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Educators getting creative to reach students remotely

Posted at 12:53 PM, Jul 31, 2020

PHOENIX — Students aren't the only ones adjusting to a new way of learning this school year. Educators are also changing the way they teach to make the most of remote learning.

From a simple desktop setup on campus, to a higher-tech studio, and even a bedroom closet is now serving as a classroom for one kindergarten teacher in Gilbert. Educators are finding new ways to connect with their students.

Lauren Dupuis teaches kindergartners with special needs in the Washington Elementary School District. Her spare room is now a replica of what her classroom looked like last year.

"I can turn the lights off or take things down if it's just maybe sometimes too visually stimulating," Dupuis said. "This is definitely a different format and trying to figure out how to best meet their needs."

Dupuis is finding inspiration and advice from social media and online instructors like Courtney Aseltine. She's known as "Teacher Courtney" to her thousands of followers on Instagram.

"Really your tone and your facial expressions, those are huge because you're losing a lot of that movement," said Aseltine. "I personally still teach standing up, which I think is another huge thing."

Other key differences for teachers to consider:

-Different techniques for different age groups.
-Props for younger learners, interactive games can help older students pay attention
-Start simple with planning and setup
-Use a quiet space to minimize distractions on your end

"When they're in their house their dog is over there, their mom is over there, their favorite toy's next to them, so those distractions that they have, there's not much you can do about that and you kind of have to find a way sometimes to incorporate that," said Aseltine.

For Dupuis, the learning curve is just beginning. Her district goes online August 10. As a cancer survivor she feels safest at home, but knows there will be challenges ahead.

"We are trying our best to make it as normal as possible in such a different time," she said.