Alternative Learning Plan Teacher Diaries is a series that highlights stories of Rockwood School District teachers as they continue instruction from home while maintaining relationships and keeping students connected to school and classmates.
Heather Hupp, kindergarten teacher, Bowles Elementary
Number of Years Taught at Bowles: 20
Kindergarten teacher Heather Hupp is keeping up with her class: Anya planted a garden with her mom, Sebastian celebrated a birthday and learned how to ride a bike, and Emma made cards for a nursing home.
Schools may be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Bowles educator is turning to technology and old-fashioned letter writing to stay connected with students.
"I have been communicating with my students through Zoom and exchanging letters in the mail," said Hupp. "The first time I saw all of my kids on Zoom, I got teary-eyed. I miss them all so much."
At the start of the Alternative Learning Plan, Hupp reminded her students' parents that she is there for them every step of the way and doesn't want them to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Each week, Hupp sends home a newsletter and kindergarten choice board for parents to choose activities for their child.
"My parents have been sending me pictures of their child learning, and they always make me smile so big," said Hupp.
From read-alouds to "questions of the day" to show and tell, Hupp has implemented an array of distance learning techniques for students.
"The most 'normal' routine we are keeping on Zoom is sharing what we have been doing each day," said Hupp. "I always make sure everyone gets a chance to talk – just like I would at school."
Hupp has four children of her own ranging from a third-grader to a high school sophomore. She helps them in between Zoom meetings, phone calls and emails.
"It has definitely been a big adjustment to a new normal," said Hupp. "I never dreamed I would be teaching my kindergarteners online, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure my kids get exactly what they need to get through this time."