This week’s “Thankful Thursday” would like to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8) for all teachers who have been working hard to stay connected with their students, and for continuing their instruction while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recognition of all our wonderful teachers, here are three of the many examples of teachers finding creative, fun, and generous ways to teach.
1. Jonte Lee, a science teacher from Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington DC turned his kitchen into a chemistry laboratory by creating some fizzy, smoky experiments to the delight of his students watching it live on Instagram and Facebook. Mr. Lee gave himself a crash course in social media so he could provide engaging chemistry-lab demonstrations for his students while they’re stuck at home. Mr. Lee plastered his cabinets and dishwasher with posters that remind students of scientific principles they’ve learned, and he converted his chrome refrigerator into a dry-erase board.
Mr. Lee recently made strawberry lemonade and by adding dry ice, the beverage carbonated instantly to teach students about the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas). When Mr. Lee drank the beverage, the students reacted by saying, “Wow, you’re not supposed to drink that! Are you okay? Mr. Lee! Mr. Lee!”.
On another experiment, Mr. Lee mixed sugar and baking soda and then set it on fire. It created a snaky carbon “monster” that kept growing and growing. The lesson was designed to illustrate the way a chemical reaction can create an entirely new substance. “Wow, that’s super cool!” one student chimed in on the live feed.
2. Jane Martineau, the director of the theater program at The Williams School in New London, decided to offer lessons three times a week to her students and the whole neighborhood after her campus closed. Miss Martineau continued her lessons in shadow-puppeteering, but from her front porch. Her performances have included “The Wizard of Oz on the Front Porch” and “Cinderella on the Front Porch.”
3. Jennifer McLarty, a teacher at the Walton High School in Marietta,Georgia realized with sadness that she might not see her senior students again once schools were closed. These students were allowed to finish the school year with their grades through the third quarter. Miss McLarty did not want to let the year end without a goodbye to her students, so she mapped a route to each of her students’ homes. Miss McLarty proceeded to chalk congratulatory and encouraging messages on each students’ driveways. It took four hours to make the rounds, and she even received help with the colorful chalkwork from her two young sons.