LOS LUNAS — Distance learning has taken on a new context during these past few weeks.
Students and teachers now have to work from home, but that hasn’t stopped JoDee Lanari from showing her kindergarten students the chick embryo development process.
Lanari teaches kindergarten at Katherine Gallegos Elementary in Los Lunas and has done this project with another kindergarten teacher in the past.
This year, they didn’t get the chance to do it because of the stay-at-home order from the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All year long, they’ve been anticipating the project and really looking forward to it. We told them we would start after spring break but we didn’t get to come back,” Lanari said.
She had a parent email her saying her son was really upset that they didn’t get to participate in the project, so that’s when Lanari decided to continue on with it and film updates for her students to see.
There are seven eggs in Lanari’s incubator but she said that doesn’t mean all of them will hatch.
Lanari recently started a YouTube channel so she could post videos of her reading stories to her students. Now, every few days, she films an update on the eggs and what the chicks should look like at this stage of development.
The videos are unlisted and only the parents of students have the link to view the videos online. She said learning to navigate YouTube at first was a challenge.
“We’ve watched videos on YouTube before, but learning how to upload was quite a process,” Lanari said. “We had to learn through trial and error of what the quickest way to upload and how to share it, but I think we finally got it figured out.”
She uses her phone to record the update videos, which usually last a few minutes. The eggs take 21 days to hatch.
“They are so excited about it. Parents have commented that the kids are excited, and they’ve even incorporated it with siblings who are not in our class. It’s kind of been a family affair,” Lanari said.
The distance learning has been more work for teachers, not less like some would assume, she said.
“I think people think it’s this extended vacation for us but it’s not. It’s been difficult, just trying to design everything and trying to translate that to parents,” Lanari said. “They weren’t expecting to have to home-school their kids and if they work at home, they’re trying to work and take care of school stuff. It’s been quite overwhelming for parents.”
Lanari has two children of her own, and understands the struggle of trying to get her work done as well as their school work completed. Another reason she wanted to continue the project from home is to help enrich her students’ home-learning.
“I don’t expect them to do anything but observe and give them something to look forward to,” Lanari said. “We’re learning every day and we’re adjusting every day to what the kids need and feedback from the parents.”