Art, music and P.E….via Zoom

Art, music and P.E….via Zoom

The North Kitsap School District is entering week four of remote learning and while not being in the classroom is hard on all teachers and students, there are some subjects that are exceptionally difficult to teach in distance learning.

Extracurricular classes like art, music and P.E. are some of the hardest hit and toughest to navigate during these at least nine weeks of online learning. Subjects like those tend to lean on the one on one interaction between teacher and student.

Tammie Rabura teaches music at both Pearson and Wolfle elementary schools and has been teaching for over 30 years both in Washington state and in Germany. She said this year she feels like a first-year teacher again.

“I know the content, but how I am presenting it is totally new,” Rabura said.

Rabura explains that his year specialists in the extracurricular activities are posting lessons for the students to complete on a weekly basis as opposed to “teaching live.” Some teachers are offering special classes at the end of the school day a couple of times a week for interested students, though the assignments are not graded.

“I am teaching an Art and Music class twice a week. Students come to my zoom classroom, we look at a piece of art and listen to a piece of music that compliments it. We then have an art lesson. It is a lot of fun,” Rabura said.

Last week, a class of 45 students viewed a piece by Currier and Ives of two kittens and listened to the cat opera, and learned to draw cats.

“This is a great opportunity for the students and wonderful for the specialists since it is the only opportunity to have live interactions with students,” Rabura said.

Other highlights of the past few weeks have been teaching 4th and 5th graders how to play the recorder and teaching middle school students how to play the ukelele via Zoom and other video platforms.

Like all teachers, Rabura would much rather be teaching in the classroom and explains that there is nothing like it, especially for such interactive subjects as art and music.

“Classroom teaching is the best place to teach. You can sing together, you can play drums and xylophones and egg shakers. You have interaction with the students. You can immediately correct their errors or compliment them on things they do well. You can do a live demonstration and clear up misunderstandings in real-time,” Rabura said.

Like many teachers,students and parents, Rabura has had to have some battles with technology to make classes work in this new normal.

“I have had some technological breakthroughs – for someone whose high school computer class involved punch cards for the room size computer at the district office – I realize that I am way more competent on computers than many of my colleagues. We are all developing some amazing technology skills that we will continue to use when we return to the classroom,” Rabura said.

While teaching things like Art and Music via Zoom come with their own set of challenges, the curriculum is still more deliverable than subjects like P.E. and student athletics which have their own set of obstacles beyond technology.

Electives like PE have placed the onus entirely on the students to track and document their workouts and turn them in for grading. Teachers and coaches will upload videos for the students to follow.

“This is such a shift from traditional classes and our PE teachers are doing a great job getting up to speed with the technology needed to manage this shift,” said Ed Call, Athletic Director at Kingston High School.

Call discussed the impact remote learning has had on afterschool athletics in addtion to changes made to tracking physical education.

“We are now working on all the administrative things necessary for a safe return to sports. There are so many challenges and moving targets in this pandemic that our district, league and state athletic directors are meeting continually to plan, adjust, prepare and project as best we can,” Call said.

“At this point, we have probably seen a dozen or more schedule iterations come and go. Committees for a safe return for each sport and have formed to work out a return to play criteria and plans. We have decided to shift all of our current sports later in the year, in an effort to try to save those sports seasons,” he said.

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