Learn at home: Ally's tips & tricks to make it feel more like a classroom
How can other teachers set up their workspace to make it feel like the classroom?
For many of us teachers, our classroom is our second home and hold a lot of inspiration for what we do each and everyday. Transfer whatever draws inspiration for you in your classroom, to your home working space. Make it personalised and find what works for you functionally.
My top tips:
- Choose a work space that motivates you: Ensure you have a designated space to do your work, separate from your usual resting spaces to make clear boundaries for work and play. This will make it easier for you to get into the motivated #teacherzone
- Clear space, clear mind: Having a clean and organised space for the day is key! Try and have only things you need around you and reduce the clutter.
- Set your space up for success: Have a clear desk, sturdy chair, close by to a power point for charging devices and have a notebook to write lists and plan for the day ahead. Place any reference charts, planning materials and technology within close reach so that you can access when you need it.
- Personalise it to inspire you: We feel motivated when we are surrounded by things that make our mind happy. Be intentional about what you have in your space and add some personalised touches that invoke senses. Colourful stationery, a desk diffuser, a comfy cushion and an inspirational quote can always add a spark of inspiration to desk work!
- Be intentional with your movements. Plan your day and include movement breaks between tasks. Something I am trying is to break up my day with practical movements such as getting a drink of water, making my bed, hanging out washing in the sun and vacuuming. I start my day by thinking about what I need to get done for teaching and chunk out tasks with movements I can do around the house. Dedicate 20 minutes to moving your body everyday and not only will it help productivity but it will help your mental health too!
- Check in with yourself: these are unprecedented times and it's important to be kind to yourself. As your roles adapt, workload changes and our usual hobbies outside of work are impacted, it's important to think about how you are feeling and coping. Make time for yourself out of your day to focus on yourself outside of working. Meditate, read a book, take a bath, take up a new hobby like crochet or painting or call a friend. Do some serious #selfcare to give yourself the mental strength to get through the hard days.
Building connections with your students:
Your classroom may be geographically different but your purpose is still the same. And it's important to remind yourself of that each and everyday. Even though you can't see your students, they are still there and need you. Now more than ever build on those teacher and student connections. Set up new routines that include connecting with students and reminding them that you care and are still there for them.
Some suggestions include:
- Weekly phone call
- Weekly zoom meeting with the class
- Sending videos of yourself doing ordinary household things like feeding the dog or baking a cake. Share personal moments that you're happy to share with them!
- Record yourself reading a classroom favourite book
- Send them a personalised letter in the mail
Supporting learning from home:
What tips could teachers give parents to help organise classroom activities from home?
Combining working and learning from home requires a great level of organisation for reduced interruptions. Here are some tips for organising learning at home!
- A space for learning: Have a designated learning space, away from distractions. If you have limited desk space at home, you may want to check out the Lapdesk for your child to work in any location in your house! These desks have sections for their pencils, papers and extra bits and pieces to help them stay organised with their learning. Think creatively in setting up your home school.
- Ownership over learning: Children are use to changing the way they learn and complete their learning at school. For children to take ownership over their space, encourage them to choose their own learning location and be involved in this set up.
- Easy access: Have stationery and other resources available and in easy access locations. I recommend using the Crafters Choice Art Craft Storage Caddy to organise pencils, textas, erasers, sharpeners and all of the tools to help your child complete their learning tasks!
- Colour coding is your friend: If you have multiple children learning at home, colour coding stationery storage and folders may help with organisation of different materials the children may need. Assign a coloured drawer, folder or tub to each child to hold all their resources.
How can parents ensure that they're providing their kids with resources that would be used in a classroom environment?
Be guided by your child school and state guidelines and expectations. Your school should provide you with your child's learning tasks that they can complete at home.
If you're looking to make up activity packs to keep your little learners busy, building on the skills they are exploring at school, I recommend using the Francheville Craft Storage Box. You can fill these with games, tasks and activities to keep learners independently engaged in learning at home.
You can make up activity packs for learning like my Reading Booster Pack or my Maths Booster Pack by using these activity task boxes. Each box can store different tasks for a range of subject areas including reading, writing, spelling, maths, science and more! A good website to check out is Teachers Pay Teachers, which is a resource creation website written by teachers.
Tips to share with parents for home learning:
- Establish clear learning spaces to motivate your little learners.
- Establish clear guidelines for using devices
- Be kind to yourself, this is a challenging time in the world and you can only do your best in the hours you have in the day. If something isn't working, adjust and try again.
- Ask for support from your child's school if you need extra support with the learning from home tasks.
- Remember not to worry too much, your child will catch up when they go back to school full time.
- Make the most of this time to spend doing family experiences such as a puzzle, board game or DIY project.
Any tips and tricks for teaching at home?
- Establish a designated workspace
- Organise your day full of movement
- Monitor how you are feeling and coping
- Focus on building connections with students during this time
- Remember, putting teaching aside, you are a human and this is a difficult time for everyone. It's important to take care of yourself and reach out for support if you are feeling as though you need help. Take care and be kind to yourself.