Glen Lake Elementary Principal Jeff Radel, of the Hopkins School District, is not new to storytime.
Once a month, he visits classrooms at the elementary school and reads a story. Radel uses the visits as a way to connect all ages of students because they all read the same book, he said. Reading stories online, now that school is closed, is a continuation of that, he added.
The abrupt stop to the school year and the daily connections made at school is a jolt not only to students but their families and staff members, he said.
Radel wanted to maintain some kind of normalcy and routine for the students of Glen Lake. He began reading daily stories for students and posting the videos on his Youtube page. He even incorporated some of his alter egos, such as the “hallway hero,” which students are familiar with, he said, adding it’s a way to “keep them grounded.”
Families are enjoying the storytime too. Radel has received photos from parents of their students listening to the stories before bedtime. He plans to continue the daily stories as long as the school is closed. It is the least he could do “if I could at all ease their anxiety,” he said.
Educators at Robbinsdale Schools Area are also pivoting to provide storytime virtually.
One night, Meadow Lake Elementary Principal Nancy Benz-Froelich couldn’t sleep.
She was thinking of the students and their strong connection with the elementary school staff members. That’s when she got the idea to record and post herself and other staff members reading bedtime stories.
Her goal was for students to see as many familiar faces as they possibly can, Benz-Froelich said. Staff members have been very on board with the idea, she added. She knows students are missing the staff members of Meadow Lake Elementary and the educators feel the same way.
While school is closed “the children will need a connection,” she said. It is important to keep posting these bedtime stories, the staff would like to continue until school is back in session, she added.
“We want the kids to know we’re there for them,” Benz-Froelich said.
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