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Distance Learning and Parent Participation

  • 1.  Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-01-2020 04:12 PM
    Hi,

    How have you suggested activities to your parents? Do you receive much parent participation?

    I have noticed that many of my parents do not seem interested or are just not commenting on many of the activities, lesson plans, web resources, virtual story times, or even a virtual community service project I've created for their children.

    This community service project is just a simple question: Why Do You Think Doctors, Nurses, and Other Medical Staff are amazing? The parents will just write down their child's comment in an e-mail  and/or send a picture of their child holding their comment if they like.

    I have extended the deadline and sent out another e-mail stating that I will be sending the PowerPoint I create with the messages and photos out on Thursday. It is very disheartening that parents are not responding to such a worthy cause. It is just a simple thank you to those who care for us during a medical crisis.

    I don't know if it is because they see me as the "afternoon teacher" for their children (which equates to babysitting in their eyes) or that because the "morning teacher" is doing Zoom Circle times and they consider this more interesting than just activities, web resources, taped virtual story times etc.

    I myself am cautious of Zoom due to the privacy and security issues as stated on the news of late and don't feel comfortable doing this. I have always tried to create meaningful and educational experiences for all the children in the afternoon.

    Thankfully, some of the parents have been amazing, and I am trying to look on the bright side of things. It's just hard for me because I work for a Christian school and the parents are not acting the most kind or compassionate during a time that is difficult for everyone.

    This just makes me feel unappreciated, hurt, and frustrated. I'm trying the best I can with all the resources I have. I am even sending them free activities/lessons I created  for my TpT store too.

    Any suggestions for parent/child engagement would be helpful. Thanks in advance.


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
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  • 2.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 01:08 AM
    Hi Jennifer,
    It is challenging when you aren't getting feedback to know whether your efforts are being well received. It sounds like you're doing your best to provide resources for families. It may not feel like it, but I'm sure your efforts are appreciated by your families, even if they aren't explicitly saying anything.
    I'm wondering if many of your families are dealing with additional challenges resulting from quarantines, loss of income, and/or medical concerns. I know many of our parents are trying to work from home, usually with multiple children, on top of now trying to homeschool children for the remainder of the school year. I wonder if not participating in your service project has more to do with families trying to manage the stress of all these changes/life adjustments than not wanting to support a good cause.
    As a teacher (and mom) who is also working from home, I believe that what we all need right now more than educational resources is a sense of connection. Zoom meetings are helpful in providing that sense of connection for families since participants can see each other in real time.
    This is an unusual time for all of us. Parents are scrambling to figure things out just like we are. And just like we are, they are trying to do the best they can with the resources they have. Even if you don't get the participation you're hoping for, know that you ARE appreciated! The work you do is so important to families! Keeping doing what you can to support families and also do what you need to do to take care of yourself too!

    ------------------------------
    Bernadette Nicholas
    Educator
    Little Owl Preschool
    Long Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 07:01 AM
    Hi Jennifer,

    I was having really conflicted feelings about sending materials home. There are a few different lenses to think about this through.

    - Many families are working from home, potentially "homeschooling" other children and have the stress of what is going on around them. To add another thing to their to do list may not be what they are needing. Something that we talked about at our center is that the families really do just need to be there for their children, love, care and attention is really what many and most children are needing.

    -Also, typical things during this time might be more stressful than in the past. I was working with a student who wanted to put together cooking projects for families- when in reality flour is very hard to come by where we are right now. So it is also important to know the families you serve and if they are even able to complete a task.

    - Along with this, it may be overwhelming for even parents to think about this topic. I know I have a difficult time reading articles or talking to friends who are in the medical profession as I worry about their safety and their well being.

    Have you tried to ask families what they are needing at this time? When I was thinking about how to best support families I sent out a survey asking how I could best support them? Would they be interested in doing Zoom meetings to keep those relationships alive and strong. Then when I received information back most families were looking for quick games or simple things that they could put into their days.

