Even though she misses interacting with her students, Julie Clarahan has found a way to stay connected at a distance.
Clarahan, the pre-K through eighth-grade art teacher and librarian at Cornerstone Christian School, is looking to social media while school is closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Every day, Clarahan has posted art lessons on Cornerstone’s Facebook page so students can follow along and keep their creativity flowing even though they’re not in school.
Though she initially had difficulties deciding how to cater to both elementary and middle school students, Clarahan said she’s worked out a system.
“It’s hardest with teaching art distance-wise because I don’t know what parents have and don’t have,” she said. “I post drawing projects for students, and I SPY pages for middle schoolers.”
Along with art videos, Clarahan has also posted storytimes to coincide with library time, and even has students draw projects based on books read.
Clarahan said the videos have been “a big hit” since she began them the day after school was canceled March 13.
“We have a whole plethora of different projects,” Clarahan said. “It’s easy to draw with the kids.”
Though it’s been difficult figuring out what supplies students have and don’t have, Clarahan said some simply use what they can or just like sitting and watching Clarahan draw.
“They all send pictures, and I comment on every pictures to have a connection with them,” she said. “I had to be in touch with kids and we talk about all sorts of things. We really get to know each other.”
With this new virtual connection, Clarahan said though it’s been nice to stay connected with her students, she misses the face-to-face interactions.
“I miss helping them with assignments, you can’t give them a high-five or smile,” she said. “They’re a family, and it’s such a struggle not to be with our kids.”
With art and storytimes, Clarahan said it’s helped students stay creative during these times.
“Art is something we should all be doing,” she said. “We should all be creative. Doing art gives us a chance to break away from everything.”
Clarahan also leads a prayer after each session.
Along with her students following along to the videos, Clarahan said she’s been “touched” seeing parents submitting their own work, as well.
Clarahan said she enjoys seeing how hard her students have worked on their creativity while at home.
“The work they’ve done has been phenomenal,” she said. “They’re becoming phenomenal little artists.”