Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Covid-19 & Learning at Home

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This post was originally written in March 2020, little did I think there would ever be a need to revisit or update it, but alas, here we are. I have included some additional resources and recommendations - collectively, we have learned a lot since this time last year.

Activities to suit all ages:

  • If it's not a.... then what is it? 
This is a visual literacy challenge I share frequently on Instagram. Many schools used these 'last time', some assigning them daily, some weekly. As they incorporate imagination, drawing and potentially some written work, they work as an ideal remote creative task.

  • Good morning gratitudes -  Start the day by listing all the things you are grateful for. Helps start the day on a positive note. With an additional burst of time at home, it is always interesting to record all the little things we appreciate. Something nice for everyone to join in with.

  • Start the Day strategies:
If you are going to be working with your class via Zoom, some of these Start the Day strategies may be helpful in getting your class chatting. Download Start the Day Strategy Pack

  • Roll the die & move:
Challenge the children to come up with their own exercises of choice. Create some DIY movement dice and off you go! Encourage them to get creative with their exercise. Here is a printable template. 

  • The Literacy Channel:
Find a wealth of literacy ideas and resources within each of the videos on The Literacy Channel. Don't forget, each video comes with a PDF of suggested activities, many of which will be useful remote teaching activities too. Find all videos from The Literacy Channel here.

  • Literacy on the Loose:
In April 2020, as a response to the evolving COVID19 situation, Trinity College Dublin collaborated with Marino Institute of Education and Limerick & Clare ETB to create a suite of videos and resources to support parents with their children's literacy development at home. Included were many practical and purposeful literacy activities that can be easily practised at home. Find all Literacy on the Loose videos and resources here. 

Infants - 2nd

  • Facilitating playful learning remotely
Download this helpful guide packed with activities and resources. Created by my MIE colleague, Sinéad Mc Cauley Lambe and myself.

  • Alphabet Hunts  - download the chart and see how many you can complete! These are purposeful and fun ways of revising letter knowledge.
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  • Letter Hunts - get out the magazines, flyers, Aldi brochures and  the scissors and get chopping! Pick a different letter or sight word each day and have your  child hunt for & cut out all the target letter or words they can find. Create a collage on a page. Find the letters in their name. Create a name collage. This is great for letter revision, familiarisation with different fonts and environmental print. 

  • Phonics:
I've spoken with a lot of infant teachers already and I know there is great concern about continuation of or even beginning phonics instruction remotely. The entire suite of Sounds Like Phonics digital interactives for Junior Infants to 2nd class are available FREE to access online. The content is ideal for online instruction and the material can be navigated with ease by teachers or parents. Access all Sounds Like Phonics material here.

  • Teaching Phonics Remotely
A sample approach and effective suggestions compiled by Jen and myself on The Literacy Channel. Watch the video and download the PDF.

2nd - 6th

  • Write a letter to their future selves 
Seal it in an envelope and decide on a date to open it.

  • Write a letter to their teacher
Let them know how they're getting on, what they miss about school and what they don't!

  • Keep a diary for every day they're not at school
Diary entries are a form of recount writing - one of the writing genres practiced right through primary school.

  • Make a newsletter to send to your family members - this could be by hand or by email. Interview siblings,  parents, include some images / drawings. Keep family in the loop despite the current isolation.

  • Create a wish-list: 
Get out the Aldi brochures or Smyth's catalogues and ask the children to create a wishlist of all the toys or foods they would like. Include the prices and total up the cost. Increase the challenge and give the children a budget. Challenge the children to only list items beginning with a particular letter. Or why not only pick items that represent letters in your name? Options galore.

  • Make a time-capsule: 
Maybe the children you teach didn't get to do it 'last time'? On paper or physically, a time capsule is always something nice to associate with a once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) situation. Here are some guidelines for creating a time-capsule. 

  • Poetry:
"If we winter this one out we can summer anywhere."

Remember how poetry was used as a form of solace and motivation 'last time'? The words of Heaney, Dickinson and Mahon will no longer remind me of the Leaving Cert but instead, COVID19.
There are lots of lovely poetry approaches that can work well for some remote creative writing tasks - bio poems, phone number poems, you name it. Some of the templates in this poetry pack may be of use.

As last time, this will pass. However, it will pass much more quickly if we all stick together in our commitment to help. Ní neart go cur le chéile. 

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