In the classroom, Yaritza Villalba used to transform history lessons into fun events like rap battles and speakeasies with root beer and students dressed as 1920s celebrities.
For remote teaching, the New York City high school teacher turned to Flipgrid, a video-sharing tool, to create a similar sense of interaction. She kicked off the year by cheerfully introducing herself in a video and asked students to share a video album of songs that expressed their feelings. She had parents share their skills for a virtual talent show and got videos of a mom singing and a dad playing piano. The lively visuals helped her build relationships in a way that emails and phone calls can’t match.
“I teach students who are teenage parents, who live in shelters, who struggle with neglect and have been incarcerated,” says Villalba of her small public school that helps students up to age 21 earn