Keeping Children Engaged in Remote Learning
Teachers and school staff are doing an amazing job at dealing with remote teaching and learning. Planning for learning in the classroom and for learning from home is the new expectation for teachers. From Phonics and Reading, Maths and English and Topic plus physical exercise, teachers need to be even more creative and keeping children engaged is going to be a bigger challenge.
Having been a teacher for years and experienced home learning first hand with my two children (aged 5 and 8), I can say that it is definitely a challenge! I found that breaking up the core learning with different and stimulating activities, both indoors and outdoors really helped.
I have created a list of a few ideas that may help to motivate and inspire the children. Most of the ideas are designed to get children away from screens and are fun or relaxing.
Set a challenge for the children to create their own circuits. This can be done outside on a dry day. Explain what a circuit is (a loop that comes back around) and give examples of what the children could set up or do – bouncing a ball on the spot 10 times, doing 10 star jumps, squatting 5 times, balancing on one leg for 5 seconds… Get the children up and moving and even suggest that parents join in too!
There’s nothing like a good sing song to lift the spirits. Tell the children to grab a hairbrush and choose their song. Songs can be nursery rhymes or pop songs. Anything goes. Sing it loud and proud and enjoy the freedom and happiness that singing brings!
There are so many art or creative based activities that can be easily done at home. I always have in felt tips and crayons, a set of primary colours paints, a ream of plain paper and glue sticks. Rock painting has always been a favourite of mine and my children. Not only do children get to paint pictures or designs on rocks, but they get to go outside and find some as well. There are so many ideas on Pinterest for this, so I suggest looking there if you need to give a few examples to parents.
Ask the children to keep a weather diary. They can draw or write down what the weather is like every day or during the day, and then compare it to their friends. They could even do a weather report for each other, presenting the weather for the day.
Socialising with Friends
The social aspect of school is so important to children and keeping in touch with their friends has never been more important. Dedicate some time every day or across the week to allow children to make contact with their friends. This could be across a safe social chat or it could be writing a note/letter to a friend to safely exchange.
Give children the task of helping to make their lunch – Supervision from an adult is required but this can be done with or without their help, depending on the age of the children or what is being made for lunch! Sandwich making is a good place to start. The children could all take photos of their food to share. Why not get creative and make some food faces as well?
Dreams and Goals
Give the children the challenge of making their own treasure chest. They could use a special box or decorate a shoe box. The idea is that they collect special things and keep them in their box. They could write down a dream or wish and save it in their box. Showcase your boxes and even share something from inside.
Getting children to relax is harder than it sounds but is a good way to calm the body and mind. There are many different ways to relax from yoga to colouring in. One that I particularly like is a simple meditation – sitting down, closing your eyes, taking a deep breath in and letting it out, then thinking of all the things you are grateful for. They could be your health, your family, your home and toys, your friends or even the food you eat.
End of the Day
When I was a teacher, I always liked to end the day with a positive thought, something that has gone well that day. Why not continue to do this from home? Add it to a timetable or say it in the virtual classroom.
Remember, you are all doing your upmost to ensure that the children in school and at home are continuing to access the curriculum and learn. Keep going and keep smiling. The children take great comfort from the familiarity of their teacher.