    Lastly, when it can be is easily to think that it is something that you are doing it is important to remember why you are doing what you are. Unfortunately, sometimes being a teacher isn't about what you are getting back but knowing that you are doing your all for families in a time where love and support is needed everywhere. It might be helpful to reflect on your own "w- questions" before sending home a project and think about the "why" for families. Why are you wanting them to do this? Why is it applicable for the children? What do you want the children to get out of it? When have they been exposed to a person in the medical field? What might be holding families back from participating?
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Amanda
    Head Teacher
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, MI
    - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    ------------------------------
    Amanda Hughes
    MSU - Child Dev Laboratories
    East Lansing MI
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  • 4.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 08:47 AM
      |   view attached
    Great points Jennifer!  We are doing Zoom Morning Meeting and Tuesdays I do a parent zoom for feedback and support in the afternoon (when their children are likely napping).  Many of my parents were stressed about being sure their kids attend every Zoom Morning Meeting.  It is more important I feel that we support and know what our families need-for me that meant assuring them I would still count them "present" based on all the pictures shared through the BLOOMZ app of what the kids have been doing (went sent home school closure lesson activities).
    Parents are now trying to juggle many roles at once and feel pressure to send more time with their kids "teaching" them while also working from home.  We created a choice grid that allows them some flexibility and choice of activities.
    Jessica King
    Charleston, SC
    University of Alabama Graduate Student

    ------------------------------
    Jessica King
    Teacher
    Blessed Sacrament School
    Charleston SC
    ------------------------------

    Attachment(s)



  • 5.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-03-2020 11:26 AM
    First of all, I have to say that I am so deeply impressed with those in the early education especially and education in general as so many have stepped in to find ways within the constraints of the covid-19 world to reach out to parents, children, and community in such creative and thoughtful ways.  It is truly amazing and I am hoping that our efforts "go viral" with legislators and the media as a way to share the importance and dedication of you all.

    I just want to remind ourselves that not only are parents stressed, resources are stretched to the limits, and not all have access (or easy access) to the technology that we are using or the skills to understand what we are putting out there.  I am sure all of you know your parents and who has access to what languages, technology, knowledge, and resources.  Sometimes a phone call to both child and parent or a letter in the mail might be alternate approaches to reaching our to families.  I know that many of you are being stretched in terms of your time to make calls or money could be nonexistent as the closures hit for things like paper and stamps, or even gas to actually deliver letters to the families.  However, it is another possibility for contacting and supporting families.

    I send my best wishes to each and every one of you as you find your own way to continue your important and needed word -- for the children.  Stay safe and healthy.  Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    [Cary [Larson-McKay, PhD]
    NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council
    [Past President, California AEYC]
    [Consultant, Wonder Strength]
    [Morro Bay] [CA]member of NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council. California AEYC Past President, Chair of Chapter Relations Committee, Chair of Inclusion and Diversity C
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-07-2020 07:54 AM
    Amanda,
    Thank you for your response, it was very well said and helpful!

    Krista Call

    ------------------------------
    Krista Call
    Preschool Director
    Zion Lutheran School
    O Fallon IL
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 08:39 AM

    Jennifer:

    I'm sorry you're having this experience and feeling unappreciated.  My guess is that it's mostly about parents feeling overwhelmed.  My program supports teachers, directors and parents.   The feedback I'm getting from some parents is that they appreciate everyone's efforts but they just don't have the bandwidth to do more. They love the resources but barely have time to open another link. Many of them are struggling to work from home with their children there.  They're inside much of the day, their children are apart from their peers, teachers, and regular routines and activities.  They love the bonding time but the days are very, very long.  Parents are also struggling, as many of us are, with their own anxiety about the disease, their employment and financial stability, and not knowing how long this will last.  These are extraordinarily difficult times for all.

    I think compassion is in order from all of us and to all of us.  It's a teacher's job to teach and it's hard to be in a position where there are so many limitations on what that means.  You have many parents who are responding to you.  You might ask them what they'd like more of and what they'd like less of.  Let the parents who aren't responding off the hook and let yourself off the hook for not reaching them.  You're probably all doing the best that you can.  Be well.



