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Virtual instruction through EdOptions Academy for elementary students? Tell me more!

Virtual instruction through EdOptions Academy for elementary students? Tell me more!

It goes without saying (but I will), virtual instruction is not a one-size-fits all model. What works for high schoolers, does not, and should not, replicate for kindergarteners. Yet, we’re in a unique position in education today – virtual instruction is no longer a nice to have or a back-pocket model – it’s a “need to have” at scale – kindergarten through high school. So, how do we ensure that our youngest learners are set up for success? This is a question we get often with EdOptions Academy, Edmentum’s fully-accredited K -12 virtual academy, and it’s one that we take very seriously. 

EdOptions Academy not only supports middle and high schoolers, but our engaging, and high-quality digital curriculum and state-certified educators also support elementary students as well. Much like a brick-and-mortar classroom, the way you engage with and teach a six-year-old is much different than how you would approach a fifteen-year-old. And so, in a virtual setting, it’s not a matter of simply changing the digital curriculum or changing the instructional approach – it’s also a both/and scenario. In the case of EdOptions Academy, both our digital curriculum and our overall approach to instruction is specifically designed for the elementary student. 

To that end, I sat down with Chief Academic Officer, Dave Adams, to get some insight into the who, what, where, when, and why of Edmentum’s K-5 approach to virtual instruction through EdOptions Academy.

  1. How is the curriculum within EdOptions Academy structured?

Our curriculum is designed and built for virtual learning – with standards-based core academics, interactive lessons, and project-based real-world learning. Lessons are developed by expert learning designers who construct activities that are age appropriate for K-5 learners and designed to ensure students master skills and standard, demonstrate mastery through short curriculum-embedded assessments, and demonstrate higher order thinking and creativity through unit projects.

 

  1. What does virtual instruction look like in EdOptions Academy for elementary students?

Virtual instruction through EdOptions Academy is not your elementary student navigating a computer by themselves all day. Remember, screen time, is not, and should not be, alone time for young kids in a virtual instructional setting. Rather, it’s a combination of parent, teacher, and child working together to create an inquiry-based environment that meets a child’s unique needs.  EdOptions Academy’s instructional model provides a balance of live group lessons, 1:1 instruction, and independent practice. Assessments are imbedded in each lesson and unit to facilitate data-driven instruction and ensure content is mastered and retained. A variety of fun activities in non-core subjects are scheduled throughout the week to provide students with choice to participate in music, art, drama, story time, physical activities, dance, movement, and clubs.

 

  1. What does a day in the week of an EdOptions Academy student look like?

The EdOptions Academy weekly learning schedule includes a balance of online and offline learning activities, core curriculum instructional blocks, and fun elective activities.

 

 A day in teh Week of an EOA Student

 

  1. What will this school year look like for Edmentum’s virtual learners?

This school year will be like no other and a GREAT year full of learning and fun. Starting this school year with a meaningful transition into the academic schedule, and developing an understanding of each child’s academic ability level is critical for elementary-age students. With many students having experienced a disruption in their learning over the past five months due to COVID-19 school closures, there isn’t a moment to waste this year.  

 What a school year looks like using EOA

EdOptions Academy is beginning this school year by administering our adaptive diagnostic assessment, Exact Path, in the first week of school. This adaptive assessment will identify any learning loss or skill gaps that may have occurred over the past five months. Diagnostic data from the Exact Path assessment places students into an adaptive learning path that individualizes and adapts to each unique student’s needs. This adaptive learning process provides the foundation for students to begin their grade-level curriculum.

 

  1. Who are Edmentum’s elementary teachers?

Our teachers provide daily live lessons in core curriculum subjects (reading, math, science, and social studies). They are master virtual educators with deep expertise in both traditional classroom instruction and virtual education. All EdOptions Academy teachers are high qualified state certified instructors and certified in virtual teaching and learning.  

 

  1. What about parents? What does their involvement look like in this model?

Parent and guardian involvement is a critical component of the EdOptions Academy virtual learning experience. While our teachers are responsible for daily instruction and student’s mastery of content, parents must ensure their child attends scheduled live lessons, participates in independent interactive practice, completes homework. And for young students, this requires that they work hand in hand with their child. Remember though, depending on the age of your child, sustained learning time will vary. Don’t forget to give yourself, and your child, breaks and grace throughout the process.  

While teacher-student relationships are the foundation of virtual learning in EdOptions Academy, parent-teacher relationships are equally as important and reinforced through semi-regular parent-teacher meetings and scheduled teacher office hours.

 

For more insights into virtual learning for elementary students, check out our Talking Ed series featuring Edmentum Product Manager, Kate Webber where she discusses what virtual learning looks like in an elementary setting, Virtual learning for elementary students: Does it really work?

ashlee.tatum@edmentum.com's picture

Ashlee Tatum-Eckley joined the Edmentum team in 2007 and currently leads the marketing organization. She studied business at Southern Methodist University and early childhood studies at the University of North Texas. Ashlee is a lifelong learner who is passionate about the power of education. She is truly inspired by the great work that teachers do every day and is committed to making a difference in the lives of all kids.