Hands on classes bring classwork home

As senior Brooklyn Rose walked down the hall and into the rotunda, worry swept her mind when she realized her clay for ceramics class had been forgotten at home. Classes such as ceramics, T.V. production, and plumbing are considered to be “hands-on” courses and have been able to maintain an interactive environment with quarantined or blended learning students when they are not physically in school.

Since Rose is a blended student, who attends school three days a week, she has to carry her clay in a container back and forth between school and home. For her, it is another essential item she carries like her chromebook and ID. 

“I’ve struggled with making shapes for my whistle,” Rose said. “It’s also hard transporting my clay back and forth because the clay can get squished.”

Recently, ceramic students worked on clay whistles. After creating the basic shape for the whistle, students’ project was to camouflage the whistle by adding clay to transform their whistle into another object. Ceramic teacher, Dawn Graham, has already seen challenges for blended or quarantined students. Students are supposed to take their clay home when they won’t be at school the following day. According to Graham, some of them do and others do not.

“I ask that they get a box like this [plastic container], some of them did, some of them didn’t,” Graham said. “The ones that did are usually the ones keeping up. The others are falling behind.”

Another example is T.V. production classes. In these classes, students begin to learn the basics of television, how to operate cameras, and how to edit. Eventually, they are able to move up to advance courses where they learn about social media, broadcasts, and film. T.V. production teacher, Travis Sherman, was able to prepare for digital lessons over the summer for his blended and quarantined students.

“I was putting all my content digitally,” Sherman said. “I created live streams on YouTube. Students are able to go view these and actually see the exact lessons that I’d give. If it’s going over editing, for instance, they’re actually able to see the screen. Everyone could watch the exact lecture that I was giving.”

If students are still struggling to connect with their group peers, they can use an editing platform called WeVideo.

“Most of my projects are group-driven of groups of two to five,” Sherman said. “The days they are not here, hopefully, the group is assisting in picking up the slack. But we do have another option called WeVideo. Think of that as an editing software combined with google drive, so anybody who has the same editing software could see the computers no matter where you are in the world. It’s a very simplistic option of what we do.”

Plumbing teacher, Robert Maples, has also found solutions to helping his students maintain an interactive environment while at home. His students recently wrapped up soldering copper pipes, which is a process that joins metals by melting solder.

“I typically will let them [blended students] on their day to be on campus get priority to do the hands-on work,” Maples said. 

When they are at home, there are videos and questions to answer on Google Classroom.

With the help of technology, hands-on courses are able to maintain communication with teachers and students. Teachers are doing their best to give students the same experience they would have gotten if it were a ‘normal’ school year. 

“If they are home alone, they are just themselves and the internet,” Graham said. “The internet is not a teacher, it’s a supplement to learning.”