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Liberty ES teacher creates “Fun Thursday” to connect with students

  Liberty Elementary School third grade teacher Jeanette Denton realized her students constantly wanted to share stories during remote learning.

So now she sets aside time each week to do just that.

“I feel like there is never enough time to stop and be able to share stories, update each other on what is going on in our lives or the fun things students are doing, so I decided to create Fun Thursday,” Denton said.

During her lunch break every Thursday, Denton spends about an hour on Zoom with her students. Fun Thursday is optional for students, but Denton said many attend each week.

Each week, Fun Thursday activities are a little different, but the goal is always the same – to help her students connect with one another, Denton said.

“I want the students to know I am a trusted adult they can come and talk to if they have any problems,” Denton said. “I am more than a teacher who sits there and teaches lessons and gives assignments, I want them to know that I care about them and I want to hear about what interests them,” she added.

Since the start of Fun Thursday, Denton’s class has spent time eating lunch together, sharing stories and updating each other on the fun things happening in their lives, watching movies, participating in show and tell, or arts and crafts.

Fun Thursday has let Denton carry on the tradition of the annual 3D snowflake activity many of her previous students loved, she said.

The 3D snowflake activity could not be held in person because of COVID-19, so Denton turned it into a virtual activity during Fun Thursday on Thursday, December 10, 2020.

Students learned how to follow directions and cut and tape pieces of paper correctly to form a large 3D snowflake. Denton also sent parents a step-by-step video ahead of time to make the process a bit smoother, and for students who were not able to attend the live Zoom session.

Since implementing Fun Thursday, Denton said she has seen her students form new friendships and it has carried over into their daily Zoom lessons. While Fun Thursday has helped her students connect with one another, Denton says it has also had an impact on her.

“I feel like I have gotten just as much out of Fun Thursday as the kids have because it allows me to slow down, take a break and be engaged with my students,” Denton said. “I can now get to know them beyond the academics,” she added.




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