Wake County teachers finding creative ways to connect to their students
Posted January 27, 2021 6:58 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2021 11:35 a.m. EST
Holly Springs, N.C. — Adjusting to remote learning has been a challenge for educators everywhere.
Amy Dragotta is a pre-school, special education teacher at Oakview Elementary in Holly Springs. She says it’s been a challenging year and that teachers have really been working hard to make sure students have all the tools they need.
Dragotta has been teaching virtually all year while helping her three own kids with school work from home.
"I don’t think people realize what is going on and the work that’s being put in to make sure the virtual learning is successful," Dragotta said.
She says the biggest challenge this year has been keeping the students engaged while they learn remotely. For the last year, many teachers in Wake County have been putting together brown bags full of education tools every nine weeks to make learning for students fun and engaging, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it.
"We need probably 12 to 14 hours a week to plan for a week, so making the activities and trying to make it appropriate for the kids," Dragotta explained. "It's a lot of work beyond what we would normally be doing."
Each bag is tailored to each grade level. They include things like workbooks, rulers, counting cubes, and games. These are supplies students would normally receive in the classroom.
"It takes us several days to plan the activities and then several days to put it together," Dragotta, said. "Then we deliver it to our students. We take it door to door and we do that monthly."
Dragotta says these brown bags keep the learning going beyond the online classes and she’s received a lot of positive feedback from parents.
I think all the 'above and beyond' [that] people are seeing has always been there, it's just not always in your face," Dragotta said. "It's the heart of a teacher ... to make learning happen for the kids."
Dragotta said it’s something families and students are always excited about and look forward to.