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 09:43 AM
    Hi Jennifer

    Our Christian based preschool is sending a list of suggested activities to parents that include things they can find around their house or outside which include fine motor, science, sensory, snack and synchronized fun activities and food ideas, etc.  We are also doing video circle times with reading stories and bible stories along with zoophonic letter identification and sounds, number, shapes, and colors. We made our own youtube channel the parents can subscribe too to watch the videos and we have a teacher meeting in zoom that is private with a password.

    This gives parents suggestions how to help their whole family learn and play.  We feel that these type of activities will help parents make learning fun while being able to have fun themselves and take the stress out of having to help their preschool child with homework sheet activities and things they have to turn in.  It is one less stressed parents would rather not have to worry about when they are working at home and have older kids they are trying to help homeschool.  At least this was the feedback we got and they are loving it.  They can schedule it around their schedule as they can and helps them have fun.

    Hope this gives you some ideas that might better help your parents.  It sounds like you are doing a great job so far.  Maybe just a little tweak here and their would get the parents better engaged? Keep playing with it and see what works.  We are constantly changing things around to what works better for the parents and asking for their feedback.  Good Luck!!

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Skinner
    Teacher
    Waterstone Preschool
    Littleton CO
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-02-2020 11:25 AM
    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you all so much for responding so quickly to my question. It's just really disheartening that in a time when solidarity and community is needed the most, parents and caregivers are unable to emotionally support their community and provide a wonderful lesson of compassion to their children. I sent out the Powerpoint of two children's (plus a sibling of one of the children's), quotes about doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. I filled the rest with a prayer for medical staff, a word art image I designed, quotes about doctors, and a letter written by me with all of the children's names around it.

    I really do understand parents are overwhelmed. We as teachers are overwhelmed and learning to deal and teach during this pandemic also. Since I work for a Christian school, I will not be paid once funds run out. Since churches do not pay into unemployment, I cannot file for unemployment. At that point, I will have to rely on my small income from TpT. Unfortunately, that small amount will not be able to support me. We all have our worries and anxieties that we need to push aside during this terrifying and catastrophic predicament.

    I will take your advice and ideas to heart and find a happy medium. I especially liked the Christian lesson plan from Jessica. Most likely I will only send once a week e-mails and continue virtual storytimes (using my camera). I do not like Zoom due to the privacy and security issues. I know it is password protected, but cyber criminals are out in force during this trying time. This is not a risk I am willing to take.

    I previously created a choice board for my families with plenty of hands-on-activities such as creating their names out of play dough, going on a nature scavenger hunt, and more. I have been sending out links provided by the NAEYC also. One example of an item I sent out was the Coronavirus Social Story posted on this board.

    Stay safe and healthy.

    Thanks again. I truly do appreciate it.


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer United States
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-03-2020 09:03 AM
    Hi Jennifer,
    You might be interested in this perspective. I think he makes good points. Many parents are simply overwhelmed with all life has thrown at them right now.

    https://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/there-are-plenty-of-things-to-worry.html?m=1#.XnNyM-qVaMw.facebook

    Kathy Aplington

    ------------------------------
    Kathleen Aplington
    Chicago IL
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  • 11.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-03-2020 09:54 AM
    Thank you so much for sharing this message. It was lovely to read. I do understand this perspective and it's fine not to do any of the activities I provide, but I feel just asking your children a simple question about why doctors and nurses are amazing would improve a child's well-being, feeling of safety , and show compassion for others as a community.

    We need community service and a sense of calm created by simple, easy, community service projects for young children to better understand the new normal.

    Otherwise, this situation has no meaning in a child's life and they will feel like it is an extended vacation rather than an important life lesson of proper sanitation, understanding they sometimes will not have control over their situation, and an improved resilience of spirit.

