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April 3, 2020

Top 5 things I’ve learned hosting online classes for Stapleton children

Guest post by Stapleton resident and tutor Abby Belasco of Dear Abby Tutors, a local tutoring company. Dear Abby Tutors is hosting Zoom classes for children from pre-school to fifth grade with different tutors and will continue to host classes via Zoom while there is a need for children to learn on a consistent and organized basis. Check out www.dearabbytutors.com today!

Here are 5 interesting things I’ve learned hosting online classes for Stapleton kids the past few weeks!

1. Kids are often more likely to listen to another adult over their own parents. Right now I teach more than 25 students – many here in Stapleton – on Zoom, all at one time, and they’re attentive and responsive. But my own 7 year old? He could care less about what I’m teaching unless it’s something he likes. Having that “teacher presence” every day, even if that teacher is online, has a lot of value for many children, especially those who are missing some of the structure school provides.

2. I’ve found that one of the bigger upsides of teaching class on Zoom is that children can eat, drink, play with a small toy or hold onto their favorite lovey for support. Sometimes kids can do this in regular school, but I think being able to grab a quick snack or hug a stuffie helps kids re-focus their attention and manage their anxiety levels a little better. Also, no one has to worry about interrupting the entire class!

3. Most children’s attention span is about 15 minutes before they need a movement break. I try to give all of my students physical breaks, which is much easier on Zoom than it is in a classroom. All the children have their own space and can do jumping jacks, stretches, and more. My favorite physical activity? Sometimes we’ll have the kids do races to find a specific object in the house, like a spoon or pillow or any other random object. Talk about upping the energy level and getting children excited!

4. Kids love to play on the white board that Zoom offers. Give students a choice what to create and they’ll amaze you!

5. I alluded to this in #1, but children really do miss their teachers! Believe me, people don’t become teachers for the money. They do it for the smiling faces that greet them every day and the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I’ve loved teaching so many local children on Zoom in part because I’m often one of the only other adults these kids see on a daily basis.

It’s amazing what I’ve seen from the students the past three weeks. Many of the kids want to share their thoughts with me, like they used to with their friends and teachers. Others want to show me their pets. We’ve had several birthdays. The kids love singing “Happy Birthday” over Zoom, almost as much as they love singing it in the classroom.

So many of the children seem to want a connection, to be a part of a class, see some of their friends on Zoom, and feel some sense of normalcy. I’m so lucky that part of the role I get to fill is being someone they can depend on to be there for them every day!

We have four classrooms taught Monday-Friday mornings by three different amazing teachers:

8:45 – 9:15 am MT – Pre K & Kindergarten – Samantha Krongold

9:00 – 10:30 am MT – 1st & 2nd grade – Abby Belasco

9:00 – 10:30 am MT – 3rd grade – Leksy Wolk

11:00 – 12:30 pm MT – 4th & 5th grade – Leksy Wolk

Come join our live virtual classrooms as we create community, teach engaging lessons, and share our love of learning with your children during this difficult time! Register here!

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