Distance Learning and COVID-19: Schedule the Day

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down as the world moves to distance learning. Children have a hard time understanding why they can’t go to school. Teachers and parents aren’t sure how to fill the day. Students need down time to self-soothe and to deal with anxiety related to the corona virus. They also need structure to ward off boredom and to feel a sense of accomplishment and independence.

Distance learning has a different rhythm and needs its own schedule. Distance learning needs structure, but with flexibility. To help parents, teachers and students keep a balance between structure and flexibility, Smart Steps Mobile has two new decision trees: “My Day M-F” and “Chores”. Decision trees have an added advantage of building independence while easing the stress of distance learning.


New Decision Tree for Distance Learning:

Schedule: “My Day M-F”

Home screen with new decision tree for schedule
Decision Tree for Schedule: My Day M-F

The first new decision tree, “My Day M-F” offers categories for a distance learning instructional day that has flexibility. At first glance, it made sense to build a schedule by hour or two-hour blocks. Because the timeframe varies with different ages, a category approach seemed better.

This decision tree allows your child (or adult) the flexibility to choose what they want to do and in what order.They might be a morning person or a night person and choose certain categories based on their own biorhythm. It’s possible that they want to have a snack, shower and dress in the middle of the day as a break.

Add in your own expectations for this distance learning schedule. As a teacher or parent, you might want them to do a particular category first thing in the morning. Do you want them to include every category, every day, or do you want to allow extended periods and cover each category every two days? It’s up to you.

If you’d like to edit the content, use the Decision Tree Builder tab in the web portal.

New Decision Tree:


Chores Decision Tree for Distance Learning
Distance Learning: Chores Decision Tree

Have you found that spending more time at home means more clutter? One of the categories in the “My Day M-F” decision tree includes doing chores. It’s a great way to build in a break that includes movement, that provides practice with adulting skills, and that helps keep your home picked up.

To structure chore time, the second of the new decision trees is called “Chores”. Most of the task lists are categorized by location: bedroom, bathroom, living area, kitchen, outside. Laundry is also a choice.

Now parents can ask their child to clean up their room using the list of steps in the Chores decision tree, lessening the amount of prompting and increasing independence. Distance learning has its advantages!


Important Step:

Add New Decision Trees So That They Show Up in the App

If you are an existing account holder, the two new decision trees will not automatically appear in your Smart Steps Mobile app. See the green bubbles in the illustration below. To make the new decision trees appear, take the following easy steps:

  1. Log into your account on the web portal. Click on the “My Account” tab.
  2. To have the first decision tree show up, check the empty box in front of “Chores”.
  3. Use the scroll bar (it’s there on the side) to see the entire list of trees. Find the second tree, “My Day M-F”, and check that empty box, too.
  4. Log into the Smart Steps Mobile app and press the “Refresh” button in the upper left-hand corner (see app screen above). Any time a decision tree is edited through the web portal, use the Refresh button to update the app.
Choose decision trees by checking the empty boxes.
It’s easy to select and unselect decision trees.

Some decision trees are employment-related, which teachers and speech language clinicians find useful for social skills practice and role playing. If you see some trees that you don’t need right now, uncheck those boxes, and those decision trees will not show up in the app. If you decide that you want them later, return to the “My Account” tab and recheck the box. It’s that easy.

COVID-19 will be around for awhile. Keeping kids productive by giving them tasks while offering choices will help everyone feel less stressed. Let Smart Steps know what else you’d like to see in the app by emailing connect@smartsteps4me.com.

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