By Tech Powered Dad | April 1, 2020
The Hour of Code has many activities that allow students of all ages to learn to code
If you’re like a lot of us, you’re currently schooling your kids at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most parents in this situation don’t have any training for this and many are trying to work a full-time job at the same time as they are trying to teach their kids. It’s not an easy task, and even those of us who have been teachers are figuring it out as we go. I’ve been out of the classroom for a while, and I never taught elementary school. My wife, who normally stays at home with our toddler, is shouldering most of the effort for our older school aged kids, but I’m regularly getting called in for math help and consult on other duties.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to mix things up. The school is doing their best, but understandably, they didn’t prepare for something like this. Most of what’s coming home for our kids from school is worksheets, and it’s been hard for our kids to stay focused. I’ve been trying to add some occasional “spice” to the routine as well as revisit some old favorite resources, and what I’ve found is that they’ve greatly upped their game. It’s also the case that there are many corporations, non-profits, and individuals offering resources for students and parents during these difficult times. Here’s a very incomplete list of some of the STEAM resources and activities we are experimenting with that you should consider to add to your child’s daily routine.
Hour of Code
Khan Academy offers a free, full K-12 curriculum for pretty much every subject including math, science, and English. It includes video lectures and practice activities, and your child’s progress is tracked on either the website or in an app. If your school has been unable to provide a full set of materials to send home or it isn’t enough to help with your child’s learning style, I’d strongly recommend signing up here.
Go to the Zoo
Every day at 3 p.m., the Cincinnati Zoo goes live on Facebook with an up close tour of different animals at their facility. Our kids have been loving these videos. Here’s a recent one with the manatees.
Welcome back to our Home Safari as we uncover the mysteries of the mermaids…. also known as manatees! After watching the video click here for some fun activities you can do at home - http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/. If you are enjoying our Home Safari series please consider making a donation to help the Zoo through this difficult time. Thanks for your support!Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Live Art Lessons
Live art lessons have become really popular on YouTube and Facebook from children’s illustrators during the pandemic. The Boston Globe recently highlighted some of the most noteworthy artists doing this including Mo Willems, who illustrates Elephant & Piggie, and Deborah Putnoi, founder of The Drawing Lab.
Perform a Skit
Our oldest child mentioned that she wished she could be in a play, but there’s no clear way to do that. Instead, we spent the evening looking at various monologues online (she couldn’t talk her sister into joining her duet). There are numerous sites that make them available for free or at low cost. Try Googling “monologues/skits for elementary/middle/high school students”. She found one she liked that is about a minute long, but you can find them of varying lengths. Her plan is to rewrite it to express herself and perform it. We may even record it and post the result online.
The last few weeks it seems like everyone is using Zoom. I have been using Zoom at work for sometime, but I’d never considered it for personal use. I’ve used Skype or Facebook Messenger for personal use, but this seems to be a Zoom moment.
If you aren’t aware, Zoom has lifted its 40 minute time limit on its free plan during the pandemic. Many schools are using this as a way to keep teachers and students connected. If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d suggesting jumping in to connect. You can connect your child with family, classmates, piano teachers, etc. Be aware there are some privacy concerns, but they have really nailed the user interface. If they can gain public trust during the pandemic, Zoom can use this moment to connect students, teachers, families, and friends in a way that will last well beyond when this crisis ends.