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.
Laura Mueller, fourth-grade teacher, Green Pines Elementary
Number of Years Taught at Green Pines: 4
Greg Mueller, sixth-grade language arts teacher, Crestview Middle
Number of Years Taught at Crestview: 3
A wife and husband, Laura and Greg Mueller are delivering instruction to their students from home and working side by side – literally.
"It has truly been awesome to be actually teaching under the same roof for the first time," said Laura. "One of the cool things about this situation is that it has allowed us to actually see each other interact with our students for the very first time, so we get to see each other as Mrs. and Mr. Mueller instead of as Laura and Greg."
Although Laura and Greg's school days look a lot different now, they possess similar schedules. Both share the same room as an office for most of the day and attempt to keep things as normal as possible for their students while following the guidelines set by the Alternative Learning Plan.
In fourth grade, Laura is continuing with classroom meetings. She's engaging students through read-alouds, math routines such as Estimation 180 and Famous Missourian books.
"Famous Missourians is something students look forward to each year," said Laura. "We are still writing them, but this time it is in a digital format."
In sixth grade, Greg is implementing typical classroom routines in a modified fashion.
"One thing my students always look forward to is my 'Dad Joke of the Day,' which I write on the whiteboard," he said. "Now, I have a miniature whiteboard behind me propped up on a bookshelf so students can see it during my Zoom help sessions."
The Crestview educator continues to film daily book talks in which he attempts to "sell" a book to students to get them interested in reading it.
"By filming a book talk each day, students can gain exposure to engaging texts that, hopefully, will help them develop a lifelong love of reading," said Greg.
The Muellers have adapted well to their home teaching environment and have discovered which instructional approaches are working and which ones aren't.
"Everyone – and I mean everyone – is using Zoom right now, and that's a good thing," said Greg. "These meetings have made it much easier to communicate with kids in a sort of face-to-face manner, which is not only good for everyone's mental health but their learning as well."