- Oconto Unified School District
Parent-Virtual Learning Update by Mr DeWitt (April 1, 2020)
Parent-Virtual Learning Update
April 1, 2020
I wish that this was really just an April Fool’s Day joke, but Covid-19 is real and some of our families have been directly and all of us indirectly impacted by this virus. All of us wish we could be back in the building with our students. We miss them and the daily learning. Until we return, I’ve received requests to help students and parents while at home. Remember, we are trying to make learning at home as productive as possible. We know there are hurdles with bandwidth and internet accessibility. Those two factors are reasons that grading has been halted on new course work. I’m very grateful that our IT department continues to look for solutions to gain more internet access. Let’s keep our focus on solutions as we cut a path through some unmapped territory. Until, then take a look at some of the ideas below:
- Education is important. However, your child’s health, physical and mental, is even more important. Our teachers are trying to monitor the amount of learning activities they provide to not overwhelm families. Don’t hesitate to unplug and spend time with daily home activities. Cooking and cleaning are great life skills that need to be learned too and can often lead to improving math and reading skills.
- Establish, if you haven’t already, a routine. During this stressful time many people can find comfort in holding to a schedule. It also provides structure to students. Go one step further and have your child help create the schedule. Staying at home for this period of time can be frustrating. Don’t hesitate to step away from FORMAL learning practices, take a walk, do a puzzle, or even watch a movie together. I hear Frozen II is out, lol.
- If internet access is your family's biggest obstacle, get some books. Reading too much is just a myth. Don’t read individually. Get a book for the entire family to read out loud together.
- For our older students that are really driven and feel like they need to access their Google Classrooms or Zoom meetings, be creative. Try to park close to one of our schools and access the school’s wifi. Some of our teachers have had to do that as well. We are in this together. If school isn’t an option, maybe a neighbor will allow you to park in their driveway and download the materials you need so you can continue learning OFFLINE when you return to your home with limited or no connectivity. Remember, don’t go inside to borrow wifi access. Get permission and stay outside or in your vehicle. No amount of learning is worth spreading this awful virus.
- As I mentioned earlier, not all learning needs to be from a textbook or a teacher or during a specified time frame. During meals or chores ask open ended questions. I’m always amazed at the curiosity of a teenage mind. Here are some to consider: Before we read the story, what do you think it is going to be about? What do you think will happen next in the story? How do you know? Tell me about this character. How are they the same or different from other characters? Draw a picture of your favorite part (scene) in this book, then tell me about it. If you were a character in this book, who would you be? Why?
- I know this may seem counterintuitive, but our children need to connect with one another. You may consider extending some of their free time to connect with their peers through calling, texting, Facetime, or some other tool that your family is comfortable using. It is also a good time for parents to gain access to your children’s device and take a peek how it is being used. Remember, you pay for it. Ask them to give you a tour of their phone and see the apps they use. We can all learn from each other.
- Times are tough now, but I am hopeful that our future will be bright. Oconto, Wisconsin, and our country as a whole are very resilient when facing adversity. Have discussions that transcend our current state of affairs and talk about the future. Possibly a college visit, the upcoming holidays, or even warmer weather in the upcoming forecast.
I have observed several posts on Facebook that focus on how specific people are making the best of this situation. Keep posting those positive pictures and comments. I know my dog loves that we are paying more attention to him and taking more walks. If you have tips that are working at your house, please share them with us on Facebook. I’m proud to be a Blue Devil. In fact, learning about the history of our mascot may be your next at home lesson. Follow this link to learn more about the history of the Blue Devils: BLUE DEVIL HISTORY
I’ll continue to share updates as new information is available. Thank you for your continued support. We miss all of you!