Virtual Classroom

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned K-12 education upside down. Many students in the Milwaukee-area have spent the entire school year so far online. 

In this series, WUWM's education reporter Emily Files visits virtual classrooms to try to understand how teachers are adapting their instruction for the virtual setting. Explore what actually happens in a virtual classroom — what works, what doesn’t, and how teachers are stretching beyond their experience and training to adapt. It definitely hasn’t been easy.

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As WUWM Education Reporter Emily Files visited virtual classrooms this month, she found that online school requires teachers to be intentional about how they deliver instruction, but also about how they connect with students.

Ashley Duley, an eighth grade English teacher at West Milwaukee Intermediate School, says she’ll carry those lessons with her, when life and school get back to normal.

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This school year, many districts decided to utilize virtual education in an effort to protect staff and students from the coronavirus. Milwaukee Public Schools is one of them.

As part of a series about how teachers are adapting to this new education format, WUWM’s Emily Files visited an MPS virtual classroom.

Emily Files / WUWM

Many schools in Milwaukee have spent the entire first half of the school year online, as a precaution against the coronavirus. WUWM has been visiting virtual classrooms to see how teachers are adapting.

McKenzie King, a chemistry teacher at Carmen Southeast High School in Milwaukee, says some learning experiences are impossible to recreate virtually. Right now, she’s teaching her students about chemical compounds. It’s usually one of her favorite units.

Emily Files / WUWM

If you ever scroll through videos on the social media app TikTok, you’ll notice that kindergarten teachers have become popular. They’re posting videos of themselves teaching online — and the level of energy and patience it takes has garnered those videos millions of views. Amanda Hendrickson can relate. She’s a kindergarten teacher at Wilson Elementary in the West Allis-West Milwaukee district. Every day of teaching is like putting on show.

Emily Files / WUWM

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many teachers and students out of their classrooms, and onto their computers. But K-12 education wasn’t built to be virtual. So how have teachers adapted their in-person instruction for the computer screen? WUWM's Emily Files visited virtual classrooms to find out, and will tell those stories this month. In this first installment, we learn how a Milwaukee fourth grade English teacher breaks up a 90-minute class to keep kids engaged.