Teachers try to make online classes more interesting


Daily 8 Count is a program used by drama teacher Melody Herzfeld, developed by Brian Curl. It teaches weekly choreography. Photo courtesy of Jason Hameed

Mackenzie Quinn, Editor-in-Chief

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced students to stay home and complete the fourth quarter of school online through sites like Canvas and Zoom. As a way to boost students’ spirits, teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been trying to make online school as interesting as possible. 

English and Teaching Academy teacher, Felicia Burgin, has been doing spirit days for her Zoom meetings. So far, she has done ‘Bring Your Pet to Class’ day, wear your favorite sports team shirts, and a day dedicated to essential workers. She found the idea of having themed virtual classes through a Facebook group for teachers. 

“My reasoning for having the spirit days was to try and get kids to communicate more in the Zoom meetings as well as maybe give them something to look forward to since everyone is at home every day doing the same thing,” Burgin said. “I was also trying to lighten the mood a bit because meeting on Zoom can be a bit stressful and awkward.”

Though not all of her students have participated in spirit days, Burgin is offering extra credit points for those who do. She also does this to offset any point deductions for students who have been struggling with the transition to online learning and to get to know her students on a more personal level.

In a more active way, drama teacher, Melody Herzfeld, has all of her students, even those in Technical Theater, learn theater choreography. Students seem to be enjoying the weekly choreography. 

“I am trying to be innovative during this time where the arts are never taught online,” Herzfeld said. “Using the Daily 8 Count I encourage students to learn the combination – comment and post their results.”

Hertzfeld is happy to be adding some positivity into her students’ days during this trying time.

“Mrs. Herzfeld is giving us a new dance to learn every week,” junior Jason Hameed said. “I think it’s fun because it gives me something fun to work on that I normally wouldn’t do or have time for during school.”

Though Burgin and Herzfeld are not required to incorporate these creative learning methods into their classes, they are doing so to attempt to make the rest of the live classes and assignments more interesting for the remainder of the year.