Minisink Valley Teachers’ Association (MVTA) offers tips to help students and parents during this extended school closure

MVTA logo of an appleLike everyone everywhere, Minisink Valley students and parents are adjusting to a world where school is currently on hiatus.

These first couple of days are challenging for everyone, for sure. But there’s one important thing the Minisink Valley Teachers’ Association (MVTA) wants students and parents to know: It’s critical to maintain skills during this time out of the classroom.

“In trying and difficult times we’ve got to develop ways in which to manage our time, resources as well as maintaining our mental health,” said MVTA President Theresa Uhelsky. “We want all our students to stay sharp with their skills, that’s why every teacher put considerable time into making certain everyone has ample educational resources to help them during this time. Students need to use these resources and parents need to help by encouraging their children about the importance of doing so.”

Here’s some useful suggestions from MVTA to help keep those skills sharp:

High school students:
●      Set a schedule that will work nearly every day.
●      Set aside a reasonable amount of time to work on each class and abide by it. The thought is that you should do this at the same time each day.
●      Be certain to schedule your lunch, physical education time, and one or two study halls.  Work on something else or listen to some music, watch some videos, or even take a 30-minute nap. Finish early and you can schedule yourself an “early leave.”
●      Make arrangements with friends to be “study buddies” and do things collaboratively online. Help each other to find things you may need and “brainstorm” ideas to get things done together. This will help to keep your brains active and moving so as to not “rust up”. You can plan to “go to class” together, all at the same time.

Middle school students:
It’s challenging for both kids and adults to continue to be productive every day. But, it’s important to create a daily schedule that works best for you to stay on track with both schoolwork and physical fitness.  Here’s a suggested schedule to give students an idea on how to be self-disciplined and productive during these difficult times.

●      8 to 8:30 a.m.: Wake up and make breakfast
●      8:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Focus on doing assignments for your core classes
●      10:30 to 11:30 a.m.:  Play outside, possibly practice specific sports skills, work on conditioning through sit-ups, push-ups, running, etc.
●      11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Have lunch and take a break, and that can include watching some television or playing video games.
●      12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Go for a walk or a hike.  If the weather is poor, maybe walk on a treadmill or do some other type of fitness, which may include a fitness video to promote both physical and mental health.
●      1:30 to 3 p.m.: Do assignments for your non-core classes and finish up any studying or work from your core classes.

After that, you can enjoy your free time that you’ve earned by being so productive throughout the early morning and afternoon. Please feel free to reach out to your teachers if you need help with any of your classes.

Elementary K-5 students:
●      Have your children play outside and play with them, when you can.
      Go for walks with your children.
●      Follow the directions that were given for “at home” assignments.  Don’t feel like you have to get everything done at once — keep it manageable.
●      Read to/with/near your children every day.
●      Make a schedule and stick with it so your children know what to expect daily.  Give kids some flexibility and input into their schedules when possible.
●      Pack lunch and snack daily for fun school-like breaks.  Add in recess also!
●      Learning can take place with everyday chores — helping with the laundry, cooking, negotiating with a sibling to name just a few.
●      Take breaks using online yoga, physical education, art and/or music links.
●      Use a behavior plan with green, yellow, and red sticks (or something similar) that note when behavior is either green (good), yellow (warning), or red (inappropriate).  Remember, every day is a new day with a new start.
●      Keep the lines of communication open between your home and your child’s teacher.  We want to hear from you as well as your children so utilize email and allow your children the opportunity to tell their teacher a story, something exciting that’s happening, something they learned or are frustrated about, or just the chance to connect to say hello.  We miss them and this daily contact is so important for everyone!
●      Self-care for parents is important, too (and important to model for kids)

“We want our community to know that our faculty is dedicated to helping their students,” Ms. Uhelsky added. “We know parents  are already doing an amazing job! We’ll be providing more ideas to you in the days to come. For now, we should remind ourselves that we all need to focus on things we can control…and breathe. We are always here to support you.”