During this time when all Duncanville ISD students are learning virtually, Karlmichael Jones is doing whatever he can to get his students to engage in their lessons. The 7th grade science teacher suits up every day in goggles and other gear, like he’s prepared to get in the laboratory, to grab students’ attention.
“The classroom is a stage. You are the director and the actor or actress,” Mr. Jones said. “I’m just trying to create the atmosphere of science.”
The Reed Middle School teacher, who has 14 years of teaching under his belt, wears an apron that says ‘Science Rocks.’ He has huge photography lights set up to make sure students can see him. While he’s teaching, Mr. Jones uses elements of suspense and surprise to keep his students interested – sometimes drawing on what entertained him when he was young.
“I grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and I was so into the show,” Mr. Jones said. “He had so many things he did, like the trolley, and even just a simple thing like putting on his sweater and shoes.”
Throughout his virtual class, Mr. Jones projects pictures from his lessons on the green screen behind him and asks students a question related to their studies. Then, he backs off and lets the students discuss the answer among themselves as long as they stay on track.
Mr. Jones uses props to illustrate a point. Sometimes, if he feels like he needs to get his students’ attention, he’ll turn on a filter in his virtual classroom that makes it look like he’s wearing sunglasses.
“Doing this is fun for me. I teach the same material five times a day. I need something that’s going to keep me engaged too,” Mr. Jones said.