A month ago, you might have been thinking about prepping your classroom for testing season. Now, with the unprecedented pandemic situation and the precautions schools are taking to protect their students, tests are likely the last thing on your mind. Standardized testing may be canceled entirely or migrated online, and your curriculum may need to do the same.
Here’s what you can do for students during the COVID-19 quarantine:
1. Transition Your Curriculum to Digital Learning
It’s possible that schools will require online learning alternatives for the foreseeable future — so you should be prepared to continue teaching your students in an untraditional way. Here are some ideas:
- Create a classroom Facebook page where you upload lessons, host live classes, check in with parents and communicate with students.
- Utilize class messaging apps and digital learning management systems to provide learning support and collaborative experiences.
- Host virtual board meetings to communicate with administrators and other educators on a comprehensive online strategy.
2. Make Health a Lesson
With the coronavirus on everyone’s minds, it’s more important than ever to stress personal hygiene and health. Consider using this situation as an opportunity to remind your students about clean habits through an online lesson. Talk about:
- The importance of hand-washing — and a few songs they can sing to ensure they scrub for at least 20 seconds
- Why students should never touch their faces, eyes or mouth
- How kids should always cough into their elbows
- How and why to practice social distancing with people outside their homes
- How to talk with their parents about their symptoms if they do feel unwell
3. Prioritize Self-Care
In addition to good hygiene, remind your students to care of their physical and mental health, and encourage them to talk to their parents about incorporating healthy habits. Kids should continue to get eight to ten hours of sleep and eat a healthy breakfast to provide fuel for the brain, boost their immune systems and keep them energized.
Send out emails to parents and students with supportive reminders. You can offer some suggestions for fun activities to keep kids relaxed and occupied when they’re confined at home, such as:
- Cooking a healthy meal together with their parents
- Exercising together: be silly or have a dance party
- Making a reading list and reading with their parents or independently
- Starting a creative project like a short story or drawing
At the same time, take your own advice. You may feel anxious and uncertain, but take the time to relax, exercise, eat healthy and indulge in some self-care.
4. Help Students Find Online Resources
Some students may need additional support or struggle to learn from home. Help them stay on top of their learning through one-on-one messaging, video lessons, a curated list of learning sites, and online learning opportunities.
5. Prepare for Online Testing — Or No Testing at All
At the moment, there’s no way of knowing whether you’ll be back in school in time for standardized testing — but it’s safe to suppose you may not. If your school does choose to pursue individual online testing options, get ahead by researching guidelines, understanding the process and requirements. Make yourself available through video chats or online communication to help students prepare for possible testing — maybe you can even host a group review session on Google Hangouts or via Facebook.
6. Take on Online Learning With Confidence
The current situation is presenting new challenges in education — and everywhere else — but helping your students now will make them more adaptable and prepare them for bigger challenges in the future. Stay supportive of your students, stay confident in your curriculum and stay healthy — we’re all in this together.