Full-Time Online Learning for Elementary Students
As part of the CBe-learn Full-Time Online Learning program, CBe-learn offers a full elementary school program. With a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, the program provides instruction and support in learning across the full Alberta Education Programs of Study for Grades 1 to 6.
Visit Alberta Education's My Child's Learning: A Parent Resource for more information.
Students will have a home room teacher, who guides most of the student’s learning. Students acquire knowledge and develop skills as they interact with their teachers and content through Google Classroom. Students will engage with a range of technologies and traditional tools to support learning. Teachers will guide students and their caregivers as they explore new tools.
Each elementary student is required to commit to learning activities that account for approximately 20 hours per week. This includes time for both live (synchronous) learning as well time to read instructions, complete assignments, watch recorded videos, etc.
Social Studies, Math, Art, Health and Life, English Language Arts, Music, Science, Physical Education
Essential Components of the CBe-learn Elementary Online Program
Three essential components are described in the sections below: Synchronous Instruction, Asynchronous Instruction, and Home Support.
- During synchronous instruction, students interact in real time with their teacher and peers as they explore content, develop skills, and demonstrate their current understanding. This includes video conferencing via Google Meet.
- Synchronous sessions allow teachers to gauge and guide learning.
- Real-time online learning is scheduled by the teacher during regular school hours. The schedule may change from week to week to best serve student learning. Teachers will post the schedule in advance.
- Students must be available for these sessions. They are not recorded for future access.
- Each student should meet with their teacher a minimum of 8 sessions per regular school week. The duration of these meetings will vary pending the number of session participants, the current curricular goals and the specific learner needs.
Asynchronous instruction includes the use of video and audio recordings, visuals and written texts. There is flexibility within teacher-suggested timelines as to when learners and their families access asynchronous materials. A learner and their coach may access asynchronous materials as many times as needed to support the introduction of concepts and the review of learning.
Asynchronous learning is planned to work alongside and interweave with synchronous learning. Student success in synchronous sessions is supported by the completion of asynchronous tasks.
Although there may be some flexibility on some asynchronous tasks, most asynchronous learning also occurs within the regular school day. This is essential given the relationship between synchronous and asynchronous learning.
- Students practice and show their learning when completing assigned learning tasks.
- Learning tasks may differ from the work of students in in-person learning classrooms. However, tasks will address the same learning outcomes.
- Students come to synchronous sessions prepared to discuss and show their asynchronous work.
Asynchronous Interaction with the Teacher
- Students and families review and respond to teacher-provided feedback that guides learning.
- Teachers and peers may interact through discussion boards and other asynchronous tasks to support learning.
Support at home is essential for student success in Grades 1-6. Parents should consider the learning needs of their child, as well as the availability of adult support (caregiver) within the school day, in determining a child’s suitability for online learning.
A caregiver acts as a learning coach to help the student develop positive learner habits and academic skills. In addition to planning for the exploration of curriculum, teachers also guide caregivers as effective learning coaches. Learning-focused communication between teacher and learning coach is key.
- Like students who attend school in person, online learners benefit from having ‘getting ready for learning’ routines in the home.
- Young learners may especially need support in accessing learning and submitting assignments.
- Elementary students will need support during the regular school day. Younger learners require learning support before and between synchronous sessions.
- The type and level of learning support offered should be discussed with the teacher.
- At times the teacher will ask the student to independently complete work at home without support. Allowing the child to show what they can do without support is important, as it allows the teacher to plan for the student's next steps in learning. Students and their families are encouraged to see mistakes as important for learning.
- Successful online learners need access to a quiet work space that is free from distraction. Headphones with a microphone may be required.
Please carefully review Parents, Teacher and Student: the Elementary Learning Team.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time will the student spend in live sessions with a teacher? Learning is measured in relation to learning outcomes, not time. Each student will receive a minimum of 8 synchronous sessions (varying in length) in a regular 5-day school week.
Why isn’t the minimum number of live session hours higher? Teachers are encouraged to plan interactive sessions that allow teachers to observe and listen to each student. An effective way to achieve this is in the planning of small group sessions. In such sessions, students will spend less time waiting for their turn to participate. If the minimum hours are higher for all students, teachers will need to rely on scheduling only large group sessions. Such schedules would require students to spend a lot of time on the screen including time spent in less effective lessons.
Why might the live session schedule change from week to week? Teachers plan according to current learning outcomes and the current and specific needs of their students. As these change over time, teachers and families must also be open to changing schedules. Such flexibility is one advantage of online learning.
How much time will the student spend working outside of online meetings? Outside of online meetings, learners can expect to spend up to 3 hours per day reviewing posted learning materials, participating in online discussions, and completing assignments. Assignments include those assigned as routine learning activities and those guided by choice boards. The amount of time spent each day on these tasks will be different for each student. This will also be different day-to-day.
Is attendance at real-time virtual sessions with the teacher mandatory? Attendance is expected at scheduled real-time virtual sessions. Students will be marked absent if they do not attend these sessions.
If the student is unable to attend a real-time session, the parent/legal guardian contacts the child’s school. (An email to the teacher would also be appropriate. However, an email to the teacher does not replace the need for the parent/legal guardian to contact the school.)
If needed, the teacher and school will work with the family to improve attendance habits. Legal processes in place regarding attendance will be followed as required.