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
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  • 12.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-04-2020 10:13 AM
    Jennifer,
    It still seems like you are not understanding the stress families are under. I very much agree that coming together in community is important! I think your project is wonderful. However,  many families are in crisis mode. They are trying to survive. They are in various stages of grief. If they suffer from anxiety or depression those conditions might very well keep them from even being able to get out of bed.
    I am the parent of 2 middle school age children. I'm thankful that my children are mostly independent when it cones to doing their work. I am able to post things for my students. I could not handle extra things for my own children at this point.
    I am the primary preschool teacher for 28 three to five year olds. I post activities to our Seesaw pages daily. Thus far, about 10 students have replied they are doing the activities. So about 1/3. I've had Zoom meetings with my students where less than 1/2 "show up". I know that my families appreciate what I am doing, they are just overwhelmed!!!! I spoke to one family who apologized for not getting to the online activities as she's overwhelmed by her 2 elementary school aged boys and their work. Her exact words were "I just can't. By the time I get one boy going (independently) the other one needs me. I just look at (the child I teach) and hand her coloring pages."

    Please know that your families are in crisis. They aren't dismissing what you are asking as not important. ​They just might not be able to handle that right now. Don't be discouraged, keep posting things. As everyone adjusts to our "new normal" you might get more participation.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-04-2020 04:44 PM
    Hi Heather,

    I truly do understand the crisis that is happening and continuing for all of us. We as childcare workers and educators are working from home trying to create activities to garner interest as best we can. I will be cutting back on my activities for each week.. If this is too overwhelming for the parents and caregivers, then they can choose to do them or not. I am perfectly fine with this.

    I take great pride in my work and will continue to develop quality resources for parents/caregivers. I myself have just been told that my school with be closed to April 30th. While I understand I will be getting a small pay cut, I am still happy I am getting paid. I would rather have to stay at home then have the chance of acquiring Coronavirus.

    This will remain a difficult time for all of us. I am just trying to show the children they are resilient and capable individuals with the activities I am designing. Many people are going through stages of grief and are having difficulty with the "new normal" and "If they just can't" do an activity that is fine. I am just happy that I took the time to create it. I know that many people are now foregoing most of their everyday activities including working with their children. I am just giving them a choice to use the activities and lessons or not.

    Yes, I understand the parents appreciate my activities, but a nice gesture would be to send a thank you or a how are you? not, just to know that they are listening and maybe doing the activities. We need community now more than ever and stress will continually through a curve ball at us today and always.

    I do appreciate your comments and am taking them into great consideration. I am just trying to be as proactive as I can be at this time. I am a type A doer that needs to constantly be busy with something.


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
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  • 14.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-05-2020 09:39 AM
    I will add that non-response doesn't necessarily mean non-appreciation.  And some parents may be taking some of the things you are suggesting and doing them with their children in some way, just not in the way you are prescribing.  Connecting with their children, asking children questions, and having conversations is the most important thing parents can do right now. To be honest and blunt--answering to you is just not going to be a priority for some parents, nor should it be.  It has nothing to do with being or not being a good person or a good parent.  It's not too much for you to offer them some good tools but it is too much to expect them to answer to you in the way that you want.  I think everyone on here is inviting you to stretch your capacity for being in the parents' shoes.  Offer support to them and their children freely, without expectations for what you get back. That is compassion in action.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-05-2020 11:02 AM
    Hi Aren,

    I am sorry if I sound uncompassionate and uncaring to their needs. I will still be sending items, just less and less frequently.

    I just felt physically hurt and upset that parents did not respond to my community service project. Sending items with no response just feels like I am futile with my efforts.

    I constantly feel that I am the lesser of the teachers since I am the afternoon teacher. They have responded to her saying they were going to use suggestions I provided and didn't let me know about it. While very nice, I don't want to hear a parent's appreciation from my co-worker. I would like to hear it directly from the parent.

    I truly am appreciative of  everyone's comments and am taking them into consideration. ‎Thank you all for all your help.


