E-learning can benefit students during closure

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

Three weeks out of school might sound like a dream to the average student—but when the break comes during a time when public gathering is highly discouraged, it presents a unique dilemma.

As students face the unprecedented scenario presented by efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19, local school systems have resources that can help students’ minds stay sharp while out of the classroom.

“This is an unprecedented event to all of us,” said Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. “Alabaster City Schools is pleased to offer enrichment activities to be used with the children of our district while our schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

In a letter to parents and guardians, Vickers noted that the activities are voluntary and will not be graded, but are familiar to students and free to use at home.

Vickers also emphasized the importance of social distancing while students are out of school.

“We want our students to be safe and healthy. Social distancing is a very important thing for us to remember when we are tempted to have large social gatherings.”

A link for students of Alabaster schools is available at Acsboe.org/Page/2798.

Pelham City Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction Shannon Bogert also shared resources for student enrichment available on the Pelham City Schools webpage at Pelhamcityschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=122384&pageId=27367155.

“These resources are designed for engaging and interactive learning for students of all grade levels,” Bogert said. “In addition to these resources, our students have access to a large free digital library of books and audiobooks through Overdrive. Our media specialists have added many new titles today.”

Some schools, like Calera Elementary, for example, are using social media to keep families updated in the midst of the closure. One post on CES’s Facebook site lists free educational sites such as PBS Learning Media (Nj.pbslearningmedia.org), National Geographic 4 Kids (Kids.nationalgeographic.com), Fun Brain (Funbrain.com) and many more. Another post lists non-screen activities kids can do at home, like holding a photo session, doing something kind for someone, or drawing a map of your local area.

Dr. Chris Robbins at Berry Middle in Hoover is asking his students to do three things each day during the extended break: 1) read for 30 minutes each day, 2), practice some math and 3) work to complete a five-square path on the school’s “Berry Bingo Board Challenge.”

Robbins emphasized that the activities were not mandatory.

“This is just a chance for us to keep our brains and bodies sharp during our break,” he wrote on the school’s website. “For each day you complete this form, I will select some of these students to feature on my morning announcement video.”

The videos may be viewed at Hoovercityschools.net/berry; just click on the link under “Coronavirus Update.”

For updates pertaining to coronavirus and student resources at all Shelby County Schools, please see the latest updates at Shelbyed.k12.al.us. Families of students of Hoover City Schools may do the same at Hoovercityschools.net.

Remote learning at Briarwood Christian School is scheduled to begin March 30. During that time, all other school activities and events will be suspended until further notice, according to a statement on the school’s website. Updates will be communicated to families of students via email and posted to the Families Page, available at Briarwoodchristianschool.org/current-families.

Information for other private schools is available at the following links:

Evangel Christian School: Evangelhomeschool.org/ecs-blog/coronavirus-covid-19-response

Westminster School at Oak Mountain: Westminsterknights.org/coronavirus/

Coosa Valley Academy: Coosavalleyacademy.org

Cornerstone Christian: Cornerstonechargers.com

Meanwhile, links to free subscriptions to e-learning resources are available for anyone who wishes to use them at Kidsactivitiesblog.com/135609/list-of-education-companies-offering-free-subscriptions/?fbclid=IwAR3PkerfJYXsZ4SXJ3IsbKPvN3tF6BPM_Cq_9wtxroQzyivJkqeDwVAgRjg.