Schools Closed. Now What?

School districts around the world are shuttering their doors for two or three weeks, vacations are discouraged, and social distancing is the new norm.

Some parents are worried about what to do with their kids.

On this website, you can find helpful links to learning activities to do with your kids if school is closed.

A couple of days ago, I saw a social media post from a local school district. School is closed for spring break the week of March 16, but district staff will be looking at what they need to do to prepare to educate their students from home beyond that date. As of today, there are no formal plans to close most public schools in the St. Louis area.  

From things I’ve heard from other teachers I believe that in the years since I retired, middle and high school students now access some of their learning on internet. Some students have their own district furnished chrome books. I don’t believe that is true for elementary students. The post I read mentioned one of the obstacles that needs to be overcome in order to provide equitable e-education.

Not all students in the district have computers or internet access. How can these children receive the same access to educational services as other students if they are learning from home? School district officials are wrestling with this question.

I remember my final years as a second-grade teacher before I retired in 2014. I had a classroom blog. I would post questions about chapter books I had been reading aloud, asking students what they thought might happen next. I asked about strategies for solving particular types of math problems. Sometimes science or social studies questions were posted.  I used this tool most frequently on holidays and breaks. Students were not required to participate on the blog, but many did. Several parents told me how much their children enjoyed this.

Some parents who did not have internet access at home were creative. One mom let her child use her cell phone to participate. Our school was open one evening each week for families to come and use computers or to get help with homework. Some students got on the blog then.

I also allowed time at school for students to access the blog if they chose. Students could help each other learn how it worked.

Probably about half of the students in my room participated. I felt that it benefitted those students.

I can’t imagine the computer being the only means of delivery of educational content! Some students love learning on the computer. Some don’t. Some children find it challenging to focus on written content.

I wonder how school districts will handle this dilemma. Will teachers upload video or audio lessons to their websites? Will the district implement live feed? Will content be delivered only as lessons to be read? Will any school directed learning be offered at all?

This is a new experience for many schools and I am curious about how this will work.

Several educators I know, both current and retired, have been posting some helpful links to their social media. These links offer some learning activities in all content areas. One provides a social story about coronavirus. Some offer virtual field trips. Some have some great family activities available to people who are engaged in social distancing.

In an effort to consolidate these resources, I have started adding these links to a new page on my website which I placed under the Information tab. Activities are not autism specific, however.

I will update the list of learning activities frequently. Check back frequently.

Each child learns differently. As a parent, you will hopefully find something that will appeal to your child.

If you know of other websites that families might find useful, feel free to share those links with me so I can add to the list.

You can share with me in several ways.

-Post a blog response.

-Email me at Debbie@ConversationsAboutAutism.com

Message me at Debbie Frick – Author on Facebook.

Meanwhile, stay healthy.

Note that the page URL link was changed to the Information tab on March 16, 2020.

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