As we finish the 2020-2021 school year, schools across the United States experimented with hybrid and virtual learning. With vaccines, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and classes can return to in-person for the 2021-2022 school year.
Rebecca Jackson with Brain Balance shares her reflection on what will stay or leave as we return to a new normal.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced teachers and students to utilize technology in a good way. From virtual instruction to activities and worksheets, technology allowed everyone to step outside of the resources only available inside a classroom. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of online learning is students feeling isolated, especially those who struggle to stay on task. Technology is part of our everyday lives, inside and outside the classroom so it is beneficial to integrate technology as a classroom tool for students. Instead of having children only answer homework via a tablet or laptop, learn to balance technology and writing. Have them write down their answers. This will help engage the brain and remember easier, as the brain retains more when physically writing out information.
The hardest thing for children returning to school full-time, for a full day, will be stamina. Virtual learning gave them the comfort of learning from home. Now they will be required to go back into school, socialize and sit at a desk throughout the day, which they aren’t used to. In order to get kids back into the swing of school, try setting aside time in the day for reading and practice worksheets. This will keep their minds going and training their bodies to sit still for longer periods of time.
Students and students with learning disabilities all struggled with socialization during virtual learning. One way to help them integrate back into socializing is the zones of regulation. This practice is great for kids with learning disabilities as it helps regulate their emotions. Check-in to see how they are feeling. Having children discuss their emotions and how they are feeling enables them to be more comfortable with their emotional states. This helps them understand and attribute normalcy to emotions.
Throughout the pandemic, it has been hard to keep kids focused during school hours. One of the biggest struggles for kids who struggle to stay on task is keeping their attention as well. Flexible seating is important for the next school year as it helps them stay mobile. Whether it is a beanbag, rocking chair, a seat with pedals (similar to a bike), various types of seating helps children, especially those with ADHD so they can have movement while they sit. Another benefit of flexible seating is kids have a choice in where they sit.