Lincoln Elementary teachers are not letting the school closure for COVID-19 stop them from connecting and educating their students. Staff are reading books to students through Lincoln’s Facebook page and fourth grade teacher Amy Ranalletti’s YouTube channel.

The idea came about as teachers brainstormed ways they could still connect with their students.

“I was sitting thinking about ways to connect with my students during this time, and then I started thinking about all of our students as a whole and letting them all know that we are here thinking about them,” Ranalletti said. “I thought, ‘Why not share it on our Lincoln Facebook page and invite other staff?’ I knew we all felt the same way.”

Teachers have signed up for days with the hopes students can still see their school family throughout the extent of the closure.

“I hope that our students and families feel connected as a community through this virtual learning opportunity,” Leigh Anne Tofflemire, Lincoln music teacher, said. “I think more than just getting a book read to them, they are able to see our familiar faces and know that we are still thinking about them and want them to know we are still here for them.”

When Tofflemire heard the idea, she was excited for the opportunity to connect with her students, even if she can’t see her students in-person.

“I volunteered to read a book because all of our Lincoln kids have me as their music teacher and my hope is that there is some comfort in seeing that I am still here for them.”

Tofflemire is hopeful the staff will come up with additional ways to connect with students as the situation evolves that allows them to promote education outside the traditional classroom.

Fourth grade teacher Tracy Steele said using technology allows the staff to maintain those connections with their students.

“Connections are so important to our kids and we at Lincoln are trying to brainstorm ways that we can connect,” she said. “So, our book reading is one fun way, as the students of all ages love to be read to.”

Ranalletti kicked off the event on Monday, March 16 by reading one of her favorite books about waiting called “Waiting is not easy.” At the end of the story, she invited students to go outside and look at the stars at night.

“I hope that students get the opportunity to hear stories that they may not have heard before or have access to at home,” she said. “It also creates an opportunity to have other experiences.”

As Lincoln staff remotely connect with their students, the hope is it also creates a moment for families to sit down together and listen to the story.

“I am very excited about how this taken off,” Ranalletti said. “I really hope by doing it on YouTube and Facebook, it will give more students access. We have some really great stories coming up that I think students will really enjoy.”

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