Suggestions from a Florida teacher on how to prepare your student for distance learning

Like in many districts across the state of Florida, Orange County Public Schools teachers are preparing to convert their lesson plans over to distance learning.

Matthew Hazel teaches 10th and 12th grade English. He walked FOX 35 News through how parents can prepare. 

“In a lot of ways, less is more. No distractions is key,” Hazel said.  “We have a laptop for distance learning pencils pens and paper. That’s really all your need.”

Hazel recommends that you set your child up at either your kitchen table or dining room table with the motto “less is more” 

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“The important thing is what’s not here. No cell phone here, no TV here, no distractions here,” Hazel explained. 

Orange County Public Schools has already been doing some degree of distance learning, so everyone has access to the district’s online portal.   

“CANVAS is our learning management system.  It’s where all the assignments will be, where all the classes will be. Everything coming from teachers’ digital modules lectures, whatever else,” Hazel said. He and his colleagues will be learning how to do all their teaching from canvas for the time being and whatever else is expected of them once distance learning starts on March 30th for their students. “It’s going to be a weird transition to get kids ready for online learning. This is new for all of us. We’re kind of rebuilding the engine of the car while we’re going down the highway here."

Hazel said what will prove important once distance learning starts: establishing a routine and setting a schedule. 

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Hazel is guesstimating high schoolers should plan on spending at least three hours a day online for a full course load of distance learning, two hours a day for middle schoolers.  He recommends breaking up into blocks.  

“Set a timer, an hour is probably good,” he said.  

Parents of middle and high school-aged children will need to periodically check on their children while they’re participating in distance learning.  As for elementary school-aged learners, "the younger the child, the more involved you’ll need to be in the process,” Hazel said.


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