Classroom Sweet Classroom: Creating Remote Learning Spaces at Home
Help me give my students what they need to recreate our classroom at home: supplies to keep working, books to keep exploring, art supplies to stay creative, and math manipulatives to keep learning hands-on!
When remote learning was first announced in New York City, students were thrust into new and unchartered territory, making the best of an unprecedented situation for an indeterminable amount of time. As a teacher, I could only make the best of what we did (but mostly did not) know and provide some sense of routine and normalcy to my students. We are now positioned in a different vantage point. Much of what is in front of us is still unknown, but we know that our current situation is to remain so for at least another two months, if not longer. Two weeks of remote learning has quickly turned into several months.
Our school-dependent students, already the receivers of so many various forms of disadvantage and inequity, do not deserve and cannot maintain any further threats to their academic learning and achievement.
Some students are starting to receive digital learning devices from the city, some are finally getting connected to wifi, but there are still so many gaps left unfilled without direct access to schools and classrooms.
Given the abrupt start of remote learning, few students have the materials or supplies at home that are taken for granted as standard parts of a given classroom. As social distancing is practiced, community mobility slows, and day-to-day items are harder to get for everyone. For my students in the Bronx access to learning materials is not a luxury or a comfort but a necessity.
Imagine trying to learn without the people, places, or things you are used to; if we are to ask students to continue learning during these unprecedented times, we must also provide them with the supplies and materials that they need to do so.
Basic classroom supplies like pencils, erasers, notebooks, and paper will better allow students to connect with their online learning. A dry erase board and hands-on math manipulatives will transform that learning from virtual to real-life. Art supplies will allow students to practice and expand their creativity, both enhancing their class-based learning and taking a break from it by coloring, cutting, pasting, and painting. Books, the real kind whose pages your turn and whose words you bring to life with your own voice, will bring students the magic of connection, curiosity, and escape that only literature can.
Although remote learning will never be a substitute for the school communities and connections our students are missing, we can provide them with the best at-home learning experience possible until we are reunited in our classrooms once again.
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