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Teacher's tips for creating the best environment for online learning

"Children thrive with consistency," said 5th-grade teacher Genesis Castillo.

Delivering the same level of education in a virtual classroom as they would in an actual classroom is a challenge teachers and school districts spent the summer planning out. 

But as the new school year arrives, all the planning on one end of the web camera is only as effective as how it is received on the other end.

“It was challenging at first because it was tough to get technology for a lot of my students,” said Genesis Castillo, a 5th-grade teacher at John Quincy Adams Elementary in Dallas.

Among the challenges for Castillo was managing classroom behavior and keeping students engaged. 

Not all of the students had the same abilities and resources when it came to accessing the internet and a device, especially for families with multiple children learning at the same time. Castillo said some of her students had to use their parent’s cell phones to observe lessons.

But there are a few relatively easy things families can do to give their children an environment suitable for learning.

First and foremost is consistency.

“Children thrive with consistency,” said Castillo. “When they know when they have to be there and the expectations, they will experience more success.”

Having a designated workspace like they would in a classroom can also put the student in the right frame of mind for learning and creating one could be easier than you think. 

Castillo turned her nightstand into a learning center complete with rules, calendars, and colorful decorations she bought for less than $20 at dollar stores.

“It is important students do not feel like just because they are home, they do not get to experience the fun that comes with learning.”

That is why Castillo said parents should not underestimate the value of some kind of reward system for consistency or good grades.

Peace and quiet are also valuable resources that don't cost money. Although Castillo did add, that headphones would be a good investment to help maximize the sense of hearing.