Area schools find interesting ways to teach students

Published 6:40 pm Friday, April 17, 2020

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Schools throughout the Miss-Lou have found unique ways to stay in contact with students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The innovations are out of necessity due to shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders and schools are holding online classes and activities online to help curtail the spread of the new coronavirus.

Kim Bass, an Adams County Christian School preschool director, found a way to engage students beyond just conducting classes by holding a staycation event and a spirit week all online.

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The staycation allowed preschoolers and their families to visit a place a day virtually online.

The spirit week encouraged students to dress up in different themes each day of the week.

“The elementary school principal and I tried to coordinate ideas and plan together,” Bass said. “We were trying to think of things to encourage school spirit and keep the students’ spirits lifted because of such an uncertain time. They need a little bit of fun, and we did that so they can also see their friends participating.”

Ira Sewell, the mother of an ACCS preschool student, said she is impressed with the ideas Bass has come up with to keep the students engaged.

“They were innovative to the effect that even though my child is in this situation where he’s sad he’s not going to see his teachers and interact with his peers, it still keeps him happy that he can speak with them through other measures,” Sewell said. “His teacher has sent him several videos. The teachers have done everything humanly possible to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

During one of the staycations, ACCS families and their children were given opportunities to visit places throughout the week from their homes.

One of the places was Walt Disney World. Sewell dressed her son, Korey Sewell, in a Mickey Mouse costume, which she used as a way to teach her son about Walt Disney.

“In the staycation, we had different opportunities to explore other parts of the world, like if we were on vacation,” Sewell said. “It was an awesome learning experience.”

Cathedral High School administrators and faculty members have stayed in contact with students by sharing online videos of a selected teacher reading the Pledge of Allegiance and devotional.

The videos are uploaded to Cathedral High School’s Facebook page from Monday through Friday.

The idea about the videos came from Amanda Wilson, a fourth-grade teacher at Cathedral.

“I wanted to find a way that we can still connect with our Cathedral family and just let them know we’re still thinking about them even though we couldn’t physically be there with them each day,” Wilson said. “I know a lot of people are active on social media. It’s just one outlet that we could use to our advantage to still connect with our students and their parents.”

At the end of each video, whoever is leading the Pledge of Allegiance and devotional announces the theme of the day for the spirit week.

One of the themes during the virtual spirit week was making a puzzle for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

Wilson said the idea for the virtual spirit week came from Paige Iseminger, Fisher Iseminger and the Rev. Mark Shoffner. Wilson said Cathedral students were actively participating online with the virtual spirit week.

Cathedral also is posting a senior of the day on Facebook each day, an idea from the Green Wave development committee.

Concordia Parish

On April 6, Concordia Parish schools provided student resource packets to students who do not have Internet access to pick the packets up at the 11 schools in Concordia Parish.

The 11 schools in Concordia Parish are Concordia Education Center, Concordia Parish Academy of Math Science and Technology, Ferriday High School, Ferriday Jr. High School, Ferriday Upper Elementary, Ferriday Lower Elementary, Monterey High School, Vidalia High School, Vidalia Jr. High School, Vidalia Upper Elementary and Vidalia Lower Elementary.

Leigh Anne Mason teaches eighth grade math at Vidalia Jr. High School. Mason said she is using Zoom to continue to teach her students.

“I have mixed feelings about Zoom,” Mason said. “You can’t actually sit down one-on-one with a student and talk them through a stumbling block. I told them they could email and let me know about questions.”

Monterey High School also provided their students with a virtual spirit week and have posted a senior a day on social media. During Monterey High’s virtual spirit week, one of the days included sending a picture of a Monterey High School student working out at home.

Natchez-Adams schools

Natchez-Adams School District has also stayed in contact with their students.

Zander McDonald, Deputy Superintendent of Natchez-Adams School District, said the teachers and principals of the schools have done a lot of things to keep their students and families involved.

“We have online learning platforms that students are able to access and instructional packets for those that don’t have Internet access,” McDonald said. “We have principals who are creating weekly spirit activities, like Tik Tok Tuesdays and music Mondays. Its an assortment of activities to try and keep everybody engaged and focused on the positive things and not on the chaos.”