Tips For Thriving During Distance Learning

Posted by CH-CH Skills and Academic Support Faculty on 4/30/20 8:23 AM

Now that teachers and students have adjusted to new schedules and routines, it’s important to embrace the current learning environment. The Skills and Academic Support Department at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall is here to help you continue to succeed while at home with strategies and tips that will keep you in a motivated and engaged mindset.

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Turn Distractions into Rewards

By Ashley Balaconis, Director of Skills and Academic Support

Shutting down any possible distraction is always helpful. The tricky part is sticking to not reopening a tab. Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are often tabs consistently open for students these days. Close them all and come back to it as a reward after you get at least 20 minutes of work done. You’ll amaze yourself at how much you can accomplish in 20 minutes with no distractions.


Pro Tip: Check Out Ms. Balaconis' Complete Guideline on Helping Students With Procrastination


Know and Use the Supports Available to You

By Michael Streeter, Skills and Academic Support Teacher

Until recently, most traditional high school teaching modules involved students receiving 80% of their assignments’ instruction at school while 20% of their assignments’ completion was performed at home. With CH-CH’s Distance Learning Module, that formula is more or less flipped. With the implementation of virtual classrooms, only 20% of the work is covered in class because classes do not meet as often as they would as often as a typical week at CH-CH resulting in students completing most of their work independently.

At CH-CH, there are dedicated times for Virtual "Office Hours", where students can drop in to ask questions. The best method for becoming more academically confident challenges students to make use of Office Hours on a daily basis, which may feel difficult since it requires not only initiative, but a degree of confidence. It is ideal to ZOOM meet/chat with your subject area teacher after class, to immediately ask any questions while they are still “fresh”. Additionally, this will make it easier to follow up with teachers if/when there is a concern. If your school doesn't offer Office Hours, find out what the preferred ways are to reach out to teachers to get support. 


Get Specific with Your Questions

By Michael Streeter, Skills and Academic Support Teacher

Another way to reinforce academic confidence and enhance critical thinking is to write down very specific questions during class and share them with your teacher/class via Zoom chat. This will enhance your ability to invest as well as participate in the collective learning  process. By doing so, you will demonstrate to your teacher the essential, academic skills of Critical Thinking and Executive Functioning that serve as the basis of competency based learning. Furthermore, it will illustrate your determination as a student that you are serious about the course and value the teacher’s as well as your peers’ time. The perspective that each student brings to class will both reinforce self esteem and build academic confidence in their fellow classmates. 


Create a Designated Workspace and Routine

by Elizabeth Rosen, Skills and Academic Support Teacher



Having a designated space for schoolwork, whether it be a desk or table, will be effective, as it will provide as your at-home classroom. A routine is also important for students to manage time efficiently. At the beginning of the week, block out manageable chunks of time that will allow you to complete specific assignments daily.

Pro Tip: Download Ms. Rosen's Organizational Planners and Guidelines.


Make A Schedule In Real-Time

by Bekah LaCoste, Skills and Academic Support Teacher and Theatre Program Director

Having trouble remembering every detail of an assignment? Don’t worry! Mrs. LaCoste has a strategy that will keep you organized in and outside of the classroom. Watch the fun video she put together here for CH-CH students:



Start the Day Off Right

By Sarah Orban, Skills and Academic Support Teacher and Science Teacher



Although it may sound cliche, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast has a positive effect on cognitive performance, particularly in the domains of memory and attention. Allowing yourself time in the morning to “wake up” and eat a healthy breakfast may be easier said than done, but once you get into the routine chances are you will find yourself more attentive and engaged in classes.

Pro Tip: Read Mrs. Orban's Complete Guide To Boosting Academic Performance with Exercise and Nutrition


Finally, the number one tip our Skills and Academic Support faculty have for thriving in distance learning:

Charge Your Devices!

SAS Tip of the Week 4 - for a SUNDAY Night

Just like you, devices work best each morning after a full night of recharging!


This article was written by the Skills and Academic Support Department Faculty. Learn more about the SAS Program at CH-CH.

Topics: Student Wellness, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, Student Skill Building, Caring Community, Study Guide and Strategies, Healthy Eating at School

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