With the impacts of COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the United States, we wanted to share some of the creative ways educators are engaging and supporting students during the coronavirus school closures. This week, many K12 schools extended their closures through May, while others announced they would not reopen until the Fall. And of course, teachers—being the incredible, selfless, creative bunch that they are—have stepped in and found ways to continue supporting student learning and growth even if it’s not in the classroom. We scoured social media to find some of the best examples of educators engaging with their students during this difficult time.
Many teachers form a bond with their students that goes beyond academics. During this challenging time, students, teachers (and parents!) are missing the daily interaction with one another. Enter neighborhood parades. Many school systems have organized car parades through the neighborhoods they serve as a way to see their students and families and brighten their days. They are using social media to spread the word about the parades, like the post from Rea View Elementary in the Union County Public School district in NC. If this parade for elementary students doesn’t warm your heart, we don’t know what will.
Virtual Spirit Week
Another way teachers are helping students stay engaged and entertained during quarantine is through virtual spirit weeks. Just like traditional spirit weeks, each day carries a different theme: silly sock day, pajama day, superhero day, school spirit day and so on. Check out #virtualspiritweek on Twitter to see how kids and teachers are having funn
Zoom, the videoconferencing app, has seen a surge in popularity since coronavirus-mandated quarantines. Much like Facetime or other video chat apps, Zoom allows videoconferencing, but for large groups. We’ve seen so many different and creative applications of teachers using Zoom, but one of our favorites was a 7th grade teacher who gave her students a writing prompt, “what are your biggest concerns related to the coronavirus?” Students were given time to complete the prompt and then the class met via Zoom to discuss their concerns. Look at this girl’s smile while video chatting with her teacher!
Drive-Thru Food Distribution
When schools first announced closures, one of the biggest concerns universally was how students who rely on free or reduced lunch would have access to food. School districts across the nation set up food distribution sites for anyone who needs food during this time. Many restaurants even stepped in with food distribution plans of their own. In such confusing and challenging times, it’s always refreshing to see people joining together for those in need!
Online Lesson Plans & Lessons
Many teachers are providing digital versions of lesson plans and even lessons for parents to help keep their child’s learning on track. In the example here, Mrs. Lindstrom, a 5th grade teacher with Fairview Elementary School in Ohio shares her mini lessons for ELA.
Online Learning & Digital Resources
Nearly every school has embraced online learning by sharing learning resources, applications and technology with families. Montgomery County Public Schools in Alabama is doing an excellent job at making sure these resources are easily accessible for students. Between the resources made available on the district’s website and the district’s innovative educators who are finding ways to connect with students and create innovative learning experiences, MPS is paving the way for online learning.
At-Home Activity Ideas
When full lessons aren’t feasible, parents and kids can try learning-based or other educational activities. They seem to be in abundance on social media, but we particularly liked Emma Bothma’s daily science activities. Bothman is a UK-based science teacher and is sharing a hands-on science learning activity each day. Get experimenting, kids!
Group Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are a great way to keep students busy and creative! They are also a great way to keep little brains stimulated and even learn new skills! In this example, Ms. Levinson, an elementary school teacher with Baldwin Union Free School District in New York, had her students find objects around their home that began with the same letters that spell out their school name. How fun!
Getting outside and burning off energy during quarantine is arguably one of the most beneficial things kids (and adults!) can do. But your typical squats and jumping jacks get boring! That’s why Julie Braden, a Virginia-based physical education teacher, is sharing family-friendly fitness ideas on her Twitter page. We love this fitness edition of Chutes and Ladders she shared! Check out her page for even more creative ways to stay fit and healthy during quarantine.
School closures are bringing to light the fact that not all students have access to technology in their homes, and educators are doing their best to remedy that. We’ve seen districts with Chromebook distributions, often times done in conjunction with food and meal distributions. Guilford County Schools in North Carolina did a great job pooling resources to make technology access more equitable for all students. Great job GCPS!
Back in November, before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, we shared a blog post entitled “10 Reasons We Are Thankful for Educators.” Now, more than ever before, we are reminded of just how innovative and caring teachers are. Thank you to all the educators who have stepped in to support learning and ensure students can maintain a sense of normalcy amidst a global pandemic and stressful time. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!