Top 5 Learn-from-Home Tips from the AZ Teacher of the Year

Top 5 Learn-from-Home Tips from the AZ Teacher of the Year
Posted on 03/20/2020
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Hi Salt River Schools Families! Lynette Stant here! I am proud to be a Salt River Elementary School third grade teacher and also the2020 Arizona Teacher of the Year. I am so glad to be sharing my top “learn-from-home” tips to help students keep their love of learning while our schools are closed.

Teachers around the state understand that now, more than ever, learning must be innovative. At Salt River Schools, educators want learning to happen everywhere, not just in the classroom, and we are committed to providing the best resources for our students and families. You should be hearing from your child’s own teacher(s) about academic enrichment packets (from SRES, SRHS, and the ALA) that can be worked on at home to keep young minds active and learning.

Before I give you my tips, it is important to understand that learning at home is not going to look like it does in the classroom—as teachers, we know this, but adults and students should be aware of this, too. So, the best advice I have here is to take a deep breath and remember that every family is unique. Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips for learning at home:

  1. Develop a Learning Agenda: Start by having your children help you create a daily schedule and post it where everyone can see it. When children know the agenda, they can prepare their minds and bodies and think “learning.” Split up the academics throughout the day—it doesn’t have to all get done at once. Remember that chores can be great ways to learn; cooking, gardening, and cleaning, for instance, can be great opportunities for children to practice and build their reading, math, and science skills. Click here to check out this great site from PBS on how to create your own learning schedule at home.
  2. Be Patient: Your child is going through this COVID-19 experience along with you and the rest of the world, and there’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety these days. It is OK if your child is not up to working! If this is a mood you find them in, offer to let them pick an activity of their choice. Set a timer. Once the time is up, try to re-engage them with the school work. For children worried or feeling anxious about COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have great resources on how to talk to children and reduce stress - click here for more information. Also, the SRPMIC Crisis Line (855-331-6432) is free and available 24/7 to talk to a trained crisis specialist about any concerns.
  3. Play: This is so important! Play is a major part of your child’s development, so make physical games (like tag, dancing, or sports), creativity, and imagination part of their daily schedule. Engage the whole family with board games. It’s Spring (yay!), so be sure to give children time outside. If you’re staying indoors, my friends who teach kindergarten recommend watching JBrary on YouTube for songs that encourage interactive movement. If you’re going outside, make sure to respect others and avoid being in close contact with those outside your household; and protect you and your family by following these CDC safety measures.
  4. Practice Literacy: Make stories—whether they’re reading words themselves, listening to you read (or tell stories) aloud, or making up their own stories—a part of your child’s day. Strengthening their reading skills, especially, is absolutely something studies show will help your child the most, academically. Literacy takes shape in many ways, and can involves books, websites, comics, newspapers, magazines, cultural storytelling, and more! At Salt River Schools, we recommend downloading the free app Footsteps2Brilliance for kids up to third grade. Reach out to your teacher if you need more suggestions about reading resources.
  5. Write: Putting pencil to paper is a great tool for self-expression, and can begin with a simple doodle. Check out The Kennedy Center YouTube channel for some great doodle videos from artist Mo Willems. Our very own teacher from SRES, Ms. Enriquez, did some doodling based on the book “Not A Box,” you can watch here and try for yourself! Finally, if you have a computer, learning to type on a keyboard is a great skill to have for higher learning and later for many careers. Dance Mat Typing is a great program to help build keyboarding skills at multiple age levels.

I hope these tips help enrich the fun learning environment you have at home. We here at Salt River Schools miss our students so much, and we cannot wait to see them again! Happy home learning :)

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