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Getting Started at Home

Learning at home: getting started at home

What should teachers, students and families know before their first online session:

Don't be afraid.

Ask for help if you're stuck.

Be a risk-taker.

Well-Being and Connection

Maintaining connections between school staff and students is paramount, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our school communities.  This crisis disproportionately affects our most vulnerable students in terms of their physical and mental health, as well as academically.  With this in mind, we have compiled a
few ideas and resources to assist educators in this effort.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning Environments

Synchronous learning is like a virtual classroom which involves a group of students engaged in learning at the same time (e.g., video conferencing, live chat rooms, instant messaging).

Asynchronous learning involves student-centered learning like self-studying approach with necessary online learning resources (e.g., course management systems, email, reading articles).

Direct Instruction vs. Project-Based Learning

Direct instruction is a teacher-directed method using straight forward explicit instruction.

Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.

Time for Learning by Grade Level

Having weekly assignments, projects, video check-ins, projects are all ways to assess learning. Keep in mind that many families have limited internet and one device which must be shared between multiple people.

General guidance for student time-on-task includes time limits for each task the student is given to accomplish. Tasks should be a mix of receptive, students receiving information either by reading a book or engaging with items on a computer, and productive, students providing a written response to a prompt or crafting during an art project. The tasks need to be mixed throughout the day.  In addition, it is Important to give students cognitive breaks throughout the day and in between tasks, such as playing a game, riding a bike, doing chores, dancing, etc.  The Center for Disease Control has great ideas to achieve balance between screen time and break time.

Suggested time limits per task are as follows:

  • Pre-Kindergarten: 20 minutes per task
  • Kindergarten and First grade: 30 minutes per task
  • Second and Third grades: 40 minutes per task
  • Fourth and Fifth grades: 50 minutes per task
  • Sixth through Twelfth grades: 60 minutes per task

The guidelines above are meant for any delivery model -- packets, on-line, hybrid, etc.

Teachers may find that they must scale back and adjust after their first week with going online. Give yourself and students plenty of grace during this time. Everyone is adjusting and many have multiple roles at home.

General Guidance for Screen Time for Students

With screens virtually everywhere, controlling a child's screen time can be challenging. To complicate matters, some screen time can be educational for children as well as support their social development.  Below are general guidelines for limitations on screen time set by the American Association of Pediatrics and the Mayo Clinic.

  • Ages two to five years old:  1 hour per day
  • Ages six to ten years old:  1-1.5 hours per day
  • Ages eleven to thirteen years old:  2 hours per day
  • Ages fourteen to eighteen:  Up to 4 hours per day


Disclaimer: Homeschooling is not the same as working from home and assisting your children with learning.