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Showing posts with label online learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online learning. Show all posts

Why Can't Children Pay Attention During Online Learning?

I've heard many complaints about young children who aren't able to stay attentive during online classes.

Are you finding this to be the case?
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.
 
Of course you are! Why? Because children were never meant to spend hours paying attention to a screen!

Yes, I know what you're thinking: but my kid can pay attention to a screen for hours when it's a video game!

Well, yes, there are hours of planning, creating, coding, and designing going into the constant stimulation of a video game. That's not realistic in an online classroom setting.
Plus, we know that's not in their best interest. (See this blog post: Avoiding TOO MUCH screen time!)

But paying attention to a teacher all day while sitting at the computer? Wow, that's a totally different story!

Here are a few reasons why it's hard for them:
 

Emotional Needs

Most teachers are familiar with the expression, "Maslow Before Blooms!" Maslow is known for his Hierachy of Needs. Besides those very basic needs of food, warmth, and rest, are the emotional needs of security and safety. Along with those are a need to feel important, included, and respected.

As much as teachers and parents are trying, with our crazy world these days, these needs are not always being met. Social distancing makes it all so much tougher!

Limited Attention Spans!

Research tells us that a child's attention span is roughly the child's age, plus or minus 5 minutes. That means the maximum attention span for a Kindergartener is ten minutes, tops! This maxes out at 20 minutes for teenagers and beyond. Yes, I'm sure your mind starts to drift after about 20 minutes, doesn't it?

Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Distractions!

Sitting at a computer and paying attention to a lesson is even harder when there are a plethora of distractions about, including: a friend in the same Zoom, a sibling getting attention in the same room, the TV in the background, a pet, knowing the toys are right nearby, and the child's own thought process!

In school, a teacher simply could walk past a student's desk to bring them back into focus, but that can't happen online!
 
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

What can we do about it?

Yes, learning online is a whole lot harder than learning in class, but all is not lost. I certainly don't have all the answers, but here are some ideas:
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Develop Relationships

It's tougher to get to know children online than it is in class, but it's possible! I find morning meetings are a great way to get to know your students and build community. Just be careful: when sharing, don't make the little ones wait too long for their own turn. Remember those attention spans! (Don't forget to review rules of listening, including looking at the speaker and sitting still. Plus, review the rules of speaking, including speaking clearly and keeping it short!)
 
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Respect Their Developmental Needs

 
Children need to move! Please don't expect them to sit still for long periods. There are plenty of brain breaks that can be done online. (Go Noodle, for one!) Plus, there are plenty of learning games that can be done online or in a socially distant classroom.
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

Incorporate the Arts!

If you've ever read my blog before, you'll know that I'm a huge supporter of the arts, and try to include these in my teaching in every way possible. (Yes, I have a master's degree in Creative Arts in Learning!) It's a great idea to include drawing or creating in many lessons, as these internalize learning, but don't forget the other arts! Art is considered any expression of emotion, and people express their emotions in different ways. 
 
All of these are considered arts: 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

Examples of the Arts

This is just a partial list of my personal definition of the arts. I think you'll agree, both parenting and teaching are arts, aren't they? Seriously, any way that people have to express themselves creatively counts!  I'm sure you have things you are passionate about that you could add to this list!
 
Some related posts: 

Please remember!

This is a very challenging time in our world. I'm not sure all administrators would agree with me, but academics are not our priority right now. Our children are experiencing several levels of trauma. We need to be there for them. Academics will come later. Yes, I promise you, they'll all catch up!

Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 

The Best Thing We Can Do

Many schools are out for the rest of the school year.

Many teachers are worried about the "summer slide" being much greater than normal.

Because of the current situation, some children are learning online, some are practicing skills with "at home" packets, and some children aren't able to do any of this.

What can we do?
The Best Thing We Can Do: Our world is crazy right now! Many students will not return to school until the autumn.What can we do about that extra long summer slide?

Yes, there will be a big slide this year. Far bigger than the typical summer slide. But as teachers we know that we need to take our students from where they are, and bring them as far as we can bring them. Some students lose less than others. Some lose a lot. It happens. But we do the best we can.

There's not much we can do right now to prevent that slide, especially when we're not in the same room as the children.

But what can we do? 
 Brain research tells us that when children go for a long period of time without practicing skills, they won't remember what they've already learned. Therefore, we need to do a lot of review right now. Give them plenty of practice with the skills they have developed this year. But it's important to make it as fun as possible!

One of my favorite platforms for reviewing skills: Boom Learning! These digital task cards can be used on any device, and gives immediate feedback to the students. The teacher can see exactly what the students have been doing, and they can repeat each task over and over again for frequent review.

One of my favorite collections of Boom Learning Cards:

Here's a link to many more!

Here are some more review activities that are perfect for "end of year" or "summer review."

It's also important that children read frequently, and use their written skills often. I recommend a daily journal (with a gratitude element) and writing letters and emails to loved ones as well as friends. Board games and cooking experiences will give them math practice too!  Squeeze it in when you can, but in a fun way! 


