Pandemic Pods, learning bubbles, pandemic learning pods, homeschool groups…the name is not important – as this new trend in education takes hold in America. With many school districts opting for distance learning or hybrid learning to begin the school year, parents are worried. There are many articles and Facebook groups that address how to go about setting up or joining a learning pod (see below), one thing to keep in mind is finding resources offline. Activities that students can do without the computer. This helps to break up screen time and build valuable imaginative and creative moments. Some of the resources need some prep and some do use the computer, but all are creative and will spark the imagination of your child. And remember you can just Google “activities for kids”!
- Journaling – topics can be given weekly each student has her own google doc journal page- the teacher can check weekly and either make comments or just check for participation. Younger students or those without /computers/phones can just journal in a notebook to be checked regularly.
- Virtual field trips – see resource link below or create a field trip for them around the home or have them take you on a field trip describing home, field, shops in detail. NOTE: if they only do audio it forces them to use more descriptive words!
- Book bags and or independent work packages- prepare a weeks worth of work to be used so that you are not scrambling each night.
- Copy work -copying either a page from a book or copying a poem so that they’re practicing their writing skills – to take it further they can video themselves reading what they copy or act it our for their pods.
- Make a film or a video to explain their ideas or answer questions.
- Flashcards– a great study tool that can be done offline.
- Memorizing a poem or song and then recording a video of themselves reciting it or singing it or perform it for their pod.
- Interviewing a family member and then having them transcribe it or create a story with pictures or they can verbally present the material as a drama!
- Having a venue for videos where all the videos for the class or posted and then classmates can make comments on each other’s flip grid is good for this. It can also be done in the google classroom stream as a comment.
- They can create podcasts where they are discussing information learned. Podcasts can be about any topic or personal interest and take preparation.
- Put a poem or a text in a google doc and give each student a line or stanza/paragraph to annotate (commenting with vocabulary definitions, meaning etc.) everyone can see what others have written and make comments or ask questions directly on the document- this works well when students use different colors for the font. Alternatively, have them do this in a notebook and then share their work in the group.
For math and science:
- Have students draw a design of their house. Students draw a plan of their house they have to measure each room and then they can do different kinds of calculations based on those measurements
- Design and build a zoo so this would be more a science-related class or in enviro science, so you have to build a zoo with animals from different habitats different continents different whatever countries a man you have to include things like um what needs to be included in each habitat the feeding what are the animals going to need to be fed if it’s not included in the habitat the number of animals that can be in an enclosure the temperature etc.
- For biology you can do things like a drawn outline of their body on a large piece of paper or a chalk outline on the floor and then label the parts so for the younger girls it can be super simple there just labeling in English head, eyes, nose, mouth, hand, arm, leg, foot – for upper-level students- it can be biological systems, chemical chains etc., so they’re actually drawing and labeling the digestive system or the muscular system or the skeletal systems.
- Having them create artistic journals that represent topics. For example: Habitats- using drawings or materials found in nature create pages that represent habitats, eco-systems, and even environmental problems. They can either be given a handout with an article to read or use the textbook.
- Calculating the stream flow rate so this again can be science or math. Many students have access to a creek or some body of water that’s moving near their house. They can be taught -given instructions on how to figure out the flow rate of the stream based on doing measurements in the stream.
- Using items around the home to measure and then divide into fractions, percentages, shapes- example a pot for cooking measure the diameter, circumference, shape=circle, volume it holds.
- Printables resources for lower primary- includes printable books! https://www.themeasuredmom.com/print-2/
- Nature alphabet book: Have students collect and/or draw something from nature for each letter of the alphabet. Then in their notebook, they draw the letter, glue/draw write a sentence and the word. At the end they can staple the pages together- books can be shared with other students/siblings. For older students, this can include some vocabulary words.
The above activity can all so be done with numbers 1 leaf, 2 seeds, three trees (drawn), etc.
- Writing and illustrating their own stories
- Writing and illustrating a recipe
- Writing a story and having another student illustrate it
- Creating simple math books- using the same technique as for the alphabet book 1 bug + l bug = 2bugs etc.
Upper-grade levels 5-12
Huge selections of resources for online learning as well as printable items https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/solutions
Virtual field trips https://adventuresinfamilyhood.com/20-virtual-field-trips-to-take-with-your-kids.html
Resources for offline learning: https://theowlteacher.com/distance-learning/
Articles for parents:
Many of these were written with teachers in mind, but parents can adapt the ideas for home use.
American Parents and Pandemic Pods
How to Set Up a Virtual Book Club
How to Make Effective Videos for Learning
How Parents Can Help Kids Manage Distance Learning
What Are Parents Doing About Childcare?
Thread for families looking for teachers
Edutopia- thousands of teaching articles