Dawson Springs teachers, staff and students gathered together Thursday night in a virtual setting.
First-grade instructional aide Sydney Menser, who is also a college student, organized the meeting as a way to see each other and to teach the students and teachers about Zoom, a video conference call application.
“... We just haven’t been able to see our students and I wanted to see them,” Menser said. She added that it is a cool, new way for Dawson Springs people to communicate.
After having school called off to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) starting Monday, students have been working at their homes with help from parents, guardians, older siblings or other relatives or loved ones. Teachers have been communicating around the clock with adults connected to the students.
But what’s been missing is communication between the teachers and students themselves.
Some teachers took to Facebook, YouTube or various classroom applications to connect directly to the students.
Preschool teacher Kammie King has made a video each day to help students and parents complete the nontraditional instructional materials sent home with the students. Dawson Springs Independent Schools is one of several districts to apply for an emergency waiver to use the NTI days so the days away from the classroom won’t have to be made up later.
In King’s video, she greets the students and introduces a letter of the day. She practices the letter’s sound and shape. King also gives any additional instructions the parents need to know.
Second-grade teacher Lauren Hibbs reads a chapter a day of “Charlotte’s Web” on Facebook. Her homeroom class has been reading the book.
Shelby Johnson, a third-grade teacher, has read two books so far on her channel on YouTube.
Older students use Snapchat or text messaging for group chats with classmates and teachers.
Kim Menser, a middle school science teacher, said teachers are available to speak to the kids at any time of day through many apps, such as Remind, Google Classroom, Messenger and email.
“I don’t mind actually,” she said. “(I) miss the kids so much.”
Ashley McKnight, a special education teacher, took a video of a grocery shopping trip she took with aide Jackie Gordon. She sent the video to the students, who would post the amount of money spent on specific items.