Arts and Culture COVID-19 Featured Images

Zoom in the Classroom: How Teachers get Creative with their Online Classes

By Sophia Cheng


Illustration by Katherine Chui

Once upon a time, walking into a PE class would have meant inhaling the musty odor of the locker room, hearing the sounds of students’ sneakers pounding against the shiny wood floor and basking in the sound of laughter and talking among the students. Now, a PE class could look like many things, such as a hike, a yoga workout or a game of pickup basketball. To fit the current standard of remote learning, teachers must scramble to change their lesson plans, but the teachers of certain classes, such as PE, have found themselves with a harder time than others.

   PE teacher Whitney Wood describes the changes made to accommodate remote learning.

   “We are having the students do any type of workout three times a week for at least 30 minutes. After their workout, they are filling out a form describing what they did,” Wood said.

   Caitlin Miller teaches art, another class that requires a lot of changes to fit learning via Zoom.

   “The biggest challenge is probably all the planning and re-writing of my curriculum. In the classroom, I do demos live,” Miller said. “We have discussions, during which I can circulate and provide help and verbal feedback in real time. Everything has to be done ahead of time or after the students share their work in progress with me, but during class, I am still meeting with students.”

   Fellow art teacher Cole Godvin has been trying to be as positive as possible in the midst of the pandemic.

   “I feel incredibly happy to be able to keep doing what I do by working with my students … I am so lucky to be part of an educational community that was able to adapt and move forward so quickly when presented with such a sudden and total change in circumstances,” Godvin said. “I am convinced that the learning experience of continuing school through the COVID-19 quarantine will prove to be a great opportunity for growth for all students involved.”

   Choir and theater teacher Katie Linza has one of the biggest challenges to tackle.

   “I knew I would have to essentially redefine my classes. Choir and theater by nature rely on live performance … I have had to completely revise the choir curriculum to still involve singing, but for individuals to do alone, not in a group,” Linza said.

   Theater teacher Doug Eivers has a similar job to Linza: recreating Pinewood’s theater community as best as possible without actual physical interaction.

   “Just like any other class, the live interaction is definitely challenging because a huge part of theater class is the interaction and working with others…. It’s a chance for students to explore and create in a safe space … now that we are remote, I will have to try and come up with something that will allow them to continue to build their confidence and creativity,” Eivers said.

   Although class is extraordinarily different, dance teacher Carrie McRobbie still loves to see her students and teach them, albeit through Zoom.

   “My favorite part is hearing everyone and seeing their smiling faces.  Everyone misses each other, and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to talk and move our bodies together!” McRobbie said.