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
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  • 16.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-06-2020 08:10 AM
    Hang in there, Jennifer.  Everyone is worn down, maybe especially parents with young kids at home.  This, for me, is a time of letting go of hurts and expectations-not an easy task.  And it seems like there are already some difficulties about your standing as an equal teacher.  I've seen that happen many times in centers and it's hard.

    It sounds like your co-teacher is telling you when parents are using something that you sent to them.  Maybe you can send an email to the parents that says something like:  "I heard from _____that some of you are using some of the suggestions that I've sent out.  I'm so glad to hear that!  Please feel free to contact me anytime.  I'd love to hear how you're doing and what else might be helpful to you."  Keep it simple, without expecting that you're going to get a lot back. The gesture you make to parents counts for a lot. Hope that makes sense.

    It's enormously hard to not be able to do the jobs that we're used to 
    doing and that we love.


    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-07-2020 04:20 PM
    Hi Aren,

    Thanks so much for the advice. It really means a lot to me. You nailed how I feel right on the head. I did e-mail the mom that said she was using my virtual playdate information and said that I heard it from my co-teacher and that I thought it was wonderful that she was using my suggestion even before you suggested it. I just felt I needed to (with this whole morning/afternoon situation) happening.

    I am listening to your advice and doing the best I can to be proactive and focused. I'm letting the small stuff go and moving onto what truly needs to be done.If I need any future help I will definitely contact you.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer United States
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  • 18.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-08-2020 06:44 AM
    The article "Making the Connection: Communicating with ELLs and their Families During School Closures" includes many good suggestions for working with families during this time that include advice such as "Build relationships. Get to know students and their families. Find ways to connect."  The article includes suggestions others have offered, such as the importance of finding out more about/understanding the current reality for each family/what will be useful at this time and specific ideas of ways to try and connect with each family and questions to ask when checking in. Hope some of the ideas prove useful for connecting with families and understanding how best to support each family with learning at home-what will work best.

    ------------------------------
    Bonnie Blagojevic
    Morningtown Consulting
    Orono ME
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-08-2020 11:32 AM
    Hi Bonnie

    I have sent an e-mail to the parents with a virtual Easter Egg Hunt I created for the children. I asked very politely for the parents to let me know how they were enjoying the activities, if they needed help with anything for themselves or their children and have heard nothing.

    I don't understand why they are not answering or even communicating with me. I'be only heard from the morning teacher that they are using info I give them. I am the afternoon teacher who is giving the information and hear nothing. I don't understand this morning/afternoon rivalry. I am just exhausted and frustrated of constantly trying.



    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
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  • 20.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-08-2020 02:51 PM
    Hi Jennifer,
    It sounds like this situation has brought up concerns you have about your standing as a teacher. Teaching is certainly an exercise of the heart and not feeling appreciated can be especially painful when we are pouring ourselves into what we do. And during this stressful, uncertain time I can see how those feelings can be magnified.
    I would encourage you to use some time to explore those feelings. Get curious. Ask yourself where they come from, why you feel this way, what is underneath those feelings, how do they affect your thoughts and actions? Write it all out.
    And then I would encourage you to write out who you are as a teacher and what positive contributions you bring to the teaching team. Finally, I would challenge you to look for and list specific evidence that you are appreciated by the children, parents, your co-teacher, your administrator, without adding anything to negate this evidence.
    This is a stressful time, for everyone, including us teachers. Self care is SO important. And not have-a-spa-day kind of self-care but deep care that nourishes your innermost self. Make sure that during this time you're doing things like eating healthy, drinking lots of water, getting ample rest, working out, connecting (virtually) with loved ones, meditating, doing breath work, journaling, processing all that is happening and all the ways your body, mind, and soul are responding to what's happening. I urge you to get a little selfish right now. Take time to NOT care about your families or the children or the morning teacher and care for YOU.
    We will get through this. You will get through this. It's hard, but you got it.

