Guidelines for Class
- Webcams During Class
Teaching is very dependent on reading body language, as thus cameras need to be on during the online sessions (no avatars). The teacher will be much more aware of students’ learning when the session is live with two-way visuals.
Students are to come to online classes dressed in their HCA uniform. Clothing affects how people feel about themselves and we want our students to feel that they are still part of the HCA community even while learning at home.
When practical, we encourage parents to supervise online learning. This can help prevent students from becoming distracted with visiting other sites while attending online learning. We’ve included some tips below in helping students stay engaged throughout their entire HCA@Home experience under the “Prepare your Day” section.
Prepare Your Space
Where will your students join online classes from in your home?
Students of all ages might benefit from some dedicated studying space in your home! If you have the ability to set up such a space for your student, here are some things to consider:
- For web conferencing:
- A room with natural light will look best on camera. If you can, sit with lights and windows ahead of you, not behind you.
- For working:
- A desk lamp will be best to ensure your student’s work surface is bright and minimizes eye strain.
- Remove the distractions:
- Less clutter will help your student focus, but (especially for our younger classes), distractions in your space could even disrupt other students in your class.
- Multi-use space? Create a checklist!
- Your student won’t need this space all day, but your family probably does! Consider giving him or her a checklist they can use to convert the space to a classroom and back again when they are finished.
- Ensure proper posture while working:
- Try to adjust chair height, to the height of the table or desk, so that your student’s arms rest naturally on the work surface while sitting up straight.
- It is most ergonomic to be looking straight ahead at the computer’s screen. Their eyes should be lined up to just about 1/3 down from the top of the screen.
- Sit near a window:
- If possible, situate your student(s) near a window for both lighting and eye breaks. Again, follow the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to focus on something at a far distance (such as 20m away, out the window) whilst blinking rapidly.
- Power cords and Chargers:
- Remember access to power, and find your chargers! Don’t count on battery life that may disrupt their lesson. Have your power bars and charger cords ready so you aren’t scrambling during class time.
- If you have multiple students in HCA@Home, it is highly recommended to have each student work in separate rooms.
- If they are nearby to each other, have them use earbuds or headphones with built-in mics to reduce the noise each call makes in your house. Unless they speak very quietly, they will still be able to hear each other when they speak, which means the other’s classmates and teachers might be able to hear them too.
Prepare Your Time
Have a Routine
All Grades 3 through 12 students in HCA@Home have classes between 8:15am and 12:15pm.
This compressed learning schedule gives our parents and students quite a bit of flexibility, but it does leave a substantial amount of time unallocated. Get creative with how to rearrange your days during off hours, but we encourage you to find a rhythm for your students and try to stick to it. This is one of the biggest factors that going to school provides for your students and is different with HCA@Home. Giving them an expectation that school days have a schedule at home will help them get the most from HCA@Home and the rest of their time as well.
For Middle and High School students, the best time to complete assignments and studying is in the afternoon when their teachers are available online.
It is important for all students to be prepared to start class at 8:15am. Once you receive your class schedule, consider using a timer or alerts in your calendar to be ready for each of the periods throughout the morning.
Talk about Screen Time
No matter how you handle internet use, screen time, content filtering, and supervision with your family, HCA@Home means that use of this technology is suddenly changing. Be proactive in how you set up expectations, boundaries, and supervision for your children’s safety as they ramp up their use of the internet at home.
Prepare Your Day
Some strategies to help students stay focused & engaged in eLearning:
- If your child is waiting for the teacher to set up or classmates to join, give them something like a doodle pad or fidget spinner that they know to put down as soon as it’s time to pay attention.
- Eye Health
- Encourage eye and movement breaks to prevent headaches. Remind your students to remember the 20/20/20 rule of looking outside at something far away (such as 20m away), every 20 minutes for 20 seconds while blinking frequently.
- Set Breaks
- Schedule set breaks for snacks and recess, just like we do during in-person class. Kids thrive on routine and consistency. Set an alarm to go off at the same time everyday that signals a snack break. This can be done on your phone or home assistant hub (such as Alexa or Google Home).
- Get Outdoors & Be Active
- Ensure students have some outside time every day. Set it up as a reward for their focused learning. Plan something fun and engaging after HCA@Home ends such as baking, biking, or painting (anything off screens!)
- Have them do some jumping jacks or run on the spot between class instructions or before they watch a new video clip.
- Socialize Virtually
- Allow students to video chat with their classmates off-hours. They are sure to miss their friends during this time. Schedule calls with their classmates to give them a chance to socialize and “see” one another (and ensure parents/guardians give permission to do so). Do this in an open space in the home (not behind closed doors).
- Use our HCA Parent Community (Facebook Group) to arrange calls with their classmates.
Prepare Your Accounts
Quickschools for report cards
Check that you know how to access your QuickSchools account. Academic records will continue to be published on QuickSchools and are accessible to parents, guardians, and High School students.
Set Up Google Apps
All Elementary Students will be receiving HCA Google Accounts. (Middle School and High School students already have these.) Please take some time to log in to these accounts before launch on Thursday.
If for some reason, you don’t receive this by the end of the day on Wednesday, please contact us to raise the issue before Thursday.
- For students using a PC or Mac
- install Google Chrome. Please use this browser for HCA@Home.
- For students using a computer or Chromebook
- Log In to GMail and bookmark Google Classroom, Google Calendar, Google Meet, and Google Chat.
- Google Classroom
- check that you can see one or more courses (and if they are the right ones!)
- Google Calendar
- you should see your online classes scheduled for you. (We’re still working on this, so don’t worry if you don’t see them all.)
- If using a smartphone or tablet
- please free up some space on your device and install the Apps!
Do a Trial Run
See if you can set up a Google Meet call or a Google Chat to test how your internet connection will hold up. Not sure who to call? All your friends from HCA have Google Accounts too and are easy to find on Google Chat.
Prepare Supplies & Equipment
Here are some nice-to-have things you might have around the house and could make available for your students:
- It might be worth stocking up on ink and paper, and seeing if you can connect the printer to the computer your student will be using. Course work for HCA@Home can be completed online, but many students find working on paper more effective when that is available.
- Other Supplies
- Ask your student’s teacher what other supplies might be helpful to equip your home with.
- Webcam Care
- Whether a smartphone or tablet, computer, or webcam, a clean lens will be beneficial. Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to gently wipe clean the camera lens. You can clean your computer or tablet screen this way too, but be sure your cloth is not wet.
- Plug in a mouse:
- For those using a laptop with a built-in trackpad or pointer, plug in a mouse! If you’ve got a computer mouse kicking around in a drawer somewhere, using that will be kinder to your fingers for lots of computer work.
- Plug directly into the Internet
- If using a laptop for online classes, find out if you have the option of running a network cable directly from your router to your computer. WiFi is great, but a wired connection will always do better for video.
- Consider ambient background music:
- Do you have a way for your student to play calm or classical music? A practical step like this could go a long way towards improving their stamina for completing their assignments while working solo.
Finally, let’s all be prepared to be patient with one another next week (and beyond)!
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”
Consider what it might look like in your home to be literally prepared for unwanted interruptions, distractions, or glitches as we all dive into a new platform together.