HALLSVILLE, Mo. (KMIZ)
Hallsville School District is focusing on flexible learning opportunities, authentic experiences at home and sustaining high-quality teacher-student relationships while schools are closed because of COVID-19.
Hallsville teachers said remote learning has been an adjustment and a bit of a struggle at times, but students are adapting to the changes well.
Rachel Sides, a Hallsville’s seventh-grade social studies teacher, said she’s proud of her students as the majority of them are still engaged.
“Maybe it's because it gives them an outlet,” Sides said. “It makes them connected and allows them to communicate with us. In middle school, they're also very honest and so they let me know if something is hard or if they can't find something, and so I think some of those kids who we didn't normally get to reach maybe as well in the classroom because they're quieter are able to connect with us a little bit more.”
Sides said the district understands that might be only one device at home that parents working remotely have to use as well, so sharing devices may affect when assignments are turned in.
“I know some of our kids also do a lot of their work in the evening,” said Sides. “Because there may be one device at home, and parents are working remotely as well and so they have to share the devices. Sometimes I get assignments turned in at one o'clock in the morning and things like that, so those challenges as far as what the kids are dealing with on a day to day basis is something that while we think we may know, we don't always know.”
Sides said she has focused on continuing to keep her students engaged as it can be a monotonous time of logging on the computer every day.
Lauren Lloyd, a Hallsville High School English teacher, said her students have been giving thoughtful responses during their remote learning.
“I've been very impressed with the work that they're doing,” Lloyd. “And it's a little bit hard to not be right next to them, as they're working, but with Google Classroom I have the ability to comment on all their work. And so I'm still going into each section and giving them feedback to continue to boost their spirits and let them know that they're doing a good job.”
Lloyd’s class is reading "Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah and she believes it gives her students a chance to escape into another world. The book is a memoir of a boy soldier.
Tricia Williams, a Hallsville third grade teacher, said her students started off with packets but she adjusted to better fit her students' needs.
The packets became overwhelming for some students, she said.
Williams said third-grade learning is focused on a lot of basic reading, comprehension and some writing skills. Math involves basic multiplication, division and some fractions. The third-grade teachers are sending parents home with many online resources and games that can help students.
Williams said whether classes are held in person or remotely there are concerns about students who are not ready for the next grade level.
Leigh Pemberton, a Hallsville kindergarten teacher, said the most difficult part of remote learning for her students has been finding things that allow them to work with their hands at home and parents taking on a lot of the teaching responsibilities.
“Kindergarteners are very hands-on,” said Pemberton. “All the kids primarily have to have things to manipulate and work with. So that's definitely made it more difficult. In kindergarten, you can't walk away from the kids, because once you move away, they're done for a little bit so it has really put a lot more pressure on the parents at home."
Pemberton said it is hard as parents are also at home trying to work or still out working.
"Kindergarteners have to have the parents or the brother and sister or the grandma or aunt, uncle whoever it is next to them for them to complete any of the activities we try,” Pemberton said.
Pemberton said kindergarten teachers have online video classes with students
Pemberton said that this is the first time as a kindergarten team that the learning has taken somewhat of a step back.
“We’ve really been focused on what are the essential things they have to get for first grade,” Pemberton said.