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A Newington middle school takes learning outdoors

The principal said his 85 educators need to be ready for anything

NEWINGTON, Conn. — The Martin Kellogg Middle School in Newington takes learning outdoors.

Teacher Andrew Cucinella loves science and keeping his 7th graders learning.

This year Cucinella is experimenting with how he tackles chemistry with some of his students learning in person and outdoors while others participate from home.

“They’re actually going to be using their science journals to be collecting data and studying more about chemistry throughout the whole first unit of 7th grade,” said Cuinella. “We have mixed cohorts of students here in the building, with another group of students at home learning,g and then a lot of teachers have the option to flip the lessons the next day or we have times, streaming from our laptops, to keep all the class together on the same page.”

Principal Jason Lambert says his 85 educators need to be ready for anything.

“In this model, teachers really need to have lessons A, B, C, and D at the helm should they be used at any time,” said Lambert.

Here, world language and math teachers are heading outdoors where mask breaks are part of the routine for more than 600 students.

“By giving teachers permission to know that it is not going to be perfect because we are learning hopefully alleviates some of the anxiety that comes with instructional planning and teaching,” said Lambert.

That teaching approach appears to be working with Cucinella’s students.

“I think it is really cool that Mr. Cuccinella had the idea of bringing classes outside,” said 7h grader, Kevin Hamilton.

It's a dynamic that has kids adapting quickly as they wait for what happens next.

“I am feeling really good I feel like it’s gonna be more of a transition to kind of get used to it. But we will all eventually get through it and hopefully, we will go back to full-time like maybe in a few months when everybody feels safe and it dies down a little,” said 7th grader Katie Byrnes.

If your school is doing something creative inside or outside the classroom during the pandemic let us know. We might just pay you a visit.