Returning to Fall Learning with Course Packs

 In Product Info

As many of our community partners return to school in the fall they won’t be coming back to the same classrooms that they left in March. While the physical schools and the classrooms haven’t changed, how these spaces will be set-up and used will change greatly. Teachers will need to adhere to social distancing, keeping students at a 2-metre distance at all times. Both students and teachers will need to wash their hands upon entering the school and upon leaving. Some may opt to wear a mask in the classroom or others may don personal protective equipment. 

Applying social distancing in remote schools may be even more of a challenge. In many cases, the schools are small, short on space, and don’t have enough teachers to maintain the recommended maximum class sizes. For Northern or remote schools, finding great teachers can be difficult at the best of times, but recruiting for these roles during a pandemic may be more of a challenge. 

Looking beyond all the safety equipment and new policies, there will also be a shift in how and where students learn. When COVID-19 struck us at the beginning of this year, we needed to close schools and enforce social distancing quickly to stop the spread of the virus. What became clear was that many schools were not prepared to support their students or their teachers in a fully remote model. Students were not equipped with the hardware, connectivity, or print materials for completing their school work. Teachers were not accustomed to preparing and delivering work packages and hosting remote sessions with their students by phone or over the Internet. Parents were not accustomed to playing the role of teaching assistant to ensure their children stayed on task and worked on their assignments. 

Some schools were better prepared for this and some teachers dove into this new world of instruction, embracing the opportunity to shake up what they were teaching and how they engaged with their students. Teachers picked up the phone, did drive-by drop-offs of work to students’ front doors, spent time on video chats with their classes, and responded to questions by text message. Some even took active roles in the community response to COVID-19, coordinating meals for Elders, and shoring up food supplies for the community. 

But how will this all play out in the fall when school is expected to return? Without added spaces, teachers may need to get creative in how they teach and how they use their classroom spaces. Teachers, particularly those in First Nations communities, may need to think of school in a different way. This may mean teaching in shifts, with some students attending school in the mornings, and others in the afternoons. Or students may be grouped and assigned different days to attend school physically while working on assignments and projects at home on other days. This may mean that more work gets assigned to be completed during non-class time.

It is also clear that all schools must be better equipped with a plan to easily shift to 100% remote should the need arise. Schools should be able to “flip a switch” and continue their instruction in a fully remote scenario. This way, should we see a sudden swell in cases in a particular area or experience a second wave, students can still continue learning at home. 

Learning Bird has been busy brainstorming how we can help teachers get ready for this shift. We’ve been talking with principals about their plans and have added a new type of resource to our offerings to fill the emerging need for at-home learning. 

We now offer custom Course Packs that teachers can use to assign activities to students in grades 6-8. These Course Packs will include at-home projects and assignments that most students can complete on their own during a week, without parental supervision or guidance. They will use a cross-curricular approach to learning that ties in local language and culture. Each course pack is fully print-based, so access to the Internet, or a device (tablet/Chromebook), is not required. The Course Pack is designed around a theme and the individual activities are stand-alone projects or assignments, meaning that teachers can easily curate the Course Pack to meet their students’ needs.  

We will be pairing these new Course Packs up with a custom professional development session that will be offered to teachers via video conference. This session will focus on how to effectively teach in a hybrid model, as well as how to use the Learning Bird Course Packs as part of their overall instruction plan. We will also offer an optional midterm remote coaching session to teachers so they can share their experiences and work with our team to troubleshoot any issues that are happening and brainstorm on how to improve instruction. 

If you would like to discuss whether custom Learning Bird Course Packs would work for your school, contact us by phone (1-888-844-9022 ext. 808) or by email

course packs for at home learning