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At his home during the schools shutdown, Chris Woodward built a ‘Godzilla Fort’ for the “Reading Fort Challenge” at Rainbow Elementary School. Chris is reading “Let’s Get Invisible” by R.L. Stine. CONTRIBUTED

Students enjoy Rainbow’s ‘Living Room Tent Challenge’ as reading incentive

MADISON – Sixty-plus students are participating in a clever exercise that Rainbow Elementary School teachers are using to keep the youngsters’ reading strength up to par during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Rainbow leaders coordinated the “Reading Fort Challenge” with Facebook as the communication medium. Students ‘built’ a comfortable, personalized fort to settle in for reading a good book.

Students posted video of their forts, their full name and Rainbow ‘house.’

“This pandemic is unprecedented,” Rainbow Principal Brian Givens said. “Last school year, we dealt with an emergency carbon-monoxide leak crisis that involved transporting students to Discovery Middle School, but that was a short-term absence. (COVID-19) has affected everyone involved in education and forced us to quickly adapt with innovative measures to address student and community needs.

Givens credits Rainbow’s faculty for an excellent job of online conferencing with students using Zoom software. Teachers also have pursued Google chat, Flipgrid to open online discussions, phone calls, texts, emails, Seesaw and Google classroom.

“We’ve been utilizing our social media outlets frequently with videos almost daily from faculty members. (Teachers urge) students to write poems, create sidewalk art, stay fit, conduct science experiments, read and more fun activities,” Givens said.

Rainbow PTA has been active with a fun-filled Virtual Spirit Week of engaging activities for students. Lunches have been offered on campus and as home deliveries to assist working parents/guardians.

“I cannot say enough about the creativity and flexibility of our teachers,” Givens said. With little warning, “they were forced to create packets; use online e-learning platforms through Google Classroom; and organize ample online resources, zoom conference lessons and morning meetings with students.”

“Our fifth-graders will not have the opportunity to say goodbye,” Givens said. “We have sent videos to students expressing how much we miss them and will continue to stay connected. Students have contacted us via email.”

To stay connected to teachers, Givens has conducted virtual faculty and grade-level meetings.

“Our goal is to prevent regression and fill in academic gaps while also challenging our gifted students. The district has been wo

The district has been working diligently for e-learning to engage all students, equipping our teachers with a structure in place and supporting parents/guardians with combined efforts that will prepare students for success. (With) so many wonderful resources, it’s easy to become overwhelmed as an educator and parent,” Givens said.

If parents need assistance, first they can contact their child’s teacher. The main goal is an open line of communication with email, Remind, Google Classroom, Seesaw, text messages or phone calls. MCS has an email avenue with elearninghelp@madisoncity.k12.al.us.

In addition, to group students Rainbow uses six ‘houses’: Apollo, Cassini, Gemini, Mercury, Skylab and Voyager. Rainbow faculty and staff can give points to any student with the LiveSchool App based on the ABC criteria of Academics, Behavior and Character. At week’s end, the house with the most points is honored with its flag raised by their House Logo and a large sign in the carline.

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