The lesson was on primary versus secondary sources.

So teacher Stephanie Howell brought her grandparents’ wedding photo and her own military service jacket to show the students.

Primary sources, Howell explained, are original records — documents, interviews, music or even objects like her jacket and photo. A textbook, on the other hand, is a secondary source — something that has to reference a primary source to get its information.

The Lincoln Public Schools teacher said she’ll be writing about giving this lesson.

“I never thought I’d be in front of a camera teaching on TV,” Howell said to the viewers.

Stephanie Howell

Stephanie Howell

With schools closed all over Nebraska, teachers are trying new ways to educate kids. Add teaching on TV to the list.

The Nebraska State Education Association and News Channel Nebraska have partnered to create Teacher TV. For four hours a day, teachers are delivering lessons to students stuck at home.

The programming is available on cable TV or can be streamed online at any time for free. Programming for elementary students airs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Lessons for secondary students are from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The lessons can be found on newschannelnebraska.com. Lessons in Spanish can be found on telemundonebraska.com. Lessons can also be found by downloading the News Channel Nebraska app on mobile devices.

NSEA President Jenni Benson said her organization was looking for ways to reach as many students and families as possible with live or recorded lessons by educators.

Many school districts are offering online lessons or handing out paper packets that some students might need assistance with to complete. Benson said parents shouldn’t have to worry about doing an activity with their kids every second.

On Teacher TV, Benson said teachers will guide students through lessons as they would in person.

During recent lessons, two Omaha Public Schools librarians read a picture book to the students. They did different voices for different characters and asked the students questions about the books.

Andy Ruback, CEO for Flood Communications, which runs News Channel Nebraska, said his daughter especially likes the storytime. It puts her in the mood to learn, Ruback said.

Ruback said all content decisions on Teacher TV are made by the NSEA. His organization is just marketing and distributing the videos.

Benson and Ruback said they have been getting calls and emails from thankful caregivers, including from a grandfather who now is in charge of teaching his grandkids while their parents are at work.

News Channel Nebraska also digitally broadcast the boys state basketball tournament after officials limited attendance at the games because of coronavirus concerns. Ruback said they’re also broadcasting church services.

Howell, the Lincoln teacher leading the TV class, told the students watching at home that history “isn’t something you memorize. It’s something you do.”

Keeping that in mind, Howell encouraged students to keep a daily record of how they lived through a global pandemic.

What’s happening to them? How do they feel?

Emily covers K-12 education, including Omaha Public Schools. Previously, Emily covered local government and the Nebraska Legislature for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @emily_nitcher. Phone: 402-444-1192.

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