Pause. Take a step back. Reevaluate. In the context of a certified global pandemic, health comes first, and self-isolation is an essential step toward preventing the virus’s spread.
Schools are beginning to transition toward digital learning, requiring students to adapt to stay-at-home academics. At Green Ivy, we know these changes can be confusing and intimidating (how do you use Zoom, again?!). We’ve been helping students virtually for years – and for now we’re working with ALL our students via Zoom – so we have strategies on how to make this easier for all involved – even the family dog!
1. Create relaxed routines
Here’s the good news: You probably don’t have to get up early and ride the bus or get a ride to school. You might even get an extra hour or two of sleep… but, it can be easy to fall behind on digital assignments when you feel like you have days to complete them.
To prevent yourself from falling behind, set aside daily, structured work blocks. In other words, choose several hours of the day and pretend you are at school – minus the locker, lunch, and club meetings. To be most productive, put away your phone, avoid distractions (including text messaging from friends “who need help with homework”), and schedule short breaks between 25-, 45- or 60-minute blocks of work time. Create mini-rewards to stay true to your self-imposed agenda. A walk, a nap, shooting hoops, play with pets, listen to music and even a bit of Netflix when you are all done.
Most importantly, keep an eye out for changes. We know so many schools are rushing to put things in place, and everything seems a bit day-to-day right now. It’s important to stay flexible and self-aware. At the beginning of every school day at home, take 10 to 20 minutes to check all online portals, and make note of any new assignments, announcements, or class-specific changes.
BREAKING NEWS: across all subjects, many exams are postponed or even cancelled. Your initial (and understandable) response might be to fist-pump the air, whisper an earnest “thank you” to the universe, and dive into your sofa to binge watch the latest season of your favorite show.
But, there’s a flip side to classes and exams being cancelled. This news also means, in many ways, that you have to become your own teacher. Beyond completing your online assignments, make sure you’re staying up-to-date on content comprehension. In other words, keep studying for “imaginary exams,” even though the real ones might be postponed or cancelled. Use online resources, complete practice problems, email teachers, and do whatever necessary to absorb current material. Somewhere down the road you’ll thank yourself for staying proactively prepared, we promise!
3. Movement and rest
“Home education” is not synonymous with “couch potato lifestyle.” And, it can feel stressful to be at home all the time! Take care of your mental and physical health by scheduling regular breaks for physical activity or recuperation. It’s easy to skip these daily routines when sports have been suspended indefinitely, PE is cancelled, and movement to and from school disappears entirely from your daily responsibilities. Our bodies still need exertion and rest to stay healthy and relieve stress. Do something fun that you might not normally have time to do – yoga, meditation, a hike, or shooting hoops (with social distancing, of course!).
4. Share updates
Communication! Communication! Communication! For those of you working with us at Green Ivy Educational Consulting, help us be the best resource we can be for you and your peers. Share any changes at your school, as well as any major news. We want to help keep this as stress-free as possible for you, and it is easier to do when we’re in the know!
5. Zoom sessions
For the foreseeable future, we’ll be holding our regular sessions via Zoom. We’ve used Zoom for years, and our staff is engaging online and IRL, so we know it will be a smooth transition. The Zoom app contains lots of great features that are conducive to digital learning, including: 1) screen-sharing, which allows tutors and students to view the same internet browser or document, and 2) a whiteboard, which makes it easy to sketch diagrams and equations on a blank page. We highly recommend using laptops or home computers to participate in Zoom sessions, since handheld devices can make it tough to effectively screen-share.
6. Preparing for Zoom calls
At the beginning of each Green Ivy Zoom session, we ask students to screen-share their online school portal so we can help organize and create a weekly plan (we like to have a plan for basically everything).
TIP: Open up all school-related online portals before the Zoom meeting, and keep them open on your web browser so it is easy to share. Whether you use Schoology, School Loop, Blackbaud, Canvas, Google Classroom, or some combination of all of these, we’re here to help.
Remember: we’ve just got to wait out the storm. Use our tips to reduce stress, stay organized, and keep learning alive in your daily life!
Questions? Feel free to contact us.