Virtual field trips inspire remote learners

Remote learners from Anderson County Schools still go on field trips and meet guests.
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Remote learners from Anderson County Schools still go on field trips and meet guests.

“It’s an honor. He’s really, really inspiring me,” said Aiden Richards, 8-years-old.

Richards said he wants to be an author when he grows up.

“Jason Paul has been the first author I’ve ever met,” said Richards.

Thanks to teacher Courtney Simpson for organizing Paul’s virtual visit for the third, fourth and fifth graders who are a part of the Anderson County Schools virtual school.

“When I noticed that his children’s book was published and it won an award I reached out and I was like Jason, can you please read to all the virtual students in Anderson County,” said Simpson.

Jason Paul wrote a book when he was a third-grader, years later he read his award-winning book, Lightning Bug Lights for the students.

Simpson explained, “What better way to foster that love for reading and writing to get an award-winning children’s book author to come in and read his very own story to them.”

They found a way to show love of the English language right on the students’ screens.

“I hear a lot of people say virtual kids aren’t learning anything and I kind of get defensive with that because I feel like my kids are learning,” said Jill Moore, a 3rd-grade virtual teacher.

Moore said she felt closer to these students than any she’s had in the classroom over the past two decades of teaching.

“I can see their growth from when they started in August to now,” explained Moore.

This school year students, including Richards, had virtual field trips to a pumpkin patch and an aquarium.

Moore said, “We didn’t want our kids just because they’re on a computer screen to miss out on that type of interaction.”

Jason Paul’s message taught them as well.

“The kids absolutely love it,” said Moore, “They love it.”

The lessons look a little different but shape the kids of the future.

“Just to give them that little bit of excitement and that’s what I’m here for that’s what I want to do,” said Moore.

The teachers said it’s a new ballgame this year for them, the students and the parents.

But the creative curriculum seems to be working well.

There was a contest for the third, fourth and fifth graders. Two students from each grade who wrote the best ending to Paul’s book won having a Zoom lunch with him. Richards’ grandmother said he was one of the two students selected from the 3rd grade.

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