Wacky costumes help RPS teacher entertain and engage students during virtual learning

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Teachers are experiencing plenty of new obstacles this school year, with no end in sight. The coronavirus pandemic has challenged educators to get more creative when trying to engage their students through a webcam.

Cora Leid is a third-grade teacher at Cardinal Elementary School in the City of Richmond and she’s been dressing in costumes periodically since virtual learning began. She tries to keep it fun for her students.

Putting on a costume and logging onto Google Meet to teach her third graders is a unique way to connect with each of their personalities, Leid shared.

Cora Leid was Cardinal Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year 2019.

To date, Leid, who was Cardinal Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2019, has dressed up about 10 different times for her students. She didn’t intend on this becoming a reoccurring theme.

“The first week I did it and I thought it would be really funny if I kept dressing up in different costumes every Friday, just to get the kids to want to come to class,” Leid said.

She said when she puts on different costumes, she’s introducing the characters and celebrities to some of her students.

“When I dressed up as Freddie Mercury, a lot of my students thought I was a wrestler,” she said. “I showed them a clip of him performing and they were amazed at the crowd. Now the kids will be like ‘Yeah I was listening to Queen the other day.'”

She said connecting and growing with her students is what makes her heart full at the end of each day.

The school district first developed a remote education plan after Governor Northam announced two weeks of school closures starting Monday, Mar. 12.

And that’s when Leid said she knew she had to overcome the ‘what am I going to do’ feeling that she felt relating to her students.

Leid said her students are more familiar with technology than she is. However, they still had to go over some newly-added features because of virtual learning this year.

“You know, they’re 8 and 9 years old so yes, they have phones and tablets,” she said.”But there are so many awesome resources online that we kind of had to work through every day. It took a lot of practice but we got there.”

And Leid said during the pandemic she kept her focus where it’s always has been — the students.

New costume ideas for Leid comes naturally. She said she’s looking forward to putting smiles on her students’ faces with a few different looks she has coming up.

“The one I’m doing this Friday I’m excited about,” she said. “And then after Thanksgiving, I think I’m going to swing more towards holiday characters. I just try to keep it fun for the kids.”

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