Local teacher creates reading video-series for kids
Lori Gagnon reads the children’s book “On Account of the Gum” during one of her many “Hive Time with Teacher Lori” videos. Gagnon has more than 750 subscribers on YouTube.
SNOHOMISH — In this new age of virtual learning, students are not the only part of the classroom feeling disconnected. When the pandemic struck and schools were forced to close, Snohomish resident and Mill Creek preschool teacher Lori Gagnon felt the responsibility to remain connected with her students.
Gagnon’s video series and YouTube channel are called “Hive Time with Teacher Lori,” named after the way she believes a classroom should operate: everyone working together like bees in a beehive. The YouTube series usually features Gagnon reading a children’s story just like she would have a reading circle if she was in her classroom, even singing the same song to start and end each video.
Her students are as young as three years old. Gagnon said a lot of her students didn’t fully understand why they couldn’t go to school anymore.
“I wanted my students to feel that they had not been abandoned (and) give them a different way of explaining why they couldn’t go to school anymore,” Gagnon said. “But still give them a face that they were familiar with.”
In an attempt to be as consistent as possible, Hive Time reading videos are posted in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to the Hive Time YouTube channel. Gagnon said consistency during such an unpredictable time is important to young kids, especially in a learning environment, although parents appreciate the consistency as well. Gagnon says she likes the fact she can give parents time to have a coffee or take a shower.
“For 10 minutes they can just say ‘OK, time for school with teacher Lori and put on the video,” she said.
When Gagnon started making the videos in March, it was for her students but she quickly realized that she was benefitting from the videos as well.
“It was something that I could fill my own soul with, in kind of a crazy — not understanding what was going on — world. It helped my soul feel good to just sit down and do a simple (reading) circle,” she said.
Primarily the reader of the story is Gagnon although she has been known to have “Helper Bees” on her videos, for instance her twin sister or her kids. “I like it most when the kids are on there,” she said. “They kind of give me a look like ‘we’re singing now?’”
Gagnon has received emails from parents all over the country giving positive feedback, often times stating how much their child enjoys the videos, and even how much the parents enjoy them. Gagnon said she got an email from a mom saying she felt like the two were friends.
“I think the hardest part for parents right now is to make sure their children are successful, both you know mentally and academically during all this,” she said.
After over 100 videos and over 700 subscribers, Hive Time is gaining notoriety, she has even been recognized in public as “the lady that reads.” Her goal is to reach over 1,000 subscribers and she plans to continue the video series as long as everyone is benefitting.
“Hive Time with Teacher Lori” videos can be found at this link .
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