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Platteview Theatre class adapts to coronavirus

Platteview Theatre class adapts to coronavirus

Schools in the Springfield Platteview Community School District have had to find ways to adapt curriculum in response to the coronavirus.

Some students are completing school online, while others are in-person.

Michael Kersulov, English, Platteview High School journalism and theater teacher, has found an interesting approach to adapt his theatre class in response to new classroom dynamics.

“I try to approach it that this year was going to be a learning experience for me as well, that it was a challenge that could help me grow with the students and we kind of figure it out together,” Kersulov said.

Kersulov’s class has around nine students in person and about four to five students on Zoom.

He projects the online students onto the screen so they can see the entire class.

Kids then do break-out rooms in pairs, with each pair consisting of at least one in person student and one online student.

“Even if they’re in the classroom with me, they can join the Zoom with their iPad, and then I could put them on into breakout rooms,” Kursulov said. “We’re able to then either go outside or we go into the auditorium, which has lots of space and everybody’s can be spaced out.”

He said the class does have performances which he admitted might be, “goofy,” but works.

Kersulov uses an iPad on a stand to video record and put on the Zoom what’s happening on the stage.

He then projects the live video of the e-learner on to a backdrop.

An in-class student is on the stage and the in class student interacts with the screen and e-learner has to do everything backwards on their end to mirror what they see on stage.

Kersulov said if the student is supposed to be on the left, they have to pretend the person is on the right.

“I’ve never seen theater like this before, but it’s working and the learners are having a good time and it’s actually pretty fun,” Kersulov said.

Another challenge Kersulov said he’s had to overcome is adapting plays that were meant for in-person performance to a setting where half of the cast is online.

He said unlike his prep work for other classes, students are involved in the process of what goes on in drama class and how certain things will be presented.

Oftentimes, the students are just better with technology and present Kersulov with apps that can help with production such as a sound effects app.

“I want to get them involved in the mindset of a director or the mindset of a an actor, cause they need to be engaged in that as well,” Kersulov said.

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