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Bibb County preschool teacher keeps the energy high for his virtual students

Northwoods Academy teacher Brandon Hinson says the key to keeping his class of 4-year-olds engaged is "edu-tainment" - educating and entertaining.

MACON, Ga. — A Bibb County preschool teacher is keeping his 4-year-old students excited about learning.

Northwoods Academy preschool teacher Brandon Hinson uses props, puppets, and pretty much anything he can think of to keep his students engaged virtually.

"They love when I bring out the orange high fives, the purple high fives, and if they don't have them, they always have the best high fives which is their own hand," Hinson said.

He and Danielle Lawson teach a class of 19 preschoolers. One being Anais Finch, whose mother, Vernita, was a bit weary of the virtual setting.

"This is her first time being in a classroom, so I wanted her to get the full experience, you know get baptized in the school ritual," Finch said.

"I did have some parents that were concerned, you know, the big question was, 'How is it going to work?' So I told them, 'Don't worry about it. We're going to make it work because we're a team'," Hinson said.

"I have honestly just been blown away. I was like there's no way he's going to be able to keep this up beyond the first two days of school, but Mr. Hinson comes in everyday just high-energy, ready to go. So we're up dancing with her," Finch said.

"If there's ever times where they seem a little droopy, like we all do, I get them, 'Let's do our wiggle fingers and our waggly arms.' And that will wake them up and get them participating," he said.

Even though the virtual setting is a challenge, he says it's helped him become a better teacher.

"With this experience, you have to really go outside the box with that, to be able to bring them in and to keep their attention and to keep their focus. So to that extent, virtual has really opened up my eyes on different strategies to teach with," he said.

This is Hinson's second year teaching and first year as a preschool teacher.

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