Monday, March 30th, 2020

Hunker down and do homework

Some teachers are recording videos

By Leslie Gartrell

Aiden Snyder, 2, sits at the kitchen table and colors as his sister, Ella, and b. . .

Teachers, parents and students are cooperating as schools have students learn from home.
Schools have been closed since Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that all public, community and private K-12 schools close at the end of the school day March 16 and remain closed through at least April 3. The order stipulated that during the closure, teachers should educate through alternative means.
Local educators have employed tools such as online education and "blizzard bags," a way for students to complete work at home, Celina City Schools superintendent Ken Schmiesing has said. The bags are usually used by students without internet access at home, Schmiesing noted, and students receive packets of work to complete.
Some teachers have taken to recording videos of their lessons or holding video chats to answer student's questions. Tim Brunet, a Coldwater High School math teacher, has been recording his lessons through his Smartboard, an interactive whiteboard. Students can follow along as he writes equations and lessons and listen as he explains solutions.
Katie Noonan, a Coldwater High School junior, said she found the lessons helpful and was able to follow along reasonably well. The first week of at-home schooling was difficult because teachers were still working out the kinks of how much work to assign, she said. The second week had been much better, Noonan noted, and said she has been able to keep up with her work.
Noonan, who is also a Tri Star med prep student, said her teacher has had live chats with students at 8:30 a.m., the same time they would usually attend that class. She and her classmates joined group chats for different classes to ask questions or catch up with each other.
Mom Peg Noonan said her daughter has been keeping up with the work and has been sticking to her usual school schedule. She said Katie usually begins work in the morning and is usually done by lunchtime.
Parents, teachers and students said one of the hardest aspects of working from home is the lack of accessibility. Students can ask as many questions at they'd like in a traditional classroom. Brunet said he has to keep up with emails from students who need their questions answered.
"It's a learning curve for everybody, teachers and students," Peg Noonan said.
Cindy Wolfe, Coldwater, has children in fourth and first grade. While Wolfe said her position at New Wave Technology in Coldwater was considered essential, she chose to take leave from work to watch the kids and help them with schoolwork. With husband Luke working third shift at the Coldwater Police Department, she felt it was the best option for their family.
The mother said as a parent she wished she had more direction from teachers on how to best help her kids learn. However, she said she understands this is a difficult time for everyone.
"This is stressful for everybody," Wolfe said. "This is a whole new ball game."
Wolfe said while she doesn't get her kids up as early as they normally would, she still tries to keep their schedule similar to the one when they're in school. The kids work on worksheets and other lessons from the blizzard bags in the morning and then work on their Chromebooks and online tools in the afternoon.
"We keep them engaged daily and try to be creative when we can," she said.
The mom said her kids keep a daily journal in which they look outside and try to identify plants they see and observe nature. She suspects the kids don't listen to her as well as they would to their teachers but said she's trying her best. She noted she's had to brush up on some skills she hasn't used for a while but said learning at home is all for the best.
"The wellness of your family is more important," Wolfe said.
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