your environment with the things your family has, in a non-stressful way

In an article by Chris Corrigan called “Learning with your kids at home: how we unschooled”  he suggests 4 things for parents to think about:
-       Don’t try to replicate school at home
-       Notice that you are all learning all the time
-       Kids learn at different speeds
-       Strewing and Conversation - flood your environment with interesting things, and then watch and be curious about what your kids are interested in.   

Learning at home is not the same as on-line learning or “doing school at home”.

I have had a few conversations with families this week and their comments have ranged from “there is not enough coming home that my child can do independently to there is way too much coming home”.  I have also heard a great deal of thankfulness for everything that every teacher is attempting to do and a lot of grace given to all of us in general!

One thing that was present in many of the conversations was there is too much screen time expected and too much on-line everything. 
Some quotes from parents: 
-       On-line reading: where students are asked to read a story and do an on-line test:  The question was “Can’t my child just read a real book?  And then say what she liked or didn’t like about it?  Or draw the plot or anything but this on-line test?” 
-       All math is on-line for all 3 of my children.  
-       We only have one device at home and it’s difficult to meet the school requirements which are mainly on-line

A “What If” challenge for K-8 Educators:
-       What if … I only used on-line for communicating with my kids and families and maybe 
one or two links that could be used to give ideas or support?  No actual work on-line?  
-       What if … I only sent home things to do that were … creative ideas, challenges or project-based learning using materials that students can find at home?
-       What if … I gave outdoor options for those students who are in an area where they can get out and explore?  
-       What if … I made sure there were a few choices that students can do totally independently?
-       What if … I looked at my plan and thought “Wow this doesn’t look like I’m trying to replicate school at home”


Claire Tamang at Naramata Elementary School created a website for her school that she is offering to anyone who would like to access it.  It is
On the website she has three sections:  
1.     Arts Education:  this includes 6 ideas for fine arts - found sounds, recycled instruments, nature weavings, nature mandellas, monster masks, cardboard city
2.    Grade 4/5:  this includes examples of projects - the first one is to “create a home or habitat for a creature”.
3.    Student Gallery:  where student creations are displayed

Nature Mandellas:
Instructions: Geometry and Fine Arts -  Get outside, collect some materials and get building.  Work together or make your own.  Stones, pinecones, flower petals, seeds - the sky is the limit.  (And, hey, if you want to use lego on your bedroom floor - that counts too).

Some questions to ask ourselves:  What competencies live in this activity?  Is it accessible to all?  Is it engaging? Can some or part of this activity be done independently?

Student Examples in the Gallery:  Kindergarten and grade 4


On the Grade 4/5 site on Claire’s website she has described a project to create a home or habitat for a real or imaginary creature. 

What competencies live in this activity?  Is it accessible to all?  Is it engaging? Can some or part of this activity be done independently?

Grade 4/5 Project from Uplands Elementary

David has challenged his students to create a game that involves social distancing.  They must think it through in terms of rules, materials, what to call it, and how they will package it for others.  David has received back some very creative games from the students.  They have represented their games in a word docs,  power point and in video. 

1. Invent a game with physical distancing  2.  Invent means something new  3. 6’ apart & and can’t touch the same object.
4.  catchy name.  5.  List of rules for fair play. 6.  Questions:  inside/outside; number of people; equipment/materials; scoring; how long; when over.
7.  kind of game:  board? Word? Math? Treasure hunt? Other?  8.  What kind of sport? How far/close/times… 9.  Display game - choices - pp/word/video/other

What competencies live in this activity?  Is it accessible to all?  Is it engaging?  Can some or part of this activity be done independently?

Other creative and nature-based activities 

that are great to share

Think about the competencies, engagement, accessibility and independence in each of these.

There is no doubt that we are living in a difficult time.  
All of us are responding in different ways.  All of that is okay.  
As we move into this next week - let's remember to find JOY wherever we can
and give ourselves  a lot of space and GRACE.  

Thanks to:  Claire, David, Shelley, Kirsten, Byng Elementary, Mill Bay Outdoor School


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