Hi, friends! This week I am chatting a little more about independence, specifically during lessons. As I spoke about in a previous post, students should be set up to be independent. This begins with their learning environment. Other ways to set your student up for independence and success is by establishing code phrases for behavior management, introducing learning tools, and the rapport you build with your students from the beginning. If you missed that post or need a refresher, check it out here.
This week's post will focus on getting parents out of the lesson and back on their conference calls. 😉 It really is for their child's benefit. I have had a parent shocked to hear that their five-year-old is independent with their learning. I'm going to explain some step-by-step strategies on how I get all of my students independent, from a five-year-old to teenagers.
The first step is to set the scene. Provide parents with information on what the lessons will look like. Some parents can't imagine that their child can work independently without them. Think about why the parents are there in the first place. Are they there to keep their child on task? Are they there to help with technology? Are they bringing them snacks? Are they there to help them understand content or wondering what their student is learning? Let's look at each one of these and how we can support parents and students.
The first thing that I tell my parents is that if they are a big part of the lesson, there will be a lack of understanding of who is in charge of the lesson. This also makes it very hard to establish the respect we want as an educator. I tell parents that they only need to interfere if it's a double D, dangerous or destructive, otherwise I can handle everything else. This will surprise parents in the beginning.
Here's a tip, tell them they can be close to the lesson without the students knowing. If they see something out of the ordinary, they can send you a text to let you know what's going on. You can redirect the behavior, and the students don't know that they are being monitored. I would use this strategy in the beginning as you build your rapport with your student.
There to Keep the Student on Task
This circles back to what code phrases you set up and are using. How are you establishing behavior management? What strategies are you using with your students? Have you let them know about your expectations? You should provide breaks for your students during the lessons. Are you weaving in movement breaks? Find out what movements your students enjoy most! All of these things are going to connect to you as the educator and make the parents less of a part of the lesson.
There to Help with Technology
It will help to get the students familiar and independent with the learning tools as soon as possible. Use a short intro video to demonstrate key parts and how to log into a meeting. Teach them to keep their meeting ID number within arms' reach. Make it simple, and keep it the same. Don't forget to teach them how to pin the instructor.
Here's a tip: make sure the mirror effect is unchecked otherwise they'll see the cards backwards when they hold them up. If students are also holding up work to share, they will see it backwards if this mirror effect is checked. Also, keep the technology simple. Maximize the use of video and audio, and stay in control of the websites. The more transitions we make during a lesson, the larger chance that the student will lose their independence and take over the lesson.
There to Bring Snacks
Of course, we want our students to have snack and water breaks. This is especially important if we are working for extensive periods of time. Go ahead and let snack and a drink be close to the student. They will definitely ask for one anyway within five minutes of starting class. I usually build snack breaks into a lesson if it's over an hour. Younger students can have snacks with them or close by for convenience.
Suggest that snacks are simple and not messy. Nobody wants to have messy snacks around computer equipment. Snacks that work well are grapes, crackers, cheese, and vegetables. I also suggest to parents that they put a side table next to their child's learning area. This helps prevents spills. I like to keep my own water bottle next to me during lessons to stay hydrated. I incorporate a water break into the lessons to benefit both of us. It also keeps them from constantly drinking when I want them to read out loud.
There to Help Students Understand Content
We want to make sure that the learning content is just like it would be in the classroom. Lessons need to be broken down for the student. If they don't need a parent to help them in the classroom, they don't need a parent for your lesson either. Explain to parents that you need to know what their child knows and how independent they are in order for you to teach them effectively. We don't want parents giving their child answers because they are sitting right next to them. You need to know what the student actually knows and needs.
It's sort of like if the student was playing sports. Parents wouldn't tell their their child how to hold a bat from the bleachers. The student would take guidance from their coach. With online situations, you are their coach. You should be providing the tips and strategies to their child so that they will learn best.
There to Understand What is Being Learned
Parents want to help, understand, and keep up with their child's learning. This sounds great, in theory. With in-person learning, parents aren't in the classroom getting this information. So, how can you provide them with the information? Some ways to do this are: share updates via a weekly newsletter, take screenshots of what their child is doing during class, or create a simple template to send home each week with a quick note on progress. You have to have open communication with parents so that they feel included. They will also feel good that they know what is going on with their child's learning.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and will find them useful. Let the parents know the positive side of not being part of the lessons. They get some free time back. 😊 You will also be able to understand what exactly the student can do independently, gain the respect you deserve as their teacher, and maintain control of the lesson.
Comment below with any struggles you have with parents. I'd love to help!
This week, I'm also sharing a free Get Outside & Play Themed Card Game. Click the link below to download it for free ! Hope you enjoy!
Have great week!