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This past year, teachers found themselves in a dilemma. There was a common question of how do we deliver the same education to our students when we cannot see one another face-to-face?
For some, the term “virtual learning” has been a humdrum phrase, overused this past year- in the face of adversity (better known as COVID-19).
For others, the term “virtual learning” has opened an entirely new world of platforms for delivering and receiving education.
For perspective, veteran educators may have found it a bit difficult to adapt to the virtual platform settings, in comparison to traditional teaching in a physical classroom setting. In retrospect, novice educators may have adapted to varying online platforms, but lacked the preparation, enthusiasm, or experience to maintain each lesson.
There is no clear cut resolution to the individual experiences of educators while teaching remotely. However, one thing is for certain, the use of one’s own skillset set the standard for remote learning this past year.
The previously mentioned novice and experienced educators may have utilized their skills regarding Google platforms, Apple products, Zoom, Android, Facebook video conferencing tools, and Microsoft Teams to reach students. The background knowledge of video conferencing mixed with educational experiences and knowledge created welcoming, learning/virtual environments. Teachers were able to adapt to the ever changing virtual environments through technology platforms, along with the individual needs of their children and families, throughout the entire remote year. However, much consideration had to be taken, regarding day-to-day activities, as virtual learning did not leave much room for lack of preparation and planning.
For some experienced and novice educators, transitioning to a 100% virtual platform presented a different challenge. The concept of spending an entire career within a classroom setting and moving to a remote setting resulted in another level of passion, patience, and perseverance. Hours of preparation along with high levels of energy to deliver these same lessons, were the result of the same descriptive statements mentioned above. For some Teachers, learning how to navigate virtual platforms and then turning around to teach families how to navigate these same tools became a day-to-day reality.
For engagement, Teachers hopped around, sung songs, danced in the camera, scheduled Zoom’s with small children, conducted Parent Teacher Conferences remotely, and even participated in virtual field trips.
Amongst the daily lessons, it became extremely usual to witness a Teacher high-fiving her students through the computer screen. Teachers prepared packets for families and students to take home and possibly return. An unlimited number of phone calls, texts, emails, online professional developments, along with teaching were the result of the 2020 Covid-19 virtual lessons. It’s safe to say, that educators alike utilized their individual skill sets in order to deliver quality virtual lessons to students.
These skills are all things we can continue to take along the journey of teaching and learning.
Marilynn Andrews, M.A.
2. Blowing Bubbles
4. Water Gun
5. Grow Vegetables
7. Sit in sun
9. Make flower jewelry
10. Paint in the mud
11. Mud pies
12. Draw with chalk
13. Paint rocks
14. Fly a kite
15. Make a bug hotel
16. Eat popsicles
17. Fly paper airplanes
19. Hula hoop
21. Play in sprinkler
22. Hide and seek
23. Jump rope
26. Play catch
27. Plant flowers
28. Marco Polo
29. Nature walk
30. Lemonade stand
31. Playing catch
32. Catch fireflies
33. Making s’mores
34. Water balloon fight
35. Movies in backyard
36. Homemade Icecream
39. Homemade playdoh
40. Breakfast for dinner outside
41. Soapy water play
42. Pick berries
43. Watch fireworks
44. Visit farmers market
46. Paint with washable paint
47. Hunt for bugs
48. Write neighbors a note
49. Make obstacle course
50. Build fairy garden
“Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box.”
In the spirit of creativity, Amazon just released new updates and parents are encouraged to take full advantage. A remake of a previously established streaming service (FreeTime Unlimited) through Amazon, now has a creative new approach. This streaming service (Amazon Kids+) now includes kid friendly audio books, videos, and apps.
Amazon proclaims that parents will achieve peace of mind, given the control settings listed within the application including age restrictions, time limits, and profile creation. Learn more Here .
Compatible devices are found in the image below:
Are you a little weary of the same ole 2020 virtual learning? However, still looking for another way to interact with your preschooler that still caters to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) growth? Check out these top STEM toys for preschoolers and older:
1. Osmo – Little Genius Starter Kit for Fire Tablet
Ages- 36 months-5 years old
This interactive toy allows for your child to play alongside their tablet. As the tablet prompts a letter, your child can also create this letter using their manipulative manner. The tablet will then demonstrate the same figure on the screen.
