Minimize Screen Time and Maximize the Experience: Simple Ways to Enhance Your Students’ Learn-From-Home Experience

We’ve been home for a while now. On many days, children rise and shine and then sit in front of their computers. Let’s refresh the learn-from-home experience. We can enrich the current school model and support our children to get the most out of distance learning. Here’s how:

Review before you begin. Reflecting on what came before helps to inform what will come next. Try journaling as a way for your student to review and also to support writing skills.

Engage siblings. Studies show that student-to-student learning has more of an impact than teacher-to-student learning. So grab the older brother or younger sister and make learning a fun, family experience. Students benefit from taking on the role of the teacher. Let your younger student teach your older student and vice versa.

Set students up for success. Show an answer, and ask them to evaluate and explain why it works. In this way, you can model the objective. Seeing a model can organically foster important skills like self-assessment and self-awareness. Be careful not to limit creativity, though, as there is always more than one way to achieve a goal. Along similar lines, let students correct their answers. Don’t do it for them.

Encourage reflection. Metacognition, the act of thinking about thinking, is the gift that keeps on giving! At the end of the day, the week, or even the task, make time for self-reflection, even if it’s just a moment. Questions like “Can I explain what I’ve learned?” or “What’s the best way for me to learn this?” ignite the magic of metacognition!

Use a whiteboard. Students can also write on a mirror with expo markers! Even if you just hang a big piece of white paper and let them doodle on it, that works, too. Engaging visual learners with colorful markers and images cultivates understanding. With an interactive visual aid, you also tap into project-based learning exercises. Plus, no matter their age, children just love using markers and a white board.

Inspire intrinsic motivation and autonomy by offering choice whenever possible. Let students be in the driver’s seat. I’m a firm believer in student-centered learning. When students take ownership in their learning, they retain valuable understanding. They can be the driver, and we can support them as they navigate the lanes.

This is one of the maker-spaces in our home. It’s messy but it’s theirs and they love it just the way it is.



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Laura Milligan

Laura Milligan is a teacher and writer. On medium, she often shares personal essays.