‘I started to tear up,’ Local teacher reacts to schools being closed, offers advice for parents, students

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD)– Central Illinois schools planning and outlining a new normal for kids as the state mandates students won’t return to the classroom this year. The cancellation, due to COVID-19, is bringing to light how much parents, teachers, and students rely on one another for learning.

“I have to say I started to tear up on Friday when Gov. Pritzker made the announcement,” said Mossville Elementary’s kindergarten teacher Natalie Colgan,

Kids of all ages are now using laptops and tablets for Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts and social media to interact with classmates and complete assignments.

“We need grace for these really hard transitions that are being made and the lack of time we had to prepare and plan for them,” said Regional Superintendent Beth Crider with the Peoria County Regional Office of Education. “We need grace for the mistakes we’re inevitably making along the way and grace for that this gap is going to cause for students.”

Local teachers said the new normal does provide an upside to learning. It’s teaching skills that can’t be learned in the classroom.

“Cooking skills and yard work skills and those life skills that we may not get to teach during our academic day,” said Colgan. “They’re getting to learn at home.”

Teachers said parents and students should remember to take a break. Focus on fun and not frustration, and utilize the learning material to the best of your ability.

Edutopia, a foundation is dedicated to transforming K-12 education, wrote tips for teachers transitioning to online learning.

1. SIMPLICITY IS KEY

2. ESTABLISH A DIGITAL HOME BASE

3. PRIORITIZE LONGER, STUDENT-DRIVEN ASSIGNMENTS

4. INDIVIDUAL TOUCH-POINTS ARE GAME-CHANGERS

PBS has printable packets online to supplement classwork given by teachers.

PreK-K Printable Printable Packet 

Grade 1-2 Printable Packet 

PreK-12 Resource Collection 

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