2. Kidtastic Microscope Science Kit for Kids – Fun Learning Toys for Preschoolers – STEM Toy for 3 Year olds
Ages 3 and up
This STEM toy/tool re-enacts the viewing of microbiology using a kid-friendly microscope. While this educational toy is a little more in the costly side, $34.00, it does come with multiple “specimen” slides and lenses. Click HERE to view it!
3. JIAHCN See and Spell Educational Toys for Toddlers, Montessori Sight Word Learning Game
While this you involves more cognitive development, “letter recognition, word, and picture recognitions,” STEM can be intertwined using one of the 28 included picture cards. This is another great find for under $20! Click HERE to view!
4. STEAM Play & Learn: 20 fun step-by-step preschool projects about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math!
Looking for a step-by-step, on how to conduct STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) for preschoolers at home and in the classroom, this is for you! Under $15, and filled with experiments and opportunities for hands on exploration! Click HERE!
5. FIOLOM Gear Interlocking Building Blocks Fine Motor Skills Learning STEM Educational Building Toy Plastic Construction Connect Gear Set
Help your preschooler get a grasp of their fine motor skills along with learning other concepts such as problem solving. This is another great deal for under $20! Click HERE!
Good morning! Check out this counting cooking game on Education.com.
•Parents, you can talk about cooking breakfast and lunch! What makes them different? What utensils do you need? How many tacos do you see?
Click the link above to play!
Celebrating birthdays during the pandemic can be tricky. With social distancing guidelines in place, it makes it difficult to hold birthday celebrations, in person. Virtual birthday celebrations can be simply planned and orchestrated.
If you are planning a virtual birthday celebration, here is a cute video to share with your child or student:
Zoom! 🏎 Zoom! 🏎 Zoom! 🏎
Technology is flowing full steam ahead. With that, being in quarantine has forced creativity to sore at an all time high in most households, especially those with young children. Although, this is a “different” time, innovative interactions are taking place for our youngest learners.
If you are an educator or a parent that is looking for creative ways to excite your preschooler while Zoom video calling, this is for you!
Here are 20 Ideas When on Zoom With Your Preschoolers:
1. Virtual Hide and Seek Around the House- Have your preschooler give you clues where they have chosen to hide. Make sure mom or dad is supervising to ensure safe hiding places are happening
2. Cooking with My Teacher– This is a great way to talk about sequence (First, Next, Then, and Last) when cooking! “What are you mixing together first?”
3. Drawing Together/Free Art
4. Virtual Story time
5. Letter Activity (Flash cards)– Show flash cards on the screen and pause for student to respond. Creating online flash cards and using a split screen such as Flip Grid is another option.
6. Grocery shopping with my Teacher- Schedule a time to Zoom while the student is grocery shopping with parents. Practice naming some of the items you see in the store
7. Virtual Circle Time with Friends
8. Show and Tell- This can include favorite toys, household pets, drawings, etc
9. Practice Counting Together
10. Practice ABC’s Song
11. Collect Rocks and Plants from outside and show them off
12. Gardening with my mom/dad and teacher- Schedule a Zoom and plan for your student and parent(s) to plant flowers or vegetables
13. Practice lacing shoe strings
14. Talk about why people are wearing masks
15. Encourage healthy habits– If your preschooler says they need to use the restroom or sneezing, be sure to encourage healthy habits, even virtually
16. Playlist Sing-A-Long
17. Have Your Preschooler Showcase their skills- “Hop on One Foot! Hold Your Left Arm in the Air!”
18. Eat Lunch Together- Schedule a Zoom during your students lunch time and chat it up
19. Nature Walk in Backyard
20. Scavenger Hunt Around the House- Provide pictures and names of safe items that may be in your preschoolers home like “Window,” “Light,” and “Sock”
While these aren’t all sure signs that your preschooler will stay engaged during the entire Zoom video call, these are great learning and interactive opportunities!