During the last lockdown and school closure of 2020 I was conscious that families were at home and siblings were all trying to complete school work at home. So I decided with my colleagues to create a Family Challenge each day.
Initially our Family Challenges were a mixture of Art, STEM, SPHE, PE or any fun activity during the week that the family could complete together. It was great to see pictures of their work coming through on Seesaw or Teams. We took ideas from everywhere, Art for Kids Hub on YouTube, Playful Classroom and from other teacher bloggers sharing ideas and inspiration.
As the weeks went on, we began to theme our Family Challenge Weeks. It made planning easier and among my colleagues we could share the workload by taking a theme each.
One of our initial family challenges was suggested to encourage families to get out and about while also looking after the environment. We asked all families to look after their local area and collect rubbish as they were out, they added photos and a caption of their location to a Padlet we created. The Padlet was split to represent the classes in the school so each class were encouraged to share their walks and their work to keep their local area clean.
Following on from the Environment challenge we had different weeks, Science Week was very popular. I created a Padlet with links to lots of different activities and shared it with the parents across the school. Children got engaged and sent their work back on Seesaw, some of my class created a Science ebook on Book Creator which we combined to have one big book of Science activities completed at home.
We had a mindfulness week and I was conscious that children had lots of screen time for remote learning so my Padlet was more information based for parents, there were links to download colouring activities or podcasts for the children to listen to. There were options for every member of the household too.
We had lots of different weeks, Art week, Quiz week, Active School Week and it was great to have families engage with us at home. The engagement definitely encouraged us as a staff to keep planning new topics and weeks for all families. I think it worked to get families to complete something together, there was no arguing for a device or access to WiFi.
It might be something you could try during this period of school closures.
If you have any questions on my Family Challenges please send me a DM.