    ------------------------------
    Bernadette Nicholas
    Educator
    Little Owl Preschool
    Long Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-11-2020 08:33 AM
    Hi Jennifer,

    So impressed with the many thoughtful responses shared- lots of wisdom to review and reflect on as you consider your way forward.

    As others have discussed, relationship and connection is so important with families right now, which you mention is missing-hard to know how to plan meaningful curriculum without that feedback. My own experience is that some people, when overwhelmed (or even generally in life) do not reply to email. The article I mentioned suggests a first step of contacting each family by phone might work (perhaps can discuss these ideas with your program director…) and asking families for their preferred methods of communication, so you know what will work best for them.

    The article also provided good questions to consider asking-how are you doing? what do you need? Might provide helpful insights, and also to understand if families have regular access to a device so their child can participate in activities you have sent (it is a phone or mobile device), is it shared/multiple children in the family using it (and factors others have mentioned here in their replies.) I have heard other teachers comment about family participation being a concern-many educators are trying to figure out how to support the children/families they work with (which will vary for each situation.)

    Emily Roden recently reflected on her role as a parent and educator in her blog post Partnering with Families? Prioritize Bonding, Play and Fun. This quote struck me as relevant to your question... "Now more than ever, when families are potentially out of work, navigating food scarcity, and wondering how this crisis will impact their financial security, our job as educators is not to ask families to do what trained teachers do. Our job is to support families in the things they are doing in the home any way-preparing meals, eating together, doing laundry, etc.-and to model for them how those common activities can be meaningful for their young children! " The article shares examples/video models of fun activities, such as Freeze Dance.

    These are such unusual and unpredictable times.  Figuring out how best to respond and support young children and families, what is truly helpful, will be a learning journey, so we can just keep trying and sharing ideas...


    ------------------------------
    Bonnie Blagojevic
    Morningtown Consulting
    Orono ME
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-08-2020 04:44 PM
    Hi Bernadette,

    Thank you so much for your beautiful message. I will try out your suggestions. I'm just trying to be as helpful as I can, but it hurts when no feedback is given. I want to make this time easier for the families, but you are right. I need to focus more on how I'm feeling and what I'm doing for myself. I will continue to send information. If I get feedback that's  wonderful and if not that's okay too.


    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-13-2020 01:54 AM
    Consider this: Parents are not simply "working from home." They are at home during a state of emergency -- parenting and trying to work.

    So what can we give them and their children right now?

    I'm sure your activities are great and that they'd largely enjoy these if they were on vacation. But they are not. Consider that it feels like homework to many of them, especially when it is something due. You gave them deadlines, and that creates a sense of obligation.

    At a time like this, I believe the goal is to continue relationships that have zero power dynamics. This is a time to offer, not demand. Think of what you can offer that would support the whole families, and maybe ask that in a straight-forward way. We are in the business of building spaces for exploration and collaborative learning.

    Think of ways that it can be a.more open-ended and fun time for them at home that involves you giving to them -- giving time, kindness, connection, maybe materials, ideas and just a gentle ear. Families may have people very sick. They may be spending hours trying to secure unemployment or in long lines at food pantries. What ideas can come from their current reality?

    We have families logging onto Zoom for a circle time, some every day. Toddlers are touching the screen trying to feel the teacher's face. Teachers sing with them, read a book, ask each child what they had for breakfast. It gives something to the family: a sense of connection and our continuing relationships. Give and offer rather than ask for things. That is what they'll respond to right now, I think.

    ------------------------------
    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Centers
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 04-20-2020 02:39 PM
    Hi Mars,

     I did not see my project as homework. I was simply asking for a kind word or artwork for doctors and nurses. The "due" date was so that parents knew that I would be sending it to the hospital at a particular time. Apparently, it was not seen as obligatory because even after I sent out the completed project for them to view, they did not send comments or pictures.

    Yes, they do work at home and are parenting. This is a healthcare crisis. It is stressful and relentless for them and everyone. I have been "giving" to them repeatedly. I have asked how they are and if they or their children need anything. I am available at any time. I have not received any e-mails stating they need help or support at this time.

