Making Virtual School a Success
Parents can do several things to help students be more successful in virtual school. Especially when it comes to:
- organization of the learning area
- increasing student attention span
- increasing student motivation
As a parent I have been able to utilize many of these strategies in order to help my own children be more successful in both virtual and brick-and-mortar school settings. I hope these strategies are helpful to you as well!
- Success with Schoolwork
Designate a time and place to do all schoolwork:
- Make sure there are ample supplies
- Make sure there is adequate lighting
- Create a schedule of work time and post it in the designated learning area
- Keep to a schedule
- Post teacher/advisory contact information
- Write down a list of expectations and post it in the learning environment
- Indicate the number of lessons to complete each day
- Create clear homework submission procedures
- Post Honor Code information
- Increase Attention Span
Many things can be done to help increase the attention span of students:
- Divide work into small sections
- Indicate breaks with a timer so the break time is set
- Create a schedule with your student
- Sensory input tools can be used to help students focus:
- Sandpaper or gritty wallpaper to rub fingers on
- Koosh® ball or squeeze ball to hold
- Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair
- Sound-cancelling headphones to reduce auditory distractions
- MOVE!! Research has proven that getting the body moving will help with concentration. Do cross-body movements to stimulate both sides of the brain (brisk walks, cross toe touches, stretching, foot flexes, etc.). The options are endless, and this can count towards your P.E. minutes!
- Use motivators (see next category)
- Motivating Students
- The most powerful motivator is positive feedback. Reinforcing the positive behaviors will increase these behaviors and replace the bad habits.
- Eliminate all negative comments to only focus on the positive attributes.
- Schedule routine breaks so your students understand that after they finish what they are working on, they can have a small break. Use a timer for the break, and agree upon the length of time with your child (as noted above) so he or she has input into the plan. This helps your child start to understand time management!
- Mystery box of items
This box works great with students of all ages because of the mystery factor. Fill a box with inexpensive items ($1 bin items, items in the house that have been forgotten about, etc.). Cut a small hole in the top of the box so the student has to blindly choose an item—every trip is a mystery! Students must earn a certain number of points, dollars, etc., to earn a trip to the mystery box.
- Puzzle pictures
Take a picture of items or activities the student enjoys and then print it out. Cut the picture into as many pieces as appropriate (fewer for younger students; more for older ones). As the student completes a learning activity or engages in positive behavior or work habits, he or she earns a piece of the puzzle. Once the puzzle is completed, the student will be able to participate in the pictured activity.
- Student interview
Talk to your student or child to discuss what motivates him or her. Find out what he or she is willing to work for: time alone with a parent, a chance to help cook a meal, playing board games, playing outside, or movies. It is amazing how much you can discover when you take the time to talk with your student—you may be surprised!
What are your secrets to success? Feel free to leave a comment and help other Learning Coaches learn from your success story.