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Showing posts with label the arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the arts. 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.

 

Illustrating to Build Reading Skills

Illustrating is a great way to build reading skills!


Illustrating to Build Reading Skills: Visualization is an important skill for reading and illustrating is one of the best ways I know to encourage visualization. This post has several suggestions for connecting reading skills with illustrating.

I often have my students do some illustrating when I want to make sure they really "get" a concept.  

It forces them to visualize what they're learning.  
Brain research tells us that visualizing helps the memory and deepens understanding. 
Brain research also tells us that adding an element of fun helps them remember as well... and don't kids love to draw? 

Add some classical music in the background, and the brain is more activated! 
Want to add a little more assurance that the kids are learning?  
Let them talk about what they're drawing and why!



I have several resources I use with my students that get the kiddos illustrating.

Figurative Language can be very tricky for little ones to learn! It takes a lot of conversation before they are ready to illustrate, but it's important that they "get" these confusing phrases. Once the instruction happens, the illustration really helps them to GET it!



There's this Mini-book about Healthy Habits.  
This resource is the result of much research on health and children. It has 10 pages written in child friendly language.

My own students have been working on this one this week, and have come up with some incredible ideas!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Healthy-Habits-Informational-Text-for-Students-to-Visualize-and-Illustrate-434931?utm_source=blog%20post%20illustrating%20to%20build%20reading&utm_campaign=Healthy%20habits
I also have a set of homophones for the children to illustrate.  These can be tricky for most kids, but in order to draw the different meanings, they have to deeply understand the different meanings.  

That involves a lot of conversation as well as thinking, but once they've got it, they've GOT it!  

As children are "social animals", they tend to remember not only their own pair of homophones, but the homophones their friends did as well!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homophones-for-Visualization-and-Illustration-173878?utm_source=illustrate%20reading%20skills%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=homophones


I've got another set of word pairs for illustrating as well... these are homographs!  Just like the homophones, these are tricky, but once they've got them, they've GOT them!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homographs-for-Visualization-and-Illustration-222689?utm_source=illustrate%20reading%20skills%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=homographs


Another advantage to these individual sheets that the children illustrate... they make great visual displays for bulletin boards!  I've had many compliments on the work of my students on these!

They also make awesome class books!


Another advantage?  These are great for the sub tub!  Just run off the set and leave it in the emergency sub folder!  Plus, they work for a variety of ages and levels.  (Fifth graders are NOT too old to draw, they love it!)


Of course, any illustrating is enhanced by music. May I suggest this one?  (Click image for a link to Amazon!)


 

Illustrating to Build Reading Skills: Visualization is an important skill for reading and illustrating is one of the best ways I know to encourage visualization. This post has several suggestions for connecting reading skills with illustrating.

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research - This post connects recent brain research to learning to read with some helpful tips.
I've read so much about the brain based learning lately, I thought I'd share some tips that connect the two.
  1. Move:  Kids need to move.  The moving helps the brain build dendrites.  Dendrites help the parts of the brain connect, which helps the memory.  If the children involve moving as part of the learning, it helps the learning to stick.  I find the more movement, the better.  I use a lot of Brain Gym in my classroom, as well as lots of other types of movements, just to keep the dendrites flowing.  Little tasks such as "take a walk around your desk", or "touch each wall" are great for the little ones.  If combined with a skill ("say a short e word as you touch each wall") will help even more!
  2. Work together:  Social Interactions are important in learning.  In reading, it's important that these pairings are done at similar levels, if possible.  Sometimes I let the children choose partners, but more often than not, I assign partners.  (I do a lot of team building exercises the first few weeks so they are comfortable with each other, and understand their responsibilities as a partner.)  Children can read in pairs, or practice spelling words in pairs, or use new vocabulary words in pairs.  Sometimes I'll have the pairs teach each other something I just taught.  (Teach your partner what sequencing is.)
  3. Coping with stress: 
    Teach children to deal with stress.  Stress is unavoidable, it happens, even to children.  But it prevents learning, so we need to help the children cope with stress in acceptable ways.  I've done several yoga, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises with the children.  One of my favorites with children is The Tree.  The children stand straight with their hands at their sides, and imagine they are a tree.  First, the children take a deep breath in, while raising their head, imagining they are facing the sun.  (I have to tell them, if I can hear the breath, it's too loud.)  Their hands should stay at their sides, focusing on the sun shining on their "leaves" as they take in the sun's energies.  Then they lower their heads and exhale slowly while they imagine the energy going out through their roots (toes) into the soil.  A few inhales and exhales and they are good to go!
  4. The Arts:  I've always been a fan of arts in the classroom, and the research supports this.  Arts help attention span as well as working memory.  I'm not just talking about visual arts (although I encourage these).  Arts also includes performing arts:  singing, dancing & movement, and acting.  Reader's Theatre, drawing or painting pictures to reflect parts of a story, or making up a song about the setting of a story are some ways to connect the arts to reading.
  5. Make 'em Laugh: 
    Emotions play a huge role in memory, especially happy emotions.  I've always been a big fan of humor in the classroom.  (I doubt I would have survived this long without it!)  As long as the children are happy, there's a better chance for learning to be happening.  I make sure many of my Read Alouds are humorous books.  There are plenty out there!  Robert Munsch is a favorite of mine, as well as many children.  (I LOVE The Paper Bag Princess!)  Here's another list to start: funny-read-alouds .
All in all, keep them happy, keep them busy, and keep reading to them.  Reading to children is the very best way to help children learn to read.
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