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Teachers preparing for the first day of school, virtually

Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 21:58:11-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's been quite the challenge for teachers to transition to virtual learning for the first day of school.

The day before the first day, teachers typically are setting up their classrooms and preparing to meet each student. Today, teachers instead are calling each student to make sure they are prepared for tomorrow.

"We’re just calling to make sure that they were able to get on to Canvas and they were able to look at my Zoom codes, so at 8:50 (a.m.) tomorrow they’re not nervous and trying to do it then," said Grant Middle School Pre-AP Science Teacher Christina Maloney.

Maloney has been teaching for 20 years; this will be the first time she begins a school year online.

"(It's) really got me on my feet, as far as technology," she said. "The way they just throw us into there."

She said her lesson plans will remain the same, but as a science teacher, using science labs will not be possible. So, she's had to come up with creative ways to give her students a more hands-on approach.

"I have some like scavenger hunts for them to do that we call 'brain breaks,' " she said. "Where they can get up and they’ll go around and find different things. And some fun little games on Cahoots, where they can actually play as a class live with me."

Teachers such as Maloney will be working from home, where she has all of her materials. She said her biggest concern is just making sure students and parents understand how to access all of the Zoom links.

Zoom has become just one of the many tools teachers will be utilizing to teach virtually.

"Zoom actually has a feature now for whiteboard," said Baker Middle School sixth-grade social studies teacher Kasey Smith. "Students can even write on this."

Utilizing Zoom has become important for student involvement during class periods.

"If I’m teaching and you have a question or anything, there’s a raise-hand button, or put it in the chat," she said. "I will answer it. Also I want to use this year -- mute and un-mute yourselves, ask me questions."

Smith also has become the IT Chair for Baker, and said Canvas is the main puzzle piece to teaching virtual classes for the beginning of the school year.

Canvas is a tool on every Corpus Christi Independent School District campus website. It allows students and parents to look at class schedules, all Zoom links, grades and information for their classes.

Smith said transitioning from the classroom to an online experience has been challenging, but said every teacher is just eager to meet their students for the new school year.