Kate Hatch, Holdrege, NE

"Battle of the Books" goes virtual to encourage students

August 31, 2020 |
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We are asking how COVID-19 is impacting rural communities. Read below for a perspective from Kate Hatch of Holdrege, NE. You can share yours here: http://bit.ly/iaartcovid

To help provide instructional guidance to all K-12 teachers in the ESU 11 area, the ESU 11 Staff Development Department held Professional Learning Community meetings for all grade and content levels in the K-12 system. These PLCs have been held every other week since March 25 and provide an opportunity for teachers to collaborate. The meetings have focused on helping teachers in the following areas: create a repository of resources for providing quality instruction in an alternative learning environment, how to use video conferencing effectively with K-12 students, strategies for combating emotional fatigue and stress during the quarantine, how to end the school year virtually, and future training opportunities to prepare for the next COVID outbreak.

ESU #11’s Gifted Department just finished their fourth year of the Battle of the Books competition. The only bad part of this scenario is that it was scheduled for April 3, during the quarantine. Over 100 students fulfilled the requirements to be a part of our big day, which included visits from Dusti Bowling and Jennifer Nielsen as well as crafts, lunch, KaHoot and a generally fun day. The day was moved to April 17 in hopes that our day could be held. That wasn’t to be either. The Gifted Department decided to take it virtually then, so the students could still join together to hear the wonderful authors, compete against each other in KaHoot, and choose from the prizes based on what they had accomplished. The first thing they did was to put the prizes and books out on tables and then make a video of these things. The videos were uploaded to Google Drive and then the links and information about the Zoom link were emailed to the students and teachers who had helped them succeed. Not all of the students were able to join us that day, but we were so thankful for the ones that were able. It was a day of fun and the best part was being able to see the students again. They weren’t able to do a craft or eat together, but the rest was accomplished. The shirts are ordered but are taking a bit longer than usual because of all of the things going on in our world. We will wait for the shirts to be delivered, then the shirts and prizes will be delivered to the students. The Gifted Department made the situation workable and were so proud of all of the students as well as teachers, who did the work to be able to be present. We hope that next year we will be able to meet in person, but either way – we’re so glad the students are reading!

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