Check...Check...Is This Thing On? Top 10 Ways for Parents to Conduct Check-ins During Remote Learning

We all know that it's easy to feel separated or isolated during the quarantine and if your child is attending school remotely, he/she needs as much support as ever. Monica, Head of Content and Curriculum, proposes the top 10 ways for parents to conduct check-ins during distance learning and they can be time-saving, grade-saving, and life-saving for surviving the 2020-2021 school year.

Updated on: November 2, 2020

How parents can check in on remote learning progress

In these times when parents are becoming secondary educators and are often the bridge between school and the remote schooling environment, it is even more important for them to check in with their children, and often. If left on auto-pilot to navigate online learning, students can end up feeling on an island--especially for middle school- and high school-aged children, who can fall off parents’ radar since they are fairly autonomous. 

Therefore, it is imperative during the pandemic to communicate with teachers and express concerns or difficulties that your student may be facing. Most teachers make themselves readily available and open to parent questions or concerns, whether by phone, email, or even Google Meet or Zoom these days! 

We know that children don’t always speak up if they are struggling and while home (if they are remote) and out of “view” of teachers and counselors, things can slip through the cracks and get away from them quickly. If parents work together with teachers and consistently do check-ins with their students, these issues are less likely to happen. Just think of a “check-in” as a form of domestic checks and balances--taking a dipstick reading of how your child is feeling about school, friends, and their overall well-being. 

This is essentially the same method that teachers use when they do formative assessments, but instead of asking about students’ comfort levels with the concepts they are learning, parents would be taking an assessment of their children’s feelings and overall mindset. This can even be done once a week [let’s say on a Friday] and can be sent in an email to a teacher that weekend for him/her to follow up on the next week.

Here are some questions or methods to use when conducting a check-in with your child:

  1. How are you feeling about what you did this week in distance learning? [Tip: A quick assessment could be for them to give a thumbs up or down - or rate on a scale 1-5 - both of which work especially well with younger kids.]
  2. Create an “exit ticket”: Have your child fill out a form (like this one for elementary and this one for middle school) with 3 or more concepts he/she learned that week during online classes--whether in paper form or in an email/text to you.
  3. Have your child fill out a graphic organizer (this feelings thermometer works great with younger students) where he/she lists 5 things they were concerned about from their online classes--whether it be academically, behaviorally, or socially.
  4. Have your child make a strengths and weaknesses inventory--i.e. list of the top 5 topics or concepts they feel they understand and the bottom 5 that they don’t.
  5. Ask which technology platforms or apps they are enjoying using during class. [Tip: You can even have them give you a quick tutorial in how to use them, which can trick them into demonstrating their understanding without even realizing it!]
  6. In the upper elementary/middle school levels, have them list their top 3 team teachers and they have to provide a reason why.
  7. Ask who they consider to be their “go-to” if they are having difficulty with school [Tip: Mention that the “go-to” doesn’t have to be you and remind students that they, or you, can reach out to teachers and counselors to set up an online session to touch base and talk if needed.]
  8. In place of “lunch bunches”--where students eat and socialize with friends while connecting with counselors or teachers in school--if you are a parent working from home, schedule some time to sit down and eat together [this teacher resource can be adapted for parents overseeing distance learning] to check in on how your child’s day/week is going. 
  9. Have your child describe any new friends they’ve noticed online during classes, such as in the gallery when sitting on a Zoom or Google Meet. This way, the student can make a mental note to reach out to that person by email or chat and try to get to know him/her better when school resumes in person. [Tip: This works better with elementary students.]
  10. Play a “wishbone” game using a small branch or stick with your child, where whoever breaks off the bigger piece has to share a wish or a goal he or she would like to accomplish the following week. [Tip: Parents can talk about a goal they have for work or around the house/family-related, and children can make a goal they have for school; this works especially well with elementary students.]

 

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