SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Two local teachers were selected to share virtual lessons with students across the state as part of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Let’s Learn GA!” video series.
The online program is a collaboration between GPB and the Georgia Department of Education to support both in-person and remote learning plans.
It features lessons, from Georgia teachers, for children in kindergarten through fifth grade and covers subjects ranging from English language arts and mathematics to science and social studies.
Willis, who has taught with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System for 14 years, is Heard Elementary’s STEAM lab instructor for grades K-5.
Her “Let’s Learn GA!” lesson plan shows children around the elementary school’s chicken coop that’s been on campus for the past three years.
An animal lover herself, Willis says she wanted to share her love of Earth’s creatures with young learners.
“I’ve had lizards, snakes, cats, birds,” she told WSAV NOW.
The video clip shows the educator introducing students to Big G, Moonlight, Oreo and the other chickens that inhabit the coop while teaching them about the chickens’ basic needs.
“We looked at their food, water, their shelter and considered happiness as a part of health as well, that you need to be able to get outside and exercise and have your own space to be happy,” she explains.
Having grown up watching PBS, Willis describes the experience of being involved in the “Let’s Learn GA!” project as a “wonderful feeling.”
“That ended up being one of my favorite stations because I knew it reliably had something interesting on it, you know, you could watch the nature shows, there’d be documentaries,” Willis said.
“All of these things were made possible through those public funds to make sure that children like us could experience the world in our own houses, so to be a part of that legacy is really special to me,” she said.
Heard Elementary School teacher Freddy Sanchez also participated in the program, creating a three-part video lesson on linear perspective.
The visual arts teacher, who has worked at the elementary school for 21 years, called it an honor to take part in the virtual program.
“I always believe that things that look complicated should be explained in a way that the student can understand, so I taught a lesson on linear perspective and how to draw a city street in three dimensions,” Sanchez told WSAV NOW.
His goal with the drawing lessons was to break the topic down into simple-to-follow steps. Sanchez even encourages parents to follow along.
“I have a passion about teaching linear perspective because, at the beginning, the student doesn’t think it’s doable, and then at the end when they’ve actually gone through the thing, they say, ‘it’s not as hard as I thought,’” Sanchez said, adding, “That’s where the light comes on and the creation begins.”
He says “Let’s Learn GA!” videos allow children and their families to learn about a variety of topics in a flexible timeframe that works for them.
“It is a place where they can go and just relax a bit, then learn,” Sanchez said. “I think that’s what they need right now in this environment of stress, is a stress-free environment where they can have fun, they can learn and move on.”
Both Willis and Sanchez say they hope to offer additional virtual lessons for the program in the future.