Adirondack kindergarten teacher gets creative with online field trip
Springtime is normally a time for school field trips, but with in-person classes sidelined by the coronavirus, one Adirondack area kindergarten teacher and part-time sugarmaker took matters int her own hand.
"They were taken from me abruptly," said Kimberly Lashway, a kindergarten teacher with the Northern Adirondack Central School.
It's a feeling felt by teachers across the country as schools remain closed and learning has moved online. "A good challenge, it's definitely out of my comfort zone," Lashway said.
Parents like Tasha Christon have became overnight educators. "We do as much as we can with the packets they sent home. Hoping that I'm teaching her the right things so she's still up to speed when she gets to go back," Christon said.
To give students and parents a break, Lashway decided to take her lesson out of the packets and on to the farm -- virtually -- to see the sugaring process. "It was something that was in the moment and it felt right just to do something that was a little outside the box," she said.
Lashway said she made sure the video would be full of language her students would understand, but admits it's still is a lot for a kindergartener to take in. "You can adapt it to any grade level but there is a lot of physics and science," she said.
In just two weeks, her sugaring field trip has become a hit across the U.S. and Canada. Lashway made it for all grade levels and teachers from other districts are sharing with it their students. "Using other resources from anywhere to help our kids in this time was definitely a good thing," Lashway said.
She says field trips are important for students' education to get them out of the classroom and into the real world. "There's so much more teaching that can happen beyond the classroom walls," she said.
And while this video couldn't bring them together physically, it could still bring them together. "It was great," Christon said. "I thought it was educational and great for her to see her teacher again -- she's been missing her."
Lashway says since the tour was such a sensation, she's going to find a way to keep it in her lesson plans.