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Virtual Learning in Grades K-5: Best Practices from Calvert Learning to Support Elementary Students

Nov 16, 2023
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Learning in the elementary grades is all about interactive, hands-on instruction and collaborative experiences—which means school closures have been especially difficult for K-5 educators to navigate. However, with the right teaching strategies virtual learning can be effective for elementary students. Edmentum’s Calvert Learning has been providing these kind of successful non-traditional learning experiences for over a century through carefully curated, project-based K-5 curriculum and expert educator support.

In the clips from our recent webinar, learn the three keys to successful virtual learning for students in grades K-5: engagement, feedback, and family involvement and how Calvert Learning programs apply these best practices to ensure positive student outcomes.

Make Connections

Krista Lasky, who has been teaching K-5 virtually for 8 years, stresses the importance of making connections when working with younger kids. For her, there are five elements to making connections:

  • Embracing video conferencing
  • Communicate regularly via email, text, and instant message
  • Provide small-group opportunities
  • Offer technology-based virtual clubs and field trips
  • Incorporate strategies from brick-and-mortar

In the video clip above, she provides examples for how she, as a Calvert Learning educator, incorporates those 5 elements in her teaching every day as well as tips and tricks that have lead her to success.

Offer High-Quality Feedback

Amy Roche, manager of Academic Services at Calvert Learning, explains the importance of feedback in grading for students outside of the brick and mortar classroom. There are eight key strategies to use when providing high quality feedback that will drive student learning forward:

  • Addresses students with personalized comments
  • Acknowledge effort and contain a “glow” something a student did well
  • Help students identify skill gaps and include a “grow”
  • Maintain a constructive, supportive, written tone
  • Offer measures to apply consistency in grading practice
  • Provide specific examples from the student evidence
  • Facilitate reflection and avoid vague statements
  • Encourage students to initiate ongoing conversations

In the video above, Amy goes through why each element is important for students, educators, and parents. The example below shows those 8 steps in action.

Partner with Parents

As we know, when students are learning virtually, parents need to be much more hands on. Krista Lasky has tips and tricks that she uses that have helped her build connections, get families engaged, and help parents feel supported. Her main tips include:

  • Hold regular office hours for parents to ask questions with clear expectations on what the office hours are for
  • Provide a schedule for when you will be available and what a typical day should look like for the student
  • Offer short, direct lessons – keep it to 10-15 minutes. Don’t be afraid to chunk out content
  • Clearly communicate timelines on when things need to be completed
  • Remember that remote learning is new to families and you! Be flexible.

The Calvert Learning Approach

Calvert Learning has been around for 100+ years and focuses on four key elements in its effective approach.

  • It is a complete, research-based curriculum designed to engage elementary learners.
  • Problem-based activities and engaging projects that showcase the student’s learning and actively engage students in the learning process
  • A family-centered approach for caregivers to be full partners with educators
  • Online and offline learning to honor what we know about brain-based science and real-world limitations

When the pandemic hit, educators had to quickly adapt to online teaching. But using different platforms for different subjects created a lot of confusion and frustration for teachers and students. That’s why Calvert offers a one-platform solution for all core subjects in elementary grades. Calvert’s curriculum is standards-aligned and builds on skills progressively across courses and grades.

But Calvert is not just about online learning. It also encourages students to go offline and engage in project-based learning. Students can explore their interests and passions through authentic and creative projects that reflect their understanding of the real world. Calvert believes that learning should be fun and meaningful for young learners.

Calvert also supports parents as learning guides for their children. Parents can access teaching notes that explain what their child is learning and how to help them. Calvert empowers parents to be more involved and confident in their child’s education.

Finally, Calvert is flexible and adaptable to different situations. Calvert knows that technology can sometimes fail or cause problems. That’s why Calvert also provides a digital + print option for all core courses. Students can learn online or offline, depending on their needs and preferences.

Learn more about how Calvert Learning combines online and offline learning, project-based learning, parent involvement, and flexibility, helping students learn better and enjoy learning more. 

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