PLATTSBURGH — Northern Adirondack Central School District kindergarten teacher Kimberly Lashway took students on a virtual tour of her family's maple sugaring business last week.
With her daughter, nursing student Anna, filming and producing, Kimberly and her dogs led the way through the sugar bush, where taps collect sap from the trees, to the sugar house, where sap is collected, filtered and boiled down into syrup.
"It was a simple little thing that we threw together; it was fun to do," the teacher said.
LEARNS AT HOME
NACS has a Facebook page that elementary teachers and staff have been adding to called "NAC Elementary Learns at Home."
STEM teacher Amy LaPoint and elementary librarian Anne Smallman reached out to faculty members to make small videos either saying hello to students or showing them different things they can do at home.
For example, Principal Dr. Lisa Silver played "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the flutaphone and had students "name that tune."
Kimberly considered making a pie or reading a book to students for her video, but sugar season is something "we're right in the middle of" and she was itching to be outside.
"The goal was to make it as simple as possible," she said. "It's hard to leave out all the numbers and science and technology and math that could be tied in and so much vocabulary.
"She (Anna) edited it to something we think was just right."
Kimberly noted that the video tied in her class's animal units and some STEM, with push and pull and gravity.
Since NACS and the other school districts closed their buildings two weeks ago, Kimberly has relied on packets to encourage students in their at-home learning and tried to reach them and their families by phone.
At times, she will challenge them, telling them she will write back if they write her letters.
Kimberly's grandmother currently resides in Meadowbrook Health Care, so she sent her students addressed envelops so they can send her letters as well.
Hearing her students' voices over the phone "was magical," she said.
"I think they are getting a lot out of that and just knowing that I’m thinking of them, that they’re loved and cared about and they have a family outside of their own."
Kimberly encourages her students to read to themselves ... or their dog or cat.
"They giggle, but some of them will say, 'I read to my rabbit!'"
She definitely misses being in her classroom.
"You know how much we love our own children and our grandchildren.
Well, we love our kids and just being torn away from them so quickly was just quite heart-wrenching and so to call them and hear them, it’s just — it’s the bomb."
'WE NEED EACH OTHER'
Kimberly misses reading to her kindergarteners and may do a read-aloud for her next video.
"The part of me that enjoys teaching is the part where I get to be animated and it’s almost like a little acting job I have as a kindergarten teacher."
She thinks it's great that teachers can share their skills, videos and ideas with each other, and provide feedback through Facebook, text or Zoom group chats.
"My advice would be just for us to keep doing that because we need each other."
Other schools have reached out to Kimberly about using her video for their students.
“We’re not one district, we’re one whole Clinton County and we can lean on each other and help each other using our technology.”
To view "Mrs. Lashway's Virtual Field Trip," go to https://tinyurl.com/vca3x6x.
Email Cara Chapman: