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School In Coronavirus Era: Local Teachers Get Creative To Keep Students Engaged During Remote Learning

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- After six weeks of home schooling due to the coronavirus pandemic, teachers are coming up with creative ways to connect with students.

CBS2's Nick Caloway recently spoke with teachers from New Jersey and New York about how they are doing it.

Eric Gugick is a sixth grade social studies teacher at Leonia Middle School in Leonia, and New York Mets super-fan. So he jumped at the chance to have the Mets' public address announcer record his own walk-up intro for his daily video lessons.

"The teacher, No. 20, Eric Gugick," the recording says.

"And my students absolutely loved it," Gugick said.


A month and a half into virtual learning, teachers have to get creative to get past the distractions students face at home.

Whether it's by using the Mets, or a virtual trip to the Met.

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Jamie Ewing is a science teacher at P.S. 277 in the Bronx, and produces virtual story time videos for students.

"So using something like Prezi video and recording those stories in my read-alouds and my lessons allows me to give my students that interaction that they get in the classroom, but at home," Ewing said.

With virtual learning, communication is key.

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Carmen King, a fifth grade teacher at Mamaroneck Avenue School in White Plains, is regularly texting and emailing her students, something she never would have done before coronavirus.

"We are making sure to stay connected so that learning actually happens," King said.

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Linnea Engles is an art teacher at Post Road Elementary in White Plains. Since many kids don't have access to art materials, she encourages them to use things they can find around the house.

"So it's really just using whatever materials they have, that they have access to, and repurposing them. Artists have done that for centuries," Engles said.

At Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, New Jersey., the show goes on for the school's student-produced morning newscast, but now from home.

Justin Nadal teaches broadcast and film.

"We still have a morning show that connects to our kids, and our faculty and staff and our entire community. And, hopefully, we're creating normalcy," Nadal said.

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It's that innovation during an unprecedented time that is changing the face of education.

"For me, being able to step up and do this kind of work has been life changing. It's career changing right now," Ewing said.

It is providing inspiration at a time when our nation's students need it the most.

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