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Special to the Enquirer Kaiden Hazel, 7, and Austin Hazel, 4, continue learning outside.

Students continue to learn amidst school closures

As schools throughout the state of Alabama officially shift to distance learning because of COVID-19, students and teachers in Hartselle City Schools continue to embrace interaction and learning  just digitally.  

Implementing distance learning apps such as SeeSaw, Google Classroom, Fluency and Fitness and more, local students have used their time at home to build on their education.  

Rebecca Hazel has two children and has been using the extra time to come up with creative lessons for them. She said continued learning during this unprecedented time is essential to keeping her children ready for when the crisis subsides. 

In addition to making use of the learning apps, Hazel said she has used creative approaches to learning such as cooking and using sidewalk chalk outside. In addition she has ordered LEGO kits that her oldest son, a first-grader at Barkley Bridge, can use to build things like a guitar or robot and use the codable app to actually make them work.  

Hazel said she is trying to use a variety of approaches and resources to keep her children engaged.  

“I have tried to shift our learning to outside. We can use chalk and learn our ABCs. We can write a story and make a picture to go with it. You don’t have to just draw in the driveway; you can use the trampoline,” Hazel said. I think if you change things up and don’t keep it the same worksheet after worksheet after worksheet, they are more engaged and more likely to stay engaged and learn something.” 

Jordan Young is another parent of a Barkley Bridge student. His son, Gavin Young, is a second-grade student in Amanda Godsey’s class. Young said Godsey has continued to offer encouragement and feedback for his son through some of the learning apps and has even called them to speak with Gavin and check in with him.  

In addition to the apps, Young said Godsey has been sharing articles such as proper handwashing techniques and natural disaster response that are current and offer important life lessons.  

Despite some of the challenges that have been presented with COVID-19, Young said he is pleased with the school’s response, and the personal touch has helped his son continue to learn.  

“He really enjoys it and enjoys hearing back from the teacher and having that interaction,” Young said. I think it makes it a little more personal and gives him the drive to continue to do the activities. If Mrs. Godsey is saying ‘You’re doing really good, keep it up,’ I think that provides additional encouragement for the child and keeps them working and learning in this difficult situation.” 

Scarlett Dill, a second-grade student at Barkley Bridge Elementary, she she has been using apps like SeeSaw and Google Classroom to dig deeper into some of the subjects she has been learning at school. She said her favorite topic has been blue whales.  

“Mrs. Godsey has been signing me up for stuff. We tried two things, and one of them was easy because it was about whales – blue whales,” Scarlett said. The other one was a little hard, so I went on Google Classroom and asked my teacher.  

We have been doing some things with money and a lot of fun stuff, but I like whales because I had not learned about whales yet in school.” 

Although she has still been spending regular time learning, Scarlett said she also enjoys the opportunity to sleep in and spend some extra time with her baby sister, even if she misses her teacher. She also said she likes being able to ask her teacher questions on Google Classroom and enjoys that she can still talk to her on the phone.  

Leslie Arterburn is another parent with a student in Godsey’s class. She said Godsey has done an excellent job providing parents and students with learning opportunities.  

“Mrs. Godsey has set these programs up to the classroom since the beginning of the year, and she has just made it really easy for Clara to continue to learn at home,” Arterburn said.  

In addition to making use of the digital resources on Google Classroom, Arterburn said her daughter has also been able to continue on a biography project they have been working on before the schools closed. She said the lessons are keeping her daughter engaged and learning – even under the current circumstances.