Henrico, Va. April 17, 2020 — Even though its 72 schools and program centers are closed to combat the spread of coronavirus, Henrico County Public Schools continues to provide families with distance learning options through its new “Henrico Edflix” learning plan. While the plan’s name and logo are a take on the popular streaming service, “Edflix” isn’t primarily video content (although HCPS-produced instructional videos will begin to be added soon). Instead, Henrico Edflix includes a colorful online interface that allows students to pick and choose within “seasons” of learning content and engage with on-demand material.
HCPS teachers are using Henrico Edflix remotely to work hand in hand with their classes through targeted review, enrichment and application of key content and skills. However, one of the strengths of “Edflix” is its flexibility. The various on-demand materials can be used at times (and at a pace) that work for the unusual schedules families are adopting during the closure. HCPS teachers are striving to be proactive, responsive and available to work with students in the ways they need.
While Henrico Edflix’ Season 1 consisted of the materials students received March 13 at the start of the school division’s closure, Season 2 debuted this week and runs through June 12. Called “LifeReady On-Demand Learning,” the season includes material for students in all grades and learning levels, including students enrolled in exceptional education programs. Season 2 is focused on HCPS’ Henrico Learner Profile, the school division’s blueprint for the skills, knowledge and qualities students will need to thrive in a diverse, interconnected world.
How does Henrico Edflix work? Students go to the school division’s virtual learning website, http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/hlp/virtual-learning/. After clicking “Get Started,” they choose their grade level from a Netflix-style icon screen that asks, “Who’s watching Edflix?”
Season 2 asks students of all elementary grades to use curated online resources to research a famous global citizen and create ways to share information about that person with others. Additionally, Edflix offers students a wide variety of grade-appropriate learning options across subject areas. All materials can be easily printed and used offline if desired. Among the many options available to students are:
- Preschool students can go on an alphabet “letter hunt” in magazines and books, study the many shapes of objects in a typical recycling bin, or practice fine-motor skills by making “noodle jewelry” or using tweezers, tongs and clothespins to move small objects.
- Kindergarten and first-graders can choose to make a 20-item museum, create an acrostic poem or calm difficult emotions while observing an aquarium cam.
- Second- and third-graders can compare and contrast land and water ecosystems, play a card game to compare three-digit numbers or create art like illustrator Eric Carle.
- Fourth- and fifth-graders can choose to record, graph and analyze local weather, use dice to craft a fitness plan or learn about author Kate DiCamillo and read one of her books in digital form.
Activities and episode “time slots” differ for students in grades 6-12 because they are using HCPS’ learning platform, “Schoology” on HCPS-issued laptops. Students with disabilities are getting accessible virtual lessons from their exceptional education teachers, while students with disabilities moving forward in high school credit courses continue to receive support from their special education teachers and case managers.