Throughout Woodland Public Schools, teachers and parents have been working together during the statewide school closure to ensure students learn remotely. However, the emotional impacts of not seeing classmates and friends can have negative effects on children’s ability to stay attentive or positive. In order to combat these effects of staying isolated, teachers and parents throughout the district have found ways to continue making vital social connections during closures.
At North Fork Elementary School, teachers use Google Classroom to hold class sessions and engage with their students.
“I read stories to my students and then the students take the opportunity to share one thing they like about learning from home,” said Amy Craig, a first- and second-grade teacher at North Fork. “Students are always excited to see each other and kept waving at each other.”
At Woodland Middle School, teachers use video communication to introduce different elements into their sessions to keep students engaged and feeling social. Kelly Beasley, a pre-algebra and physical education teacher, invites students to have themed days such as “hat day” and “bring your pet to class day.”
“We had 18 kids participate in the video class along with a bunch of dogs, five kittens, two pigs and a giant teddy bear,” Kelly said. “The kids really miss the social piece of school and I’ve had parents tell me these video meetings are the highlight of their kids’ weeks.”
Elizabeth “Liz” Vallaire, a math and science teacher at TEAM High School, uses videos so her two children, Harper and Zoey, can connect with their teachers every Wednesday. “The girls’ teachers give me advice on what subjects I can work on next with them,” Vallaire said. “However, the girls especially love sharing what’s going on in their lives with their teachers.”
Angie Plocharsky, a Woodland parent, appreciates the technological resources provided by the district and how she can keep her children working on their studies.
“We are able to use the two Chromebooks our school loaned us to keep the kids engaged in learning,” Plocharsky said. “Our teachers have done a great job of explaining how to access Google Classroom for learning.”