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Spotlight: From Costumes to Breakfast to Virtual Storytime: How Local Teachers Are Helping Our Kids

Area teachers are going above and beyond finding new ways (and new platforms) for their students to engage from home.

Chad Davidson is a pre-school through 3rd grade music teacher at Lone Oak Elementary. "Missing the students is the hardest part, along with not being able to put an instrument in the hand of every student," said Davidson.

Before the pandemic, he greeted kids when they got off the bus in the mornings, helped record the morning news program and visited with classes for music instruction. Now his days are different. "When it's my day to work breakfast/lunch delivery, I meet in the cafe at 7:00 a.m., stuff breakfast/lunch bags with the tasty items for the students,” said Davidson. “Then, after the prep time, I get on a bus and deliver meals to students. The afternoon is spent in virtual meetings, planning for what items need to go into the NTI packets for Music, or working on items for when we return to school." 

Calloway County science teacher Scott Pile is connecting his 120 7th graders through phone calls, emails and YouTube. "Before self-distancing, I videotaped myself doing 8-10 minute lessons in my classroom... including costume changes," said Pile.  This time is challenging for Pile because he calls himself an "old-school classroom instruction guy" who loves experiments and whiteboards, but says kids love the videos because it helps them see their familiar classroom environment.

Murray Elementary teacher Nancy Newsome is recording herself reading books to her kindergartners. She's created a large library for kids to choose from on Google Slides. She emails parents daily with information and resources to help them while at home with their child.

"Also, I have been doing Zoom meetings with my students at night,” said Newsome. “I wanted a time that the students were able to be with family and could sit on the couch and chit-chat with their friends,” Newsome continued. “It is very reassuring for them to know that their friends are doing okay, and this has been a wonderful way for the students to see each other and reconnect as members of a classroom community. And I'm lucky that all my students have internet access."

Adam Pitman is an English instructor with a focus in literature at Murray High School. Pitman says, "I am amazed with my peers, but I am even more amazed how seamless this process of going completely remote has been,” said Pitman. “Teachers had a day to set up sites, realign instruction, and consider what would work best for our students."  Pitman says students are having conversations via discussion prompts, Zoom and Google Meet. He says their goal is to keep “social distancing” a matter of proximity and not rapport. "I teach at the high school, have a wife at Head Start/pre-school, have a son in elementary and a daughter in middle,” Pittman said. “We cover every aspect of this (MISD) district and what is consistent in my work is consistent in the entire school system.”

Thank you teachers!

Jenni holds a degree in Music Education from Murray State University and a Masters degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University's College of Music. She's equipped with knowledge and enthusiasm for fundraising and the arts. She also serves as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and on the Murray Independent School District Foundation Board.