The teacher may offer optional drop-in sessions for students who may wish to access additional support. Although attendance is noted for these sessions, it is not mandatory. The student is expected to login to any session scheduled in advance between the teacher and student.
Is the completion of independent assignments required? All learning tasks are designed to support student learning. Completion of all tasks, including those that will not be submitted, is expected. If a parent/legal guardian believes a child already knows and can do what the assignment is asking, they should encourage their child to complete the task independently. Upon doing so, the child should indicate that the task was done without support. Once the teacher is confident that learning outcomes have been achieved, future assignments practicing the same outcomes may be optional. The parent/legal guardian is encouraged to communicate with the teacher if they have questions about this.
Will students receive feedback on all assignments? No. Just like in in-person learning, many tasks are assigned for practice and enrichment purposes. During synchronous (live) sessions students talk about and show what they have learned by doing asynchronous tasks. School administration encourages teachers to request that some asynchronous tasks are turned in. Teachers review the turned in assignments to determine next instructional steps and identify any struggles students are experiencing. Sometimes the teacher may provide detailed feedback that guides student learning. However, often the teacher will simply review all assignments quickly as a means to determine what content needs to be covered in upcoming synchronous sessions. For example, the teacher might decide to schedule small group sessions according to the type of coaching that groups of students need. We ask that parents encourage students to 1) complete all assigned tasks (practice is essential for learning), 2) turn-in only the assignments that teachers request be submitted, 3) carefully review any of the detailed feedback that is provided asynchronously and 4) remind students that all assignments are important for learning, but that not all assignments will receive asynchronous feedback and 5) be prepared to show or talk about what has been learned as a result of asynchronous task completion.
Can the daytime caregiver join live sessions? No. Just like a face-to-face classroom, the teacher is the only adult regularly present in live sessions. Other adults may be scheduled by the teacher to join real-time sessions; such guests could include invited experts and CBE staff. Parents/legal guardians/daytime caregivers should not be heard or seen during live sessions unless invited as a guest for a specific purpose.
Why are a camera and microphone required? Teachers are expected to form a connection with students, build a classroom community, and monitor student learning. Being able to see and hear young learners is critical in achieving each of these.
What if there is a special circumstance which prevents a student from using a camera or microphone? Such circumstances should be discussed with the teacher or the child’s school.
What if it is difficult to eliminate background noise in the home during online live sessions? Headphones with a microphone are recommended in such cases.
What is the best way for parents/legal guardians to communicate with the teacher? Communication with the teacher is through email unless a meeting is scheduled outside of learning time. While communication to support learning is necessary, it must not take from the time the teacher spends with students.
What kind of support should be offered at home? It is essential that the adult(s) in the home help the student organize and follow through on learning routines. It is reasonable to expect that younger learners will need help understanding instructions provided in Google Classroom. Sometimes the daytime caregiver will be asked to support the student in completing a task. The teacher should be informed about the support the child receives when completing assignments at home. Please carefully review Parents, Teacher and Student: the Elementary Learning Team..
What if the student does not understand what to do? The student should first review instructions and supporting materials posted in Google Classroom. If the student still has questions, they can ask someone in the home to help them understand what to do. If the student is still unsure, they should be encouraged to ask the teacher during or at the end of a real-time virtual session. If offered in the daily schedule, the student should be encouraged to attend a real-time task support drop-in session with the teacher. The student/parent/legal guardian can also email the teacher to either ask a simple question or request a real-time virtual opportunity for the student to meet with the teacher.
Are there times when an adult should not be helping the student? Yes. Sometimes the student will be asked to complete a task independently at home. It is important that the child demonstrates what they can do without any adult support on these tasks. Other than helping the child understand what to do, adults should not help with these independent tasks. If this seems unreasonable, the parent/legal guardian should discuss with the teacher.
Where can the student/family access technology support? As much as possible, teacher time should be reserved for instruction and learning support. CBE.ab.ca site includes links to instructional videos for technology tools and resources to support digital citizenship. The CBE site also links to the Technology Support for Students & Parents page. Students and families are encouraged to first access these resources. If needed, further assistance will then be provided by your child’s teacher or CBe-learn.
Can the teacher share student information to help in the planning of external social events? No. Teachers cannot share student information for any reason.
Please use the Questions for CBe-learn Elementary online form to submit any questions that are not currently answered in the FAQ section above.
Additional Information for Families
Please indicate your interest in virtually volunteering in Grades 1-6 at CBe-learn via this Volunteer Expression of Interest Form.
Kindly ensure that your child has access to the supplies in the grade appropriate list linked below.
Grade 1 Supply List
Grade 2 Supply List
Grade 3 Supply List
Grade 4, 5 & 6 Supply List
Please also consider how you might help your child organize their school work at home. For example, bins, binders, duotangs or clipboards may be helpful. A wall or desk calendar is also recommended.
If your child has the general supplies listed above at home, there is no need to make additional purchases. While there are many places from which you may purchase required supplies, families may find it convenient to access the CBe-learn list and take advantage of the delivery service provided through Write-On Stationary. (This service will become active in July.) Other example vendors include dollar stores, Walmart, Staples and Grand & Toy.
The vendors provided above are listed as examples for convenience only. CBE has no financial interest in purchases made by parents or students at the above-listed vendors, Parents and students are free to purchase appropriate supplies from any vendor they choose.