TV teachers

IU5 teachers — including from WCSD — to teach from ‘tube’

Screenshot submitted to Times Observer Warren Area Elementary Center teacher Rayme Scalise is among WCSD teachers presenting lessons on PBS.

Teachers aren’t always in favor of their students spending time in front of the TV.

But, a number of Warren County School District elementary teachers would encourage some TV watching starting next week.

Several district teachers will present 30-minute lessons on the PBS-WQLN series ‘Learning Brought to Life’ from 8 to 11:30 a.m., Monday, April 27, through Friday, June 5.

Elementary teachers from about 10 districts in Intermediate Unit 5 have signed up to deliver lessons to viewers throughout the area.

The district’s participating teachers so far are: Mandi McBriar; Ross Bish; Anna Bielawski; Terri Walters; Laura Demers; Lacey Criswell; Ashley Elms and Fallon Bachman — team-teaching; Rayme Scalise; Chelsea Burkett; Trina Campbell and Jen Dilks — team-teaching; and Rachel McClellan.

The list may not be complete, according to District Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Eric Mineweaser. There are still open slots available.

Topics cover various grade levels and every subject area.

“This is a nice idea,” Scalise said. “It gives children in the viewing area a different experience from what they are used to in the regular classroom.”

He submitted an “ELA lesson that focuses on fiction and non-fiction for second grade learners.” It is a lesson that his students have already seen.

That 30-minute segment will air at 9 a.m. Monday, April 27.

The lessons might provide some ideas for parents who are working as full-time teachers for their children for the first time, Scalise said.

“I was super excited when I heard about the chance to have a music lesson on PBS,” Bielawski said. “First of all, I miss being able to actually teach students.”

The school closures have taken away that contact and the first phase of the district’s continuity of education plan was impersonal. The second phase has allowed for working together online, but not all students have that option.

“This was an opportunity to share with students, especially students who do not/ cannot meet via the internet. Just think of the scope,” she said. “”This is an awesome opportunity to get music to all kinds of kids! Most people can get at least PBS — not just in Warren County but in surrounding areas.”

Bielawski has submitted two lessons – one for second graders and another for kindergarten.

“The second grade lesson will deal with character and texture in music — loud/soft, high/low, accompanied/unaccompanied, etc.,” she said. “The kindergarten lesson will highlight the musical side of nursery rhymes.”

She wants to make sure students have a shot at some music education while they can’t be in schools. “Sometimes music gets dropped, especially if parents aren’t musically inclined or even just because they are so overwhelmed ‘home schooling,’ she said. “I am hoping to spread a little cheer through music.”

Criswell’s lesson might help students take a little of the burden off of their parents at home.

“I am working on teaching 6th graders how to cook independently at home,” she said. “I think this is an incredibly valuable tool for students to acquire because it is one of the first forms of real independence for children their age.”

“The ability to cook a meal or food item is a critical life skill, as well as rewarding and fun I am hoping that students, with permission from their parents, will follow along with me as we prepare a simple food item that they can make on their own,” Criswell said.

Some lessons don’t translate as well as Criswell’s to the home environment.

Not every student will have access to the raw materials used in McBriar’s lesson. But, she is hoping students will be interested and want to do more when they are able.

“I teach STEM which the kids love, but is a difficult area to teach remotely as they do not have the kits and resources at home,” McBriar said. “Doing a lesson for PBS allows me the opportunity to take abstract concepts and make them more concrete for kids.”

“I’ll be teaching two lessons about electricity/circuitry for grades three and four,” she said. “In the first lesson I will be focusing on open and closed circuits and conductors and insulators which we do in the STEM Lab here in Warren. The second lesson will expand knowledge of circuits by looking at different types of circuits.”

The TV lesson gives her the chance to spread the word on STEM. “If anyone in the local area does not have STEM at the elementary levels in school, my hope is that these lessons will help take the concept of electricity that is abstract and make it more concrete,” McBriar said. “Understanding the basics of circuits is beneficial for understanding how other resources in the STEM Lab work , but also general knowledge about the world around us.”

“I am the librarian at Warren Area Elementary Center,” Demers said. “I have created a second grade lesson on legends for PBS.”

She has been missing having students around.

“My favorite part of being an elementary school librarian is reading aloud to students,” she said. “Folklore is one of my favorite types of literature to share with my students, so I created a lesson on legends for PBS in which I read two stories: a fun contemporary story called The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors (by Drew Daywalt) and a classic legend called The Magical Sword: The Story of King Arthur’s Beginnings.”

The PBS programming is not the only way students can ‘read along’ with Demers.

“I wanted to offer my students the consistency of library read-alouds, so I have posted about 40 read-aloud videos on my YouTube channel,” she said. “Reading aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.”

“And it’s just fun,” she said. “I love to read and I love to share the excitement of reading with children.”

“I’m very excited about teaching art two times on WQLN,” Walters said. “I think it would be awesome for my students to see me. I miss all of my students so much. My students are all so great.”

“Art is so important in students’ lives,” she said. “It improves vocabulary, communication, and memory in young children. Many studies state that the younger a student starts doing art the better they do in school.”

Walters’ lessons will focus on drawing. “Drawing helps students with hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills – toning muscles in the hands and fingers, confidence, express themselves, imagination, social and emotional intelligence, problem solving, and much more. Drawing is a great building block to get students ready for virtual technology.”


The segments start at 8 a.m. daily, with lessons geared to kindergarten in the first half-hour, stepping up one grade level until grade 6 takes the 11 to 11:30 a.m. slot.

The full schedule is not available. But Warren County School District teachers on the schedule are:

Monday, April 27 — Scalise — 9 a.m.;

Friday, May 1 — Bish — 8 a.m., Demers — 9 a.m., and Criswell — 11 a.m.;

Tuesday, May 5 — Campbell and Dilks — 8:30 a.m.;

Thursday, May 7 — Bachman and Elms — 9 a.m.;

Friday, May 8 — McBriar — 9:30 a.m.;

Monday, May 11 — McClellan — 8 a.m.;

Tuesday, May 12 — Burkett — 9 a.m.;

Friday, May 15 — Bielawski — 9 a.m., and Walters — 10 a.m.;

Tuesday, May 19 — Burkett — 11 a.m.;

Friday, May 22 — Walters — 9 a.m.;

and Friday, May 29 — Bielawski — 8 a.m.


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