Our Schools

Secondary Teachers Find Creative Ways to Engage with Students

During this time of distance learning, teachers at T.A. Howard Middle School have found innovative ways to keep students engaged in learning.

Through the use of social media, educators were able to participate in something that they’ve seen the students do all year—social media challenges. It was a way to meet the students where they were.

“We’ve created challenges throughout the week,” said Principal Erica Gorruso. “Our latest one, and very popular one, was our TikTok challenge. I emailed all my teachers and encouraged them to participate to maintain those positive interactions with our students.”

The challenges had the educators dancing along to or lip syncing with popular songs. Teachers who join the weekly challenges said students have been pleasantly surprised.

“I was actually kind of excited about it because some of my students this year have been teaching me [TikTok challenges] throughout the year,” said Roata Chap, eighth-grade science teacher. “I think it’s a great idea to build that community because a lot of teaching is about building those relationships with the kids.”

Apart from the challenges, band students took part in a virtual concert to stay connected. 

The school’s band director, Nathaniel Neugent, had each student send in a recording of different parts of a composition. Nuegent then compiled it in a video editor and shared it with the school band,

“The kids certainly missed playing together, and it’s one way we can make that happen and have that feeling of togetherness again,” he said.

Following the executive order given by Gov. Greg Abbott on April 17, schools across the state were told to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Distance learning will continue. For the latest information, visit the MISD comprehensive COVID-19 web page.