    They are taking care of their own needs at this time in their own way. This is perfectly fine and I respect their wants and needs. I am supporting them in numerous ways with no feedback. This means that they feel that this support is enough.

    Many of my lessons are open-ended and fun. They can be done in several minutes and some do not even ask for parent participation. Children can do some of these activities on their own. Others do ask for parent participation. I have been specifically looking for lessons that require less parent participation to help reduce the stress on parents. Many of my lessons have been drastically altered to require basic household items and include many conversation-starting activities.

    Some children and parents crave social-emotional support and education at this time. Other families do not. They are very private and are looking for peace and inward solitude rather than constant interaction with teachers and caregivers.

    The following, is a poem that was shared by a fellow teacher-author on teacherspayteachers.com, that beautifully states the crisis America is facing from people from all walks of life. Everyone may be suffering in their own ways (whether seen or unseen). I'm sure you may see yourself and others you know in the poem below. It is not for us to say how others are feeling at this time. It is a very emotional and personal situation for each individual.

    WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT...

    I heard it said that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

    For some, quarantine is optimal: a moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

    In some homes, a sole occupant faces endless loneliness. In others, family members are getting peace, rest, and time with each other - while in still others, quarantine means an increased danger due to domestic violence.

    With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment, some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

    Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

    Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk, and eggs for the weekend.

    Some want to go back to work because they don't qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

    Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

    Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don't believe this is a big deal.

    Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

    So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

    Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

    We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

    Unknown author

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Illinois
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 30 days ago
    Wondering if anyone uses Seesaw to communicate with parents ....

    Sent from my iPhone


  • 26.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 29 days ago
    We've been using it for three years at our school.  Until the stay at home order, I primarily used it to send pictures to parents to document student learning and give them a view into our day at school.  Now, I use it to create activities for my students to complete at home.  It is very user friendly.  My peers and I (Pre-K through 3rd grade) have been able to send a wide variety of activities to our families, and students are able to easily send pictures of completed work back to us.  I have loved hearing my students' voice recordings, seeing their pictures, and watching their videos.  I can't imagine getting through Home Learning without SeeSaw.  If you have any more questions,  I am happy to help.

    ------------------------------
    Lori Foy
    Teacher
    St Luke's Episcopal School
    Baton Rouge LA
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 29 days ago
    I have been using it the same way Lori does. I just started with it this year as a way to share pictures and videos of our classroom and things the students are learning that don't "fit in a backpack". Since the shutdown, I have been creating activities for the families to do at home. I record videos of everything I would teach if we were face to face. The families can respond if they want. Some do, some don't. I love seeing photos of my students and their families engaging in activities. The videos they send are such a treat. It's pretty user friendly. They also have webinars to learn more. Feel free to ask me anything.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 29 days ago
    Meg, some of the PreK teachers I collaborated with in Maine used Seesaw in a variety of ways to partner with families and really found it a great tool to collaborate with families (They shared some of their ideas in this NAEYC TYC article  /Log in to your member account to view the article...)

    Think it is very helpful that Seesaw offers a variety of ways for teachers to learn about how to use Seesaw and exchange ideas... PD in your PJ's, so can learn when convenient by watching the recordings , opportunities to use activities created by others and share activities you create, and FB groups for Seesaw Teachers by grade (PreK, K). As Lori mentioned, so wonderful now that families can share photos and videos back with the teacher about learning that is happening at home.

    ------------------------------
    Bonnie Blagojevic
    Morningtown Consulting
    Orono ME
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Distance Learning and Parent Participation

    Posted 28 days ago
    Good Morning Everyone,
    I totally agree with Lori , Meg
    I use Seesaw along with other forms of tasks for my dual- age group. It is easy and child- centered as well as parent friendly. I could not have survived this remote learning without it. I post my own tasks , use some of theirs and daily communication with parents and student excellent resource for daily learning.- Millie ❤️🌎🌞

    Sent from my iPhone