The Best Thing We Can Do: Our world is crazy right now! Many students will not return to school until the autumn.What can we do about that extra long summer slide?

I'm sure you already know how crazy things are, and how many people are dealing with heavy duty anxiety right now. Children are scared. Parents are frustrated. Teachers are trying to learn a whole new job without training and are trying to make it work. It's definitely not a good time to push them academically. They are experiencing history, that's enough! Their brains are overloaded. Don't push, just review! (I'll bet your instincts were saying this, too!)
The Best Thing We Can Do: Our world is crazy right now! Many students will not return to school until the autumn.What can we do about that extra long summer slide?

This is probably the most important thing teachers and parents can do right now: let them know you care.

Elementary teachers know how much they are missed, and how reaching out to the little ones will make their day. Search for ways to make personal contact with each child. Email, call, drive by, or if your district allows, video conference. 

We know those personal connections are what really makes teaching work, and what makes online learning so tough.

But it's also what makes teaching worth it. 


Want to know something that might make you feel a little better? When this is all over, they'll be older. When they're older and emotionally ready to learn, they pick things up quickly. They'll be ok. They'll be more than ok!

Want more information? Here's an informational brochure for parents: Parent Communication Brochure: Social Distancing Edition


The Best Thing We Can Do: Our world is crazy right now! Many students will not return to school until the autumn.What can we do about that extra long summer slide?

Surviving "Social Distancing"

Are your children home?
Are you working from home?
Are you trying to keep the children from driving you crazy while you try to work from home?
Are you going stir crazy?
Welcome to our tribe!


If you've been developing a whole new respect for teachers and learning how challenging "home schooling" really is,
I definitely don't have all the answers, but I do have some ideas for survival! 

Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.
 Yes, we're all stuck at home, but the kiddos need to understand this is a totally new experience: Everyone in the country has to stay 6 feet or more away from each other. This is unexplored territory! Teachers are desperately trying to figure out how to do "distant learning" and "remote learning" and parents and caretakers are trying to make it all happen. Talk to them, let them know it's all OK, and we're all learning how to do it. Mistakes will happen, and we will deal the best we can.  

They're going to have a great story to tell their grandchildren someday! (I've heard this referred to this generation's "walked two miles to school in a snowstorm" story!)

Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.
This is probably the most important thing to do in order to maintain you own sanity and help the children survive. It wouldn't hurt to write out the schedule and post it where the children can see it.

Things to schedule: meals, getting showered and dressed, school work, outdoor time, down time, social time (phone or skype), reading, exercise, and special projects. I'm sure you can think of more. Children need predictability. They also need novelty, which can seem conflicting, but necessary. Once in a while, it's ok to break the schedule, but only with the understanding that it's a special case. For example, maybe you can pick one day of the week to hang out in jammies all day!

Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.
This one is going to be a tough one! Between so many distance learning programs coming from schools, activities that the children love online, games, movies, TV, and let's admit it, sometimes the best way to get anything done is to place them in front of the screen. These are all going to happen, but remember, it's not in their best interest to do this too often. Set strict guidelines for their screen time into the daily schedule, and be firm! There are plenty of things they can do that don't involve a screen! (Hint: help with housework and meals!)

This is baffling to children. They can't see many of the people they care about (teachers, friends, extended family) and they deserve to understand why. 
A good start might be to brainstorm how many things they touch during the day, followed by a conversation about how germs travel. If they seem anxious about the virus, acknowledge their feelings, but assure them that we will stop the virus by staying apart for a while until the virus dies out. Then we can see our friends again.

It's not easy to talk about it, especially if you have anxiety about the virus as well, but be strong, they need you! 

If you're trying to work from home, it's important to communicate this. Typically, "mom or dad at home" means fun time, but they need to know you need your uninterrupted time. 

Depending on how young the kiddos are, make sure there are times you ARE available to give them attention, and that they respect those times you are not available.

Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.
You may feel you need to keep them entertained, or that you're failing if they get bored, but science tell us that creativity happens when children get bored! If they have nothing to do, they have to create something to do! Be sure they have supplies that lead to creativity, such as paper, pencils, glue, scissors, and even paint. Of course, anything in the recycling bin is free game! 

You may be pleasantly surprised with their solution to boredom! 

Just a reminder: boredom is NOT an excuse to avoid schoolwork!

I know how hard it is to remain positive when you're frustrated and exhausted! But you're the adult. You can scream and cry (or other, more socially acceptable means of letting off steam) when they're asleep, but while they are watching you, it's important that you continue to smile and be positive in front of them. 

Be firm when they need to do school work, and be there for them when they need it. 

I know, it's hard, but they need you to be positive.

Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.
 Your children are precious. This may seem like a terrible burden, and a terrifying situation. 

But it's also a gift. It's extra time with your children. 
Enjoy them!

Here's an informational brochure with lots of information: 
 
Surviving "Social Distancing" This blog post has suggestions and strategies for parents trying to deal with "home schooling" and having to help their children through a difficult time.



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