Educator Stories: Supporting Students During Extended School Closures with Lexia

Educator Stories: Supporting Students During Extended School Closures with Lexia

The past few months have felt like a whirlwind as schools and districts around the world scrambled to set up systems for remote instruction.

From expanding usage of web-based tools to deploying school buses as wi-fi hotspots, educators have used their resourcefulness and creativity to support continuity of student learning during extended school closures.

At Lexia, it’s incredibly important to us that our users—both existing and the thousands of educators who have signed on in recent weeks—feel supported in using our tools during this unprecedented time. We put together a Customer Resource Page with professional learning resources, technical info and FAQs for both educators and families using Lexia—and we also reached out to you.

Read some of the strategies your colleagues and parents have shared about making remote learning work:

Q: How are you supporting remote learning currently?

A: Our teachers are doing a great job adapting to remote instruction. We have a really strong PLC structure within our school building, and I think this has also helped us make this transition a little bit easier. We also have a teacher leader for every grade level, so our teacher leader has been the point person that I've been communicating with in order to start to set up remote instruction and to help respond to concerns. I think if you rely on that PLC structure and you start to ask questions like:

  • How are we going to prioritize learning for the rest of this year? 

  • What are the learning goals that we really want to accomplish? 

  • We are about 75% of the way into the school year—what are some things that students may have mastered earlier that we could spiral back now? 

  • What are some ways that we could provide feedback to students? 

  • And how can we help support parents in this process? 

We've been able to do that using different kinds of digital tools. One thing that we learned early on was that we had to set up several Zoom sessions for our parents and show them the different tools that we are using, so they can become familiar with how they're going to support students through this and ask questions. 

And then the last thing we did was focus on relationships. Every day our teachers use a morning meeting structure where they talk about what's happening and how kids are feeling, and we found by doing that, our teachers have really settled into this remote instruction and that has helped our students and parents settle in as well.

—Felecia Evans, Principal, Lander Elementary School, Ohio

Q: How are you addressing challenges such as limited technology and connectivity?

A: We're really concerned about everything being equitable, and so we've sent out information on local companies that are offering free internet to families during this time. We figured out ways for families to access public wi-fi by sitting in the school parking lot, or on the playground benches. It's uncharted territory, so we're trying to figure out ways to meet everybody’s needs and be understanding if they can't connect.

—Amber Grimes, Reading Specialist, Oakbrooke Elementary School, Arkansas

Q: How are you adapting your use of Lexia’s programs for remote instruction?

A: I depend even more now on consistently analyzing the data of each of my students throughout the week. I then select different targeted Lessons or Skill Builders that Lexia generates, based on student performance, to cover with students during our weekly 1-1 online conferences (twice a week). While the Lessons/Skill Builders are in PDF format and ideally made for printing out and using during in-person instruction, there are still different parts of the lesson that can be utilized with students via screen-sharing.

—Sara Hager, Intervention Specialist, Grandview Heights Schools, Ohio

Q: How do you keep students motivated during remote learning?

A: I think a lot of the kids just need to know that people are thinking about them—including teachers and staff members at our school. We try to send messages through different communication apps, like Bloomz or ClassDojo, where teachers send messages to their students outside of just the normal distance learning, and maybe some videos of teaching, but also videos of us just saying hello and being friendly and kind to our students. We let them know that we're still thinking about them. And even though there's distance between us, we're still trying our best to make that personal connection with our kids. I think that's the best motivational tool. I've been making a lot of chess videos because I have a chess club at our school, so I've been posting those somewhat regularly just to try to remind the kids that even though we don't have chess club, we can still learn.

—Jared Hartsfield, Resource Specialist, Agnes Baptist Elementary, California

Q: From a parent’s perspective, what are your tips on using Lexia’s programs at home?

A: One thing we started doing is having him do Lexia Core5 Reading® as one of his first school activities. He’s been a little more resistant to doing Lexia (he’s getting to more challenging activities I think) so doing it first thing gets it taken care of before he gets tired later in the day. We also do a lot of celebrating every time he finishes a new section or level. Learning is more fun with lots of high fives! You can tell he still takes a lot of pride in his achievements in Lexia, so we’re trying to encourage that part of it. His teacher has been emailing the certificates he earns along the way, which is great.

—Anne Campbell, parent of a first-grader, Massachusetts

Additional ways educators are using Lexia’s tools and resources for remote instruction include:

  • Sending printed Skill Builders to students with self-addressed, stamped envelopes for the student to complete and return

  • Emailing families Skill Builders/Lexia Lessons/Certificates as the student needs them

  • Creating Google folders and/or class website pages with links to the resources students might need

  • Web conferencing one-on-one with students to deliver Lexia Lessons as interventions

  • Grouping students by skill level using the Class Action Plan and hosting small-group web conferences

We hope some of these ideas will be helpful as you continue to develop and refine your remote learning plans. Get more support for Lexia educators, administrators and families on our resource pages or register for one of our Virtual Q&A sessions.

How are you using Lexia’s tools for remote instruction? Tag @lexialearning on Twitter and share your strategies!

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