TURNER, Maine — Teachers all across America are finding new ways to connect with their students outside of the classroom. Admittedly, what my Alma mater, Leavitt Area High School, started doing caught my eye. Teachers are using YouTube as a channel to share class updates; talk with school nurses about keeping safe distances and guidance counselors about pushing forward with college applications.
"The Morning Buzz" goes live nearly every morning at 10, because while it's hard to make a kid check their email, many of them are streaming YouTube videos. The staff is also keeping things light with some friendly competition through a "carabiner toss;" a snowman making challenge among the students; and calls to share art. Students and parents can also join the live chat online, asking real time questions or weighing in on some of the new challenges.
Principal Eben Shaw calls the "distance learning" a learning curve, but admits it's forced their hand at trying new technology, and finding new ways to keep their students engaged in learning. The two faces most often on "The Morning Buzz" are teachers Mike Hathaway and Isaiah Davis, who keep their distance at the desk. Jamie Juntura produces the show and handles the technology behind the scenes (the so-called "brains behind the operation," if you will). Will Parkin acts as safety officer for any experiments, and Morgan Hixson keeps the school community engaged through social media.
As the show evolves, there's more student involvement in crafting it. The video production class has been assigned a few projects to help dress up the production value; while another student has been given the lofty assignment of composing opening music. Live interviews include courses some students never would have taken, like a talk with the school's psychology teacher.
To see episodes of the "The Morning Buzz," click here.
The Buzz Morning Show featured 207 hosts, Rob Caldwell and Amanda Hill in an episode. Click here to watch it.