Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Websites and Tips for Home Teaching

I often think I have nothing to special to offer. I have been a teacher for about 16 years, but I never thought those were skills that would helpful. However in the last few years, I have come to realize that I do have skills to offer. And now of course there are things I can share that could help. So I'm going to stop talking and make a few big lists.

Free educational websites with no login
1. Abcya! Pre-K - 6. Games Letters, Numbers, Holidays, Skill, and Strategy
2. Starfall - Pre-K - 3. Math, Reading, Seasonal activities, and Music
3. Hooda Math - K - 12. Math games
4. Free Rice - Probably 9 - 12. English vocabulary, English grammar, Geography, Humanities, Science, Math, and World Languages.
5. Museum Virtual Tours K-12. Look around museums around the world.
6. Ted-Ed - Probably 9 - 12. Ted Talks with questions
7. Switcheroo Zoo - Animal games and information.
8. Nat Geo for Kids - Probably K - 6. Stories, Games, Quizzes, etc.
9. Fun Brain - Pre-K - 8. Games, Reading, Math, Videos, and
10. PBS Kids - Probably K-2. Games
11. Storyline Online Probably K-2. Like Reading Rainbow with different people.
12. Seussville - Books, Games, Videos all from Dr. Seuss books
13. Highlights Kids - Activities, Games, Jokes, and some Science
14. Online StoryTime with Barnes and Noble - Pick a book and go to the bottom and there is a video.
15. Storynory - Books read aloud even through Dickens!
16. National Geographic Young Explorers - Science magazine for elementary age kids
17. Oxford Owl - Pre-K - 6 reading, phonics, etc.
18. Lots more Math websites
19. Art Hub for Kids - Beginning art lessons
20. GeoGuesser - Figure out where in the country/world you are using Google Street View

Websites that are now free and might require login or account creation
Here is a list that has already been made.

Tips on Teaching
1. Have a designated space for them to work. When they go to that space, they should be on 'school' behavior.

2. Create a schedule

3. Includes break times.

4. Don't forget PE, Art, Music, etc. Those 'extras' can be the best times of day for students. This can also be a great time for you to teach your kids something you are good at that isn't one of the 'main' four, English, Math, Social Studies, and Science.

5. Proximity matters! Stand near them. Don't talk. Just observe. Be relaxed. Students tend to be on task more when you are close to them.

6. When they get work from their teacher and you don't understand it, ask them to explain what they know and understand. That will give you a starting place and possibly some Google search terms.

7. Talk to that home school parent you know. I'm sure they have so many tips.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus and Christians

This week has been flabbergasting. It has been scary and jaw dropping. 

NBA and NHL are on pause. MLB pushed back everything. I think most NCAA is canceled. High school sports are canceled. Universities sent students home. Broadway is going dark. We are all being told to stay home as much as possible. 

We have all learned more about how to make hand sanitizer and the right way to use disinfecting wipes. This is unprecedented

We will look back on this time and remember where we were when the United States was quarantined. 

I don't have all the answers. I don't have many answers. I can say that I saw some really helpful Instagram posts. Naomi from WWE gave several really great tips that are clear and concise. It gave me hope to see that there are things I can do to help myself and my family. Knowing that I have agency and a modicum of control. I can't find the other posts, but they gave me hope. 

Photo Credit: David Michalczuk

I think that is the point right now. We still have hope. We serve a big God who is in control no matter what. That is important to remember right now. You can feel sad that we have to miss things that matter to us. Seniors who didn't get their senior night. Fans of those teams who didn't get see how far they can go. I am a Blues fan and we could have repeated a Stanley Cup win. We might still have a chance, but I am sad and frustrated that it might not happen. And those feelings are okay. I am sad for those seniors. I am concerned about the elderly and immuno-compromised. I am concerned for students who might have to come back from a break and take a test. 

I have a lot of feelings and sometimes those feelings threaten to overwhelm me. Then I stop, take a deep breath, and realize I serve a big God. As Christians, we don't need to fret. God is still in control. 

And since we aren't fretting, we have a huge opportunity to serve and witness. Other people don't have our hope and our confidence. We can share those and love on people in this hard and scary time. We can share the hope and confidence that God gives us.