Teachers finding ways to connect via Zoom

Belmont Elementary School first-grade teacher Hailey Greene stood in front of her 23 students and pulled out a small marker board, ready to dive into the day’s next lesson.

But there was one more thing to do before she started sounding out words and letters. 

“Friends on Zoom, Ms. Greene is going to move you right up close so you can see my letters,” said the first-year teacher as she looked down at the seven students staring back at her on an iPad.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 26, there were 8,927 students who had opted for 100 percent remote learning, or 22 percent of all LPS students. 

Greene is one of thousands of Lincoln Public Schools teachers adjusting to teaching classes filled with both in-class and online students. Greene and Belmont third-grade teacher Samantha Baker both described it as a juggling act - but, like juggling, it’s slowly getting easier with practice.

“Overall it definitely gets better every day,” said Baker, in her fourth year at Belmont. “I would say the kids are getting more used to it. I think it’s just a matter of getting into that routine of school the same way kids have done when they’re in person.”

Said Greene: “My first-grade kiddos on remote learning are doing an amazing job. They answer my questions when I call on them. When we do math routines and we're counting with our fingers, they all have their fingers up in the air. They show me their marker boards every time I ask them to write our high frequency words.”

Baker said it was helpful that LPS delayed remote learning until the fourth day of elementary school. This allowed her to establish routines with her in-class students.

“Now they can be more independent when I need to focus on my Zoom students,” she said.

Both teachers not only make sure their Zoom students are learning the material, but that they feel like a part of the class.

“Anytime during the day when I can turn that camera around and they can see their friends in the classroom is a good thing,” Greene said.

Connecting with students through remote learning was a challenge during the fourth quarter last school year, Baker said. That’s improved this year, thanks to synchronous learning and the use of Zoom.  

“Whether they're in person or in class, I still feel like I'm seeing them every day and I'm teaching them every day. They're learning every day.”

Published: August 26, 2020, Updated: August 26, 2020