The global COVID-19 pandemic that has forced schools to shut down physical operations and move to online learning has, understandably, caused a fair amount of anxiety and emotional distress for students.
In merely one or two weeks, teachers have moved their instructional plans online, quickly adapting lessons and identifying ways to connect with students through virtual meet-ups.
Parents are often next to their children, helping them adjust to online learning and figure out how to complete assignments and schedule learning time and “time off” throughout the day.
Students have been hit with a lot, and while everyone is doing their best to make sure learning continues with minimal interruption, students need time for fun learning activities just like they do in the physical classroom.
Here are a few online learning resources to keep students’ brains working while they’re also engaged in fun activities.
1. Amazon Future Engineer is helping students, teachers, and parents access a variety of free, online opportunities. Amazon Future Engineer’s partners at BootUp PD offer free access to lesson plans and coding resources in the Scratch and ScratchJr applications for students to develop creative coding projects from home.
Its partner Code.org is hosting new “Code Break” episodes with special celebrity guests every Wednesday to teach students about computer science. Amazon Future Engineer is offering a free online coding course designed to teach students about the fundamentals of coding through coding a virtual robot. For middle and high school, Amazon Future Engineer is providing free access to sponsored computer science courses, including Introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Through this offering, teachers can also access online professional development.
2. Daily DE, from Discovery Education, is a suite of free student activities aimed at keeping families engaged in learning while navigating school closures and practicing social distancing. Each day, the hub will be updated with new themed activities like virtual field trips to complement regularly scheduled schooling. Not only will students find engaging opportunities to keep them busy, parents can rely on a fresh supply of learning tools for support while adapting to having their children home for most of the day.
3. Many educators and parents have stepped into at-home and remote learning–and they’re looking for resources and support. This is also a crucial time for kids of all ages to continue being creative, to have fun, and to stay engaged by learning through play. Inspired by the amazing LEGO creations being shared by people of all ages on social media, the company dug deep into its archives and assembled LEGO designers, creatives, and play experts from across the organization to come up with new ways to help families stay creative, curious and connected while at home. Daily play challenges, new play ideas and live build-a-longs will be shared on social media using the hashtag #letsbuildtogether and at www.lego.com/letsbuildtogether.
4. National Geographic is boosting efforts to provide free, easy-to-implement, distance learning resources to help teach, explore, and inspire learners. Explorer Classroom Live Broadcasts: Connects young people virtually with National Geographic Explorers to hear about their expeditions, adventures and findings in the field across all seven continents. In support of teachers, students and families, Nat Geo is now offering Explorer Classroom weekly at 2 p.m. EDT. Curated Collections: Learn-at-home activities for K-12 learners, developed by educators, to help young people continue to build their skills in science, social studies, and more. Resource Library: Free lessons, videos, and articles for a range of subjects and grade levels. Community & Connection: Educators are sharing resources, ideas, instructional tools and encouragement with other educators (#TeacherStrong) across @NatGeoEducation channels.
5. myON is a digital library that provides 24/7 access to thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles. Titles are available in English and Spanish.
myON News delivers engaging daily articles, reporting on US and world events that are reviewed by a child psychologist. Articles are available in both English, Spanish and French. Select versions of myON and myON News are available for a limited time for free to public school districts or Catholic/private/charter schools.
6. Freckle is an adaptive practice program that helps educators effectively differentiate instruction for math, ELA, social studies, and science. Freckle has free platform available for educators or parents to sign up to use.