Ways to Keep Learning in a Time of Pandemic

In these days of uncertainty and high anxiety when parents might be newly working at home or temporarily unemployed and children are out of school and extra curricular activities many people are looking for new and creative ways to keep children engaged. Below is a list of some ideas and items available for children and educators to keep learning. But first, remember these things:

  • children are engaged when parents are engaged with them in activities
  • most parents are not teachers so don’t beat yourself up in these challenging times for feeling that you are not doing a good job at teaching your children. Chances are you are doing a great job!
  • children learn by playing board games, reading, watching movies or tv series, doing household chores and they are learning how to cope with uncertainty and unknowns just by being with loved ones.
  • watching tv or You Tube and/or playing video games is OK for as long as you need it to be – again, these days are stressful enough without stressing about how much screen time children are experiencing.

Ways for Students (and their parents) to keep learning:

We Are Teachers put out a list of more than 130 Free (at least free right now while kids are out of school) learning resources. Some are only in the US but many are also available to Canadians.

Scholastic opened their Learn at Home homeschooling resources which are organized by grade and have daily activities for students to participate in.

Many authors of children’s books are doing regular online read alouds. These are fun ways for children to engage with authors and hear books being read by the people who wrote them! Here is a complete list of who is reading when.

There are also a multitude of things to do online during this time when you are spending so much together time at home. For example, tour a museum, ride a roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland (search Canada’s Wonderland POV roller coaster on YouTube), experience the Smithsonian, watch the sharks swim at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, and so much more. Here is a google doc that has hundreds of links and ideas in it that is always being updated. There are printable worksheets, activity ideas and free websites to engage with along with descriptions of each one.

Use your library card and the library app for your area to download books for children to read. Epic Books has also made their online book resources free during this time – maybe your child’s teacher has already given you access to this great resource. Audible has also made their audiobooks free during this time as well. Podcasts like Brains On! and others are great for children and adults to listen in on and learn something new. They can be downloaded for free wherever you get your podcasts.

We will keep adding to this list as more items become known – if you have ideas or come across something send us an email so we can add it here.

Ways for Teachers to Keep Learning while out of school

The Reading Recovery Council of North America has made their member portal free during this time. It has loads of professional development videos and printed materials in it for your use. Join it here.

Open University has loads of free courses available including a long list about Literacy learning. It is all free and available online. Udemy also has many free online courses available to learn about all sorts of topics.

If you are thinking about ways to continue working with Reading Recovery students while school is out you may want to join the Reading Recovery Teachers group on facebook – many teachers in the US have been very creative in working through ways that it can work while maintaining physical distance. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and other video conferencing platforms have been used. There are plenty of learning tools for each of these platforms so that you can be well skilled in using them. Each site has its own free online learning.

Join Twitter and participate in the Twitter chats using the hashtag #rrchats – these happen regularly and is another way to connect to other Reading Recovery professionals and learn what they are doing. You may also find that you are able to learn about so many free resources available now to students and teachers to continue learning outside of the classroom.

Curio.ca has been made free for teachers and parents during this time. It is a subscription based program with loads of resources available, including documentaries, audio files, podcasts and videos.