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Legacy Teacher Engages Students with Games and a Virtual Field Trip

Remote learning has been an adjustment from the usual classroom teaching style that Kenya Jackson, fifth-grade teacher at Legacy Charter Academy, has gotten used to in the last eight years at her school. However, she has come to enjoy incorporating technology into the way she teaches, including hosting engaging Google Meets sessions with her students every Monday and Friday.

“Attending a Google Meet session with Mrs. Jackson is so much fun,” said Dana Petz, dean of upper elementary at Legacy. “The lessons she teaches and the games she plays have led to over half of her class jumping on for her sessions. She never skipped a beat in the transition from classroom instruction to remote learning. Scholars are still learning, growing, and interacting with others while enjoying themselves.”

Within three weeks, Mrs. Jackson went from having five students join her sessions to now 15 logging on to participate. She facilitates games in the meetings and even sends prizes, like Pokémon cards, coloring sets, lip gloss, nail polish, and Legos, in the mail to students that make it a point to participate weekly.

Her class has played academic vocab hangman, scavenger hunts, Heads Up!, brainteasers, and other fun games at the beginning of meetings to warm up. She tries to do something different each time to keep her kids engaged before addressing any questions her students have about their work. If they have extra time at the end, she gives them the option to leave early or play another game. “They never leave,” said Mrs. Jackson. “They always want to stick around and play another game.”

Mrs. Jackson keeps her students actively engaged by communicating often, staying connected, finding activities to get them to log on, and keeping the learning going. “I know firsthand that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So I make sure to keep something in front of them to keep them engaged,” she said. “They’ve worked so hard this school year. I’d hate for them to lose everything they’ve worked so hard to learn.”

In one of her sessions, Mrs. Jackson recently held a drawing for two tickets to Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, which coincided with their virtual field trip to SeaQuest, an interactive aquarium and petting zoo. The class watched two videos as part of the field trip, one about a sloth and one about Octavia the Giant Pacific Octopus.

After each video, Mrs. Jackson asked her students specific questions about the topic and asked each student to share one thing they learned. The students were actively engaged and quickly answered her questions.

Prior to the field trip, Mrs. Jackson shared some rules, including muting mics, staying out of the chat box, and unmuting to answer a question. Mrs. Jackson mentioned that there is a lot going on when students are on a video chat, but it’s like classroom culture when everyone is muted and they unmute to address a question.

Keep up the great work, Mrs. Jackson!