My Students Will Be Learning From Home- Now What? 5+ Tips for Supporting Students as Writers and Creators.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram over the last 48 hours, probably a bit too much, if I’m honest. But EDUTwitter right now is a firehose of information, and I’m doing my best to stick my head in the stream of information and resources and pull out things that might be helpful to administrators, teachers, students and parents. I know that not all my fellow educators are in a situation where they can do this, so I do this for them. This is a way I can help. Furthermore, I encourage everyone who has a little bit to share, to do so, whether it be time, toilet paper, or a listening ear.

In my previous post, I shared some tips on how to support student as readers while they are learning from home. If you read that post, then a few tips here might sound familiar 😉

(1) Take a deep breath, and release your teacher guilt.

Regardless of how well we plan, this is going to be an “interruption” to learning.  And that’s ok.  We need to put things in perspective here. What we are collectively experiencing is unprecedented. Think about that for a second. . . Now take a long, slow breath in. . . And then release it, slooooowly. Good 😉

We are all just doing our best, and I think we can release ourselves of the teacher guilt.  Reading, writing and story are highly therapeutic activities that can provide a reprieve from the chaos around us.  That is what our students need. To be honest, it’s what we all need right now.  Nobody ever said to themselves “I’m super stressed out. I could really use are some chapter questions right now.” Consider the next few weeks of school closure as an opportunity to set your students up for some serious pleasure reading time, and perhaps some time to write and create in a historic, reflective and/or creative practice.

(2) Send home writing and creative supplies:

Nothing gets kids of all ages writing and creating more than fresh stationary supplies.  Not all homes have creative supplies available so consider:

  • sending home a small creativity kit, filled with a pencil or pen, a handful of crayons, pencil crayons of markers
  • giving each student home with a fresh notebook for journalling/drawing/writing.
  • provide links to these authors that are sharing their craft through free activities and webcasts: ** will be updating this**

Author Jerret Learner –drawing and writing prompts 

Author Jarrett J. Krosoczka- Draw Everyday webcasts

Author Debbie Ridpath Ohi- picture book read aloud and drawing

 

(3) Encourage writing (drawing, creating) as a historic practice:

We are living in an unusual time in history, and our students are in a unique situation to document this situation from their perspective.  Here’s a template for students to collect historic data, which might include:

  • taking notes on their daily schedule
  • taking photos or drawing the day to day scenes around them
  • note changes in weather, seasons and the outdoor environment
  • ask questions of those around them

(4) Writing (drawing, creating) as reflective practice:

As students begin to process the changes that are occurring in their lives, all sort of emotions will begin to surface.  Reflective writing helps students be mindful of their mental health and could include:

  • reflecting on their emotions
  • daily statements of people or actions that bring them joy
  • expressing gratitude
  • I love this template for morning and evening reflection from Research Parent

(5) Writing (drawing, creating) as a creative process:

Creative writing helps students escape into imagination, and I can’t wait to read to stories from all of the writers that find time to capture their voice in the upcoming weeks. Some resources to open the creative flood gates:

(6) Keep things open ended and student centred

This time of learning from home could provide an amazing opportunity for students to slow down, unplug and find their voice as writers and creators.  Let’s give them the time and space to do